“Nerd,” chortles my boss, as I gush about my classes this coming semester. “Who is excited about administrative law?”
He is, for one. His words hold no sting. Administrative law is his passion. Any enthusiasm I show pales in comparison to the years he has poured into crafting laws and writing briefs.
Unlike last January, when I started working for him enthusiastically but wholly ignorant, I now know our cases and the arguments used to support them. Or at least, I think I do. My boss loads me down with easily a thousand pages of new cases and law review articles to read to catch me up to speed. Even with my speed-reading ability, this is going to take a while. But I don’t mind.
I love it. I love the mountain of paperwork and the uncharted arguments. I love overcoming my ignorance. I love the dense sentences that take three or four reads to understand. I love it because when I do understand, a whole new world opens before me. I learn why this topic matters. I learn to care.
I love it because I truly learn, a feeling I do not get from my classes at law school. Perhaps it is the institutional nature of school. Perhaps it is the textbooks with their carefully edited cases. Perhaps it is simply the difference between studying a topic in breadth versus in depth. I do not know.
What I do know is that if a professor tried to give me this much reading, I would howl in despair. My boss does it, and I’m delighted.
That’s why I find the time for an internship, for a chance to get out of the law school. If my world only revolved around school and extra-curricular activities, I think I would go insane. Law school may educate me, but it does not get my blood boiling. Working in the real world does. Knowing what I am doing matters does. Working with people who love their work does. It is a reminder of why I am in law school; a shove to get through the next day, the next week, the next year.
It is a reminder that this is what I get to do when I graduate. This is what makes it all worth it.