So, here is a follow0up question:
Do people equate being a gunner with being competitive?
In perusing a variety of TLS threads, I've come across a somewhat common question amongst prospectives asking about whether a school is very competitive? It seems there's a conflation - in how questions/comments were worded - of the terms "gunner" and "competitive," but I can't be absolutely sure.
But assuming that at least one person meant it that way, why is this the case? I think this view that being competitive as a bad thing derives possibly from an unfortunate misunderstanding. Now, to be sure, I am not advocating gunner-ish behavior, as defined in this thread. But, what I am saying is that the trait of being competitive is not inherently a bad thing.
Competition, if engaged in fairly, is the backbone of capitalism and our society. It makes people work harder/smarter to improve their product/services for society as a whole. We have so many of our modern comforts, technological advances, and even cures for diseases, and so on, because of highly motivated and skilled people working hard to produce a great product/service for society. And, morever, it's not a zero sum game. If you produce a great product/service, someone else doesn't have to lose in order for you to gain. Biglaw may be an exception! But even then, a person can take their skills from biglaw with them and do other things (small law, in-house, etc.) if they fail to "win" partnernship.
In law school, competition shouldn't be seen as an undesirable thing in its student body. It should be viewed as something that helps produce the better work in people. Of course, if competition is engaged in unfairly, involves a lack of civility, and the like, then those negative side-effects of it we should avoid and criticize.
But just in general, why does it seem that so many posters ask to avoid schools with competition?
It might be helpful to elaborate on what we mean by competition too. I think people commonly bring up things like not sharing notes to a class, not helping others understand their reading, being kind of cold and unfriendly, etc. I guess I had considered those things more of just being a jerk. lol. Although, in some cases, there could be a valid reason for doing something like that (e.g., if you suspect a person has been lazy and is just using you). But sometimes I feel - I could be mistaken - that people also are referring to just the notion of everyone trying hard and working seriously to do their best. And in that case, I don't think it's a bad thing. Some people can feel intimidated by it or feel extra stress from seeing others trying so hard (in which case they probably just need to find some relaxation techniques), but I suppose I just see it as something that can/should motivate you to do better (which many people are very capable of)!
Last edited by scifiguy
on Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.