Several years ago I had a boyfriend who was a law student. Who started driving me up the wall because he seemed to be too negative about all sorts of things. At the time I chalked it up to a character flaw, but in facing my own recent grumpiness I wonder now if it's instead a typical by-product of the experience.
In some ways, the suspicion towards police stems from this period. He did a lot of work in criminal defense clinics and personally made a big difference on keeping people out of jail. We're not talking hardened criminals - we're talking people a bit on the fringes of society who stood no chance against the zeal of law-and-order cops, whose zeal clearly got in the way of actual justice. I'd always been interested in civil rights, but hearing about these situations made my concern less theoretical and much more immediate. It's not a hypothetical fear that innocent people may be railroaded unjustly: it actually happens all the time, with almost no outcry at all.
With regard to the ambient grumpiness, there's also the general effect on one's mood that the toll of the entire experience takes. It's a very busy time for me, what with my 2L job search and all, so my rope is a little frayed. But it's not really a question of stress as much as the existential doubt and ennui that sprouts from having no idea how your future is going to turn out, and relatively little guidance in trying to navigate it.
I'm not someone who generally needs a lot of handholding. Normally I figure out how a situation works, what the rules and expectations are, and act accordingly. But with law school there is a lot of complexity but not a sufficient amount of guidance. Now, I say this with respect and gratitude for the people at my school who have been helpful. But it's still not really sufficient. The job hunt for instance, is a nuanced process repleat with its own vernacular, timelines, and lack of guarantees. Also there are different types of job searches, which all happen simultaneously: large firms, small firms, non-profit, government... and out of all of those possibilities I have to find someone who wants me and will give me work to do that's fulfilling. I suppose it will all work out, but it's very difficult at this moment to have any idea how, and that's a very emotionally taxing state to be in.
Also on the list of things wearing me down is the process of course selection for next year. I don't even know where to begin in explaining where I am with that. I got into a bunch of courses that are hard to get into, but I'm locked out of courses that I need for prerequisites. My flexibility in dealing with these problems is meanwhile hampered by unit count maximums, scheduling conflicts, and a tremendous amount of unknowns regarding future course offerings and opportunities. I know what I want to do, but I only have a limited time to do it. It's really difficult to figure out how to work it all in even before all the hurdles and obstacles get added.
(I'm sure I'll be kvetching about course selection as the semester gets closer. Hopefully I'll know what I'm actually taking before October...)
Edit: Date changed. Was posted on 7/21.