As we wrap up finals and prepare to head home over the holiday break, the joy that most law students have over a two to three week hiatus from the dawning realization that even once we’ve finished law school we’ll never really be able to re-enter normal society is tempered by the knowledge that the holidays means dealing with inane questions from family and friends. A while back I wrote a post advising law students on how to interact with normal people but with the holidays coming up, I thought I’d revisit that advice from the other side. If you have a law student in your life, here are four helpful tips for smooth holiday interactions.
- Have plenty of alcohol available. Statistics suggest that as many as 25% of practicing attorneys are problem drinkers and most of us law students are working hard to keep those numbers up (at least, that’s what our antics at “law prom” suggest). While some may say that providing law students with alcohol is only encouraging a bad habit, those people are horrible little killjoys. After all, those statistics are for lawyers, not law students. We’re not alcoholics yet, so just let us have our fun while we can. Besides, just about the only reliable way to get a law student to shut up is to get them so drunk that they pass out. Ultimately, everyone wins on this one.
- Don’t ask about finals unless you have a death wish. Look, because of the way law school works, we won’t know about our final grades until sometime in February and most of us are feeling so violated by our exams that we’re secretly hoping that all the idiots predicting the end of the world are right. Law school exams are torture devices in which professors allow exactly 40 minutes less time than the average student needs to comfortably answer the questions. This is true regardless of whether the exam is scheduled for 2.5 hours or 8. The end result is that when we come home after finals we’ve basically spent all of the past week either locked in our room studying or frantically typing against the clock while we pray that Exam4 doesn’t find a new way to crash halfway through the State and Local Tax exam like it did during the practice exam. The last thing we want to do when we’re home is relive the experience and be reminded that we aren’t going to know whether we survived it for at least another month. Just keep the alcohol flowing and the exam questions silent.
- Unless you already know that we have a job lined up, don’t ask what we’re doing after law school. We’re facing six-figure student loan debt, a down economy and we’ve just come off two of the most stressful weeks in our year. What on earth makes you think it’s a good idea to ask us a question that will only quite possibly do nothing more than remind us that we don’t have a job lined up? Seriously.
- Don’t ask us if we’re looking forward to going back after the holidays. We probably are (it’s a whole Stockholm Syndrome thing) but it’s the last thing we want to admit. All you’re going to get in response to this is a lie about enjoying the challenge or the new friends or some such bullshit way of avoiding admitting that the law school is now the only place we truly consider to be home. The only thing you’re going to accomplish with a question like this is making us want another drink.
Looking back at this list now that I’ve made it, I realize that it basically amounts to “shut up and bring the law student booze.” Trust me though, no-one wants to deal with a sober law student.