As a 1L I made lists of things I wanted to get out of the law school experience. I typed them up and then stashed them away on my computer, hardly looking at them since - until today.
By and large, I think I did most of these things, although possibly not in the form that I had anticipated. For instance, I had wanted to organize some technology policy advocacy groups. Instead I joined and then later ran the IP Law Society student group. So I didn't ignore the inclination, but I adapted it to something more reasonable that I could handle. I suppose this also means I reprioritized it, since if it had been really important to me I probably would have found a way to get it done the way I had originally envisioned, but I don't think it connotes a failing that I modified my expectations along the way. Especially if that was the only practical way to even begin to satisfy the aspiration at all.
My lists also include studying abroad, which I did, although not necessarily in the countries that I had planned. I had thought about Paris, and then about England upon hearing about the program there. In the end I chickened out on France, didn't get to do the England program, but then the German program came along, long after I'd made my initial list, and I did that instead. This is a perfectly satisfactory adaptation; the point was to go somewhere, and I did.
One possible downside to going abroad, however, is that I really wanted to learn a lot about international IP law, and I didn't get to do nearly as much as I'd have liked. I was hoping to get it during my study abroad program, but the IP offering at Bucerius was fairly basic. And on top of that, it kept me away from BU during the semester when a formal international IP course was taught. On the other hand, my 1L summer job was all about international copyright, so I haven't gone completely without an education in this area. It's just that, in recognizing its importance, I would have liked to have already developed more expertise in it.
My lists also included the desire to concentrate in either IP or International Law. In the end I completed the requirements for the IP one (even with having been away for a semester). I also indicated interest in doing a dual MA degree. Technically I still have the opportunity to complete the program for International Relations, but I'm not sure I'll be pursuing that opportunity. I did already turn down the opportunity to do the dual degree in Communications mostly out of concern that the program wouldn't be theoretical enough. I don't really need to learn the journalism or information technology businesses at this point of my life. Been there, done that, and I'd rather move on to dealing with regulatory issues, which I'm not sure the program could really help me do.
There are a few other curriculum opportunities on my list that I'm disappointed I didn't get to pursue. For instance, I didn't get to do a clinic (I was particularly interested in legislative), nor did I get to do an externship. (I'd always wanted to do one with a judge.) I did, however, get to do a trial advocacy course, and the bottom line is that these are the opportunities that got sacrificed in order that I could go abroad.
The list also includes being active in particular student groups, which for the most part I was not. But on the other hand, the groups themselves weren't all that active. I was active in the one I really cared about and showed up to others' events, so I'm satisfied on this front.
My intentions also included being on a journal, which I've done, and writing, which I've also done. I was hoping to produce more tangible and publishable papers, but (a) some of that aspiration has given way to blogging, and (b) I may still produce some. It's a continuing aspiration that will last beyond graduation.
Two other activities I thought about doing included being a research assistant, which I technically was (although I took the mention off my resume since I didn't feel like I had much to show for it), and doing moot court. Moot court I have definitely done and am very satisfied on that front…
And then there are two other personal items: take an improv class, which I did, and get regular exercise. That last one needs some work. I wasn't a complete bump on a log - I got some exercise - but particularly this past semester I was much more sedentary than I wanted to be. When I think about the active life I want to lead I realize I haven't fully done what I need to have it, so I'll have to make some adjustments on that front going forward.
But the list is just a snapshot of what I thought law school might be like. Its weakness is that it was made before I had any idea what it actually *would* be like. All things considered, however, I think I did a good job following through on my intentions. If anything, though, the list is incomplete because it doesn't include all the things I did accomplish. For instance, travel is nowhere on that. But I went to Cambodia, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, the Balkans, Poland… plus several new American states. I kept my swim teaching certification current, I made friends and contacts, I kept my blog up, and I explored several other new skills and talents that I hadn't before coming to law school (e.g., languages, snowboarding, and some others). To say nothing of further develop other skills like writing and oral presentation.
So overall, yeah, I'm satisfied. But now I need a new list.