Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Hidden Truth: Brutalness and Hidden Signs

Law school breeds competitiveness. This is a simple fact. There are hidden clues to how the institution encourages this all around a law school. To the outside observer that does not know the inner workings, one might not notice the subtlety employed. But in my final year, this point is being driven home to me.

Willamette imposes a mandatory curve. This in the bottom percentage of the class are dropped. Actually, I believe the term is that the administration tells them, "they are not invited back." This happens after the first semester grades are released.

Of course, the first day back, the student is curious of who went. Everyone is buzzing around asking, "Did so and so return?" You hear some, "I knew he/she was stupid. Did you hear the comments he/she made in crim?"

For me I learned early on that the surest way to find out who was no longer with us was by the mailboxes. We are all issued a box, it is basically wooden slats that resemble inboxes. All classes are grouped together. And then next to the boxes is a list with everyones name and box number. If a white card went in the box, you knew that person was no longer with us.

This year it was driven home when about 20% of the third year class boxes are whited out. For some reason I find irony in this. White out is used to erase mistakes. I don't necessarily feel that someone dropped from law school was a "mistake" in admission or that the person did not have what it takes. I have found law school to be arbitrary and class based.

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