"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

-- The Dalai Lama

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Home Again, Home Again

After many delays in what seems to have been fifteen thousand airports I am finally home from my trip to Vermont.

Using the word 'nightmare' to describe my New England adventure would be unfair. Still, the words 'fun' or 'nice' would be going too far the other way. Let's just leave it at 'over'.

I can't remember what I was high on when I purchased my plane tickets, but I sure wish I had had some more when I boarded my flight at 1am Thursday morning. I managed to sleep a little bit, even with the kid next to me watching cartoons at full volume all night long. A 3 hour layover at JFK and a 3 minute plane ride later I landed in Vermont only to find that they wouldn't take my card. Hertz has very high standards that I, apparently, do not meet. So the law school actually had to fax over their credit card in order for me to proceed onto the final leg of my arduous journey: the drive from Burlington to South Royalton.

Almost delirious at this point, I get into the car and it takes me somewhere around 30 minutes to remember how to drive. I blame the coma. After finally recalling the thing about using the same foot for both the gas and the brake I was on the mean streets of Vermont. I think I saw a total of 12 others cars on the hour drive on I-89. The radio in the car did work (I had heard an ugly rumor that FM was non-attainable on this drive) but every time I turned it on either the music would start to lull me to sleep or I would become incredibly irritated with the talking or the ads. Instead I did a thing where I would alternate the windows I would roll down to get some fresh air. It was really amusing at the time.

Anyway, I'm not going to bore you with the details of the meetings and things I had. If anyone reading this is considering VLS or would just like to know more, let me know. My list of appointments: Admissions Director, Financial Aid, Tour with a 3L, Administrative Law class, Career Services, meeting with Environmental Law Center director, meeting with a professor specializing in International law.

Some random observations:

There were many comments sort of apologizing for the school, both subtle and overt. For example: We're no Georgetown. and But those positions are very competitive and pretty much only top students obtain them. There are other paths for VLS grads to get the same jobs, it just takes more work and more time.

There was a lot of talk about judicial clerkships. They seem to really push students into going for these positions.

From the 3L tour guide: The school strongly recommends taking as many classes that will directly help you on the bar exam. Wow. For me, personally, this is definitely not the approach I want to take with law school, and if I was still strongly considering VLS this would have been a big old red flag regarding the overall philosophy of the school.

Okay, so it's over. I'm glad I took the trip because I still had some overly romanticized thoughts about small town living. Those are gone now. There's no pharmacy in the town, and the nearest hospital is 20 minutes away. You have to drive 20 minutes to go to a grocery store. The amount of planning and coordinating it would take to live in South Royalton would be extraordinary, I think. Plus, there's no way you could live there without a car, and I really don't ever want to own a car again. So, that's that.

To be fair, I think that VLS has some great offerings and some unique opportunities. And I know that a lot of people really enjoy living in the town. Plus the faculty and staff were very nice.

It's good to be home.

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