Exams are officially a month away. Tensions are running high, and the ability to reclaim any remnant of a social life post-Fall Ball is running low. As we all sit in Vanderbilt grappling with the Erie doctrine, contemplating when buying flammable materials at Home Depot could constitute “attempted arson” (or just a friendly neighborhood barbecue) or whether objections to unseemly icehouses should necessarily have been written into a contract, the future may seem bleak. At times, I have watched the textbook morph into a hurricane of ink (predominantly because highfalutin judges in the Roaring Twenties made it their mission to be as befuddling as possible). I have wanted to pull an SNL Sinéad O’Connor circa 1992, protesting the lack of definitive answers by ripping up the pages of my textbook one by one before an audience. Needless to say, frustrations have began to take root.
Happily, though, while the fears of looming tests and the lack of any true gauge of course performance is forever present in the back of my mind, such thoughts as those described above remain outliers. In general, I think the only reason I have been able to maintain some semblance of sanity, apart from the amazing support system I have in my friends, family, and even professors, is the prospect of the 1L summer job. I know it’s early. I know that OCS has recommended we, as 1Ls, should remain keenly focused on exams rather than future employment. I agree to a large extent. But what is the end goal of this first year, the second year, or law school in general if not the prospect of employment?
I’m not advising my fellow 1Ls to begin obsessively researching open positions to the exclusion of their studies. What I do recommend, since it’s worked for me thus far, is to continue to “tease” yourself with the idea of fulfilling your 1L summer employment goals. During study breaks, do some research on organizations, firms, companies, or practictioners you’d like to work with. Attend mixers OUTSIDE the NYU Law atmosphere as well! Last week, I was able to tear myself away from Ashcroft v. Iqbal to attend a “Madness of Art Law” mixer at the Jim Kempner Fine Art Gallery in Chelsea, hosted by the Center for Art Law. Besides gaining after-hours access to the gallery’s exhibit, I was able to network with other NYC law students, current practitioners in the field, and the director of the Center for Art Law, Ms. Irina Tarsis. Needless to say, it was an enlightening networking opportunity (looking at Charlie Hewitt’s artwork while enjoying a glass of Prosecco didn’t hurt, either).
I realize this will be increasingly beyond the purview of most people as they saddle up for December. Maybe it’s unrealistic to be thinking about what awaits in May. For me, though, I need to be able to identify what I am working toward. Short-term goals such as doing well on exams are everyone’s concern, but I know that I won’t be able to accomplish that without looking just a little bit beyond a four-hour test. Inspiration takes many forms; mine just happens to be the idea of 1L summer employment.