Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First day of school

Well folks, today was my first day of school- my third-to-last one ever!

It was hard to think of this as a first day, though, since I already spent last Thursday, Friday, and Sunday night at the law school. In fact, this was probably the least nervous first day of school I've ever had!

Class for my section began at 10:15 with Civil Procedure (although I was on campus at about 9:45 buying orange juice and a corn muffin.) I think we were all half-worried that the professor would launch right into calling on people for answers they didn't remotely know, like you see in movies- but instead she was nice, opening class with an exercise where we broke into six groups and tried to decide on the best English-language film of all time. (Turns out our process of deciding was more interesting to her than our choice. Civil procedure, go figure.) Also, instead of picking on people at random all year (like we expected), she said she'd be calling on just one of our six new groups (now permanent "panels") on any given day. So as a member of panel 6, I should only be on the spot every other Wednesday unless I raise my hand. Whew.

After Civ Pro (as everyone calls it), most of us ate lunch in Harkness Commons. A lot of us tried the cafeteria food out of curiosity and were pleasantly surprised. Food at the Hark (as everyone calls it), while not cheap, is much classier than I've ever seen in a college dining hall- so is the general atmosphere. I mostly took advantage of the excellent salad bar, but I hope the roasted pear-cashew-gorgonzola flatbread sandwich is still there tomorrow. I really wanted one, but the line was getting super long.

Our second, and mercifully last, class today was Torts. This one takes place in Austin Hall, whose classrooms are older and fancier than the Orientation and Civ Pro ones we've had in Pound Hall. There are not just outlets near every seat, but microphones (though we didn't use them), and with the dark wood everywhere, it looks a little like Congress. Our teacher, who is visiting from Georgetown where we hear he's a real hotshot environmental attorney, was much more of the iconic law professor you picture: he called us all by our last names, which he already had memorized by the first class (don't ask me how!!) and he spent the first few minutes telling us all which now-famous and important people sat in which of our seats 32 years ago when he had his first Torts class in our very classroom. (Moral of the story: the courses and professors at Harvard may be great, but "the single best thing you'll get out of Harvard is each other.") Eventually we got into the swing of class and discovered that he's also funny and a dynamic lecturer, and despite clearly being a badass, he takes care not to make anyone feel stupid. So that was nice.

Afterward, I walked with a new friend who lives near the Coop (campus bookstore- like Texas's Co-op except they don't write OR pronounce the hyphen here, which drives me crazy and makes me think of chickens every time) to buy the last of our required textbooks. The damage comes to about $800 so far, with one more book out of stock and a few marked "recommended" that I could still conceivably decide I need. Ouch! Luckily, I didn't have to carry them all myself: Russell met me there to help me bring them home, because he's my hero.

So it's been a big day, and at all of 5:30 p.m. I'm exhausted. I'd like to veg out and watch TV all night, but instead I have reading to do. Welcome to Law School, population Lea!

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