“The Fertile Octogenarian”

No, I’m not sure who I’m referring to either, but I’ve been assured by my brilliant and hilarious Contracts professor that I will encounter him soon enough in Property.

Of course, thanks to the wonders of Google and Wikipedia, I’ve just discovered to what he was referring, which makes a lot more sense than the student discussion before class, trying to pick out a potential Property professor who might fit the description.

Doing the research while writing this post rather destroys the conceit I was intending to use, but let’s treat this as an interesting experiment in delayed transmission of a more spontaneous, stream of consciousness-ish writing.

Two weeks down, and my last day closes with the inspiring sight of the remaining members of the Michigan Law Class of 1961 walking (I was originally going to use “tottering,” but believed that might be too mean, though apparently not mean enough to refrain from including it in this parenthetical) around Hutchins Hall and the Legal Research building. One, it raises again the oft-repeated quasi-tautology here that “your best friends will be the ones you make at Michigan Law;” while I did not necessarily see any of the returning attorneys acting especially friendly or convivial with one another, the fact that they would return at all is interesting. Two, however, it makes me recognize once again how forced this situation really is.

I went out to lunch with two of my classmates who admitted to their own sense of pressure to “network” while they’re here. They, too, had heard that part of what one is paying for at Michigan is the network, and working to access and ingratiate oneself into the network is a conscious decision to be made. Thus, attending bar nights when you’re not all that interested in bars. Thus, acting falsely(?) “excited” to see people you met 3 weeks ago (and see every day in class) as you walk the halls. Thus, assuming the guise of a potential lawyer instead of reverting to oneself.

None of that is to say I do not like my classmates, or my classes, or my professors, or anything else. Every person I’ve met has been perfectly nice and cordial and intelligent and helpful. But I wonder how much every single one of us is acting under a sort of duress, one that is self-imposed, one that stares us in the face with every group of Class of ’61 graduates that passes us in the halls today.

All that said, I’m still going to a bar this afternoon to drink with the aforementioned Contracts professor. Gotta build that network.

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