gbpackerbacker wrote:I am wondering how UChi students feel about competition. Anyone care to weigh in?
Just wanted to address this and some above comments.
In terms of 1L year, my experience, at least, was that there was an exceptionally strong culture of not disclosing grades, period. There's no reason why you should or would know anyone else's grades, unless you asked, and I frankly had no clue how people did during 1L. So while everyone knows that there are only so many A's to go around, I never saw that turn into non-collaborative behavior. I think there's a pretty nice ethos of "we're all in this together," which is kind of necessary to get through Spring Quarter in particular. And it's fostered by the fact that you generally know your classmates pretty well.
The summer after 1L, however, between OCI, Law Review, and a few other things, it does become more apparent who is at the top of the class, and who is not. I think this does lead to some (in my mind, entirely undesirable and unnecessary) strain in friendships between people in the class, for a variety of reasons. But I think that's likely to happen at any school, frankly, and I don't think we're the exception in that. That said, I've yet to see this manifest in so strong a resentment or conflict that people won't still help each other out or anything like that.
I think the only time I've seen people hesitate to share notes with other people is when they've felt like they're being put upon to help someone who doesn't do a lot of work. With classes as small as ours, everyone knows who never shows up to class or who always shows up late (these people are very few but quite prominent), and I think some people are understandably reticent to help them out.
In terms of OCI and grading, I will say that one advantage of the UChicago grading system is that some people just don't understand it and never will. They take a look at your transcript, say, "huh -- I became a lawyer so I wouldn't have to do math", and then focus on the classes you took or change the topic of discussion. Those who do understand it, however, have an absurd number of ways to distinguish you from your classmates. Some say this is a positive, while others say it's a negative. I don't want to have that debate here, but I will say that I don't think it ends up playing out in the classroom.