Lollygabber

3L-itis?

Lauren Davis
J.D. Candidate 2012, UCI Law

We have all heard the paternalistic characterization of the law school experience: First year they scare you to death; second year they work you to death; third year they bore you to death. Although my first two years of law school were certainly scary and laborious, I am not banking on being bored this year.

UCI Law is a special place in a special time. When I think of our law school I “Wachs” nostalgic, and I have yet to graduate! Community building has been a major part of our collective experience, and we know a lot more about each other than most students at other law schools. Once the student body balloons to 600, it may be difficult to maintain this level of camaraderie and intimacy, but the foundations we set will almost certainly influence the community culture for future generations.

I have mixed feelings about embarking on my final year of law school. On the one hand, I feel excited to enter the “real world” and begin a legal career. On the other hand, these next two semesters are almost certainly my last two semesters of formal education. Ever. For the rest of my life.

It is difficult to process the fact that I will never be a student again after that status has formed such a fundamental portion of my identity. The trite response to this concern goes along the lines of “But you learn something new every day.” I realize that the lifelong process of learning—quite possibly most of it—occurs outside of educational institutions, but it assumes a unique form in the classroom and in common student spaces. The engaging policy discussions we have in seminars will not resurface in CLE courses. The conversations we have in the courtyard about race relations, social justice, and politics cannot be replicated in a corporate lunchroom. And, of course, the personal relationships we have developed will necessarily transform upon graduation.

In many ways, law school is like summer camp (with a lot of homework), and, for 59 of us, summer camp will end forever in May. Until then, I would like to make the most of the opportunity to study law and build a community at this great law school. In light of this, the risk of contracting 3L-itis seems remote.