Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Déjà Vu All Over Again

"I'm passing around a seating chart. If you would sign your name in the correct box and then keep these seats all week..."

A seating chart?

It is so weird to be back in law school.

All this week, I am attending class, 8:00 to 5:30, at a Columbus law school. With the commute, it makes for a 12 hour day.

I graduated from law school in 1981. 29 years ago. I took a professionalism class two nights a week for 4 weeks in 1989 in order to sit for the Ohio bar exam, but even that was a long time ago.

The class I am taking is filled primarily by law students. Because this school has a well-established night school and attracts older students, the ages of the students run from the 20s to the 50s, even in the summer. All the same, students young enough to be my children - Ben's age, for goodness sake! - predominate.

It is a weird feeling to attend school with my son's contemporaries.

In the three decades since I was a law student, some things have changed. Every law student has a laptop and you can hear the click of the keyboard as students take notes. Occasionally I catch a student surfing while the professor is lecturing. Backpacks have faded in prominence since I was a student; wheeled totes dominate.

Some things never change, and the tension level at which law students often operate is one of them. The professor announces that there will be a pop quiz and hands go up. "Open or closed?" "Is what we saw on the video on the quiz?"

At times, I find myself getting sucked into the law school mentality. My hand goes up when a question is tossed out. I take the pop quizzes, even though I don't have to. I get to class early. Then I catch myself. I'm not taking this course for a grade. I don't have to worry about the exam because I don't take it.

Heck, I don't even need an exam number.

It is Thursday night as I type this post. Four days down, one to go. One more day of taking notes, raising my hand, and trading observations.

My look back ends tomorrow. I've enjoyed the class. I'm glad it will be done. I have spent a week around the law students, listening to them worry over grades and course credits. I'm glad it's not me in their shoes, glad when I catch my reflection in the bathroom mirror that it's a three-decades older April I see smiling back. I've been here, done this, and I don't need to do it again.

What a long strange trip it's been.


Sharon said...

How cool to be able to sit in on a class. Were you required to do this, or was it just for fun?

I'm not sure I could go back to school. I wouldn't be a very good student if I wasn't interested in the materials. I see what my kids have to read for school and I yawn just thinking about it.

But, there is another side of me that needs to keep my brain active. Maybe a college course or two would do me some good!

April said...

Sharon, I was taking this class for certification. So no just sitting in for me. I didn't have to take the exam, though, as I was not taking it for credit.

I am the working poor. said...

Twelve hour days! Yikes! :)