I had heard that law school was a lot like junior high. The rumors of what law school is like were along the lines of people constantly gossiping about who's sleeping with whom. There's not a whole lot of that at my school. In fact, as far as my grapevine goes, I don't think anybody's sleeping with anybody that they weren't already sleeping with before coming to law school. Or at least they aren't making it apparent.
But law school is like junior high, in that my class has broken up into little cliques that silently war with one another. I actually think the problem lies in my pod rather than with the whole class. Our class is broken up into "pods" which are groups of about 40 people with whom you have most of your classes. My pod is the "red" pod. Some large classes are composed of several pods combined -- red, yellow, blue -- so there is a bit of an opportunity to get to know people outside the colored lines.
Even people from outside the red pod have noticed that our pod has all the gunners. I'll give you the definition of "gunner" from the Urban Dictionary:
A person who is competitive, overly-ambitious and substantially exceeds minimum requirements. A gunner will compromise his/her peer relationships and/or reputation among peers in order to obtain recognition and praise from his/her superiors.I would change overly-ambitious to overly-confident. There's nothing wrong with ambition, in my mind. We are all in law school because we have ambition. Well, ok, some of us just want to make money. But others, like myself, want to get into a career that will bring a lifetime of challenge and learning. Nothing wrong with wanting personal growth.
But, my god, the confidence. It drips from the gunners' lips as they make their quota of class time comments. Ha ha, I am so smart. I am so special. Look at what I have thought about.
Sometimes I can't decide if I'm annoyed by them because their style is so different from mine, or if they are really just annoying in general. I'm a silent processor. I like the take things in, let them mingle around in my mind, and then let them sort themselves out into things that make sense and things that I need to either do further study on, or, always as a last resort, consult a professor about. That's just my way. So maybe I'm annoyed by gunners who can't keep their hands out of the air in every class because they are disrupting the flow of information into my brain from the class lecture. Tangents everywhere. Personal opinions.
I understand that some people learn best by thinking and processing out loud, and classroom discussion is a great way to facilitate that learning. But, somehow, there's a difference between the people driving toward their own understanding in class and the people who have already thought about and understood the materials, but like to argue for the sake of argument or to seek favor in the professor's eyes or to show off just how smart they are. It bothers me. We all got into the same school. We are all comparably smart.
My pod has split into two main factions: what I call the "In-crowd", and everybody else. The gunners that comprise the In-crowd hold lunchtime and dinnertime discussions and debates about class and readings. Talk is all law school, all the time, no commercial interruption. There's nothing worse than watching somebody flex his look-what-I-know muscles in front of you while you're trying to eat your lunch. How 'bout you wash that peanut gunner and knowing smile sandwich down with a glass of STFU? That's what I think.
On the other end of the table, I think the In-crowd looks at us and wonders why we want to talk about something besides law school during break times. We must not be dedicated enough. Obviously we aren't going to pull the A's in the class, because we don't spew constant talk of law school.
Well, I for one look forward to when grades come out next semester. Maybe some of us who exhibit an excessive level of confidence might come back down to earth a little bit when most of us pull B's.
And maybe in the future, I will rejoin adulthood.
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