mscarn23 wrote:Re: the minimal difference between #1 and #4, I'm sure that's usually the case. But based on my knowledge of my own gpa, that of the person ranked #2, and that of someone just outside the top 10%, #2 was closer to falling outside the top 10% than of catching me. Maybe doing as much a I did would have brought that person within .01 of me, maybe it would have propelled him/her past me, maybe destroying the equilibrium of work-life balance would have resulted in a median finish. There's no way of knowing.
The whole point of my last post was that if finishing @ #2 is good enough for you, then not killing yourself 1L year isn't necessary if you have the other requesites for success. You might finish first, you might not, but you'll be happy either way- this is fine and there's nothing wrong with being #2, #5, or #50.
But if you're going to be pissed at yourself for not putting in your best effort when #2 pops up on your transcript, then the question still remains- do you want to have finished behind someone because of an element outside your control (brains, luck, whatever), or because you spent every Sunday working on your fantasy football team instead of studying
Different people have different goals, and I feel as though mine didn't allow me to hang my fortunes on the .01 that usually separates people at the top. If I don't end up transferring, and I end up getting a clerkship that my relationships with profs and top 5% grades would have gotten me, then maybe the extra work won't be worth it. If I don't end up transferring, and I get a job that top 10% grades, my pre-law resume, my interviewing skill, and my ability to wear a suit would have gotten me, then maybe building up my IM softball skills would have been a better way to spend my Saturdays.
But if I don't end up transferring, or getting the clerkship, or the job, or whatever else I'm driving towards, it won't be because I didn't give my full effort. At the end of the day, that's all I can really ask for.
I finished #3 in my high school class. The salutatorian was just...incredibly, astonishingly bright so I didn't feel bad about him "beating" me. The valedictorian was a gunner to the extreme. Now, this isn't law school, but I think the analogy holds. People very rarely push themselves to the limit-no matter what they tell themselves 99% of the time they can work harder, they're just burning out and need a little more motivation, etc. I never thought it was worth it to catch up to him.
Who am I to speak? I am not in law school. Correct, but I can still present a thought experiment. It's all about how you value your time. If I can be #5 (or hell even #10) in my class, at only 60-70% effort, whereas, to beat the real smartypants/gunners I'd have to amp it up to 99% effort, a rational person is going to do the former. Pursuing the latter is purely pride. If you're intelligent enough to be top 5-10% without extreme effort, and time to pursue other activities and professional contacts, then that's what you should do. Only difference to me seems like #1 would guarantee at most places that you'd grade onto Law Review, which might not be a guarantee at "only" top 5%.
The problem with this argument is that you can't quantify this or know ahead of time how hard you " need" to work, nor can you isolate variables after the fact. If the #1 student gets a job the #10 student didn't get, how do you know it was grades alone?