Saturday, May 27, 2006

i had a host of unrealistic expectations and hopes when i got to law at the top of my class, be able to go into public interest work straight out of law school...but one that was sitting first and foremost in my head when i came out here was to get over the professor-phobia that i had in college.

in college, i never talked to my professors outside of class, and hardly ever even in class unless i was raising my hand to answer a question. i never stayed after to ask questions, i never went to office hours, and the most i did to acknowledge a professor outside of class was maybe, just maybe, a nod. (except for one shining exception, john hart, who i actually did have one or two chats with outside of class.)

i was hoping to go headlong into being able to talk to profs in law school. i was going to be the queen of office hours, and i was going to get over my fears, become friendly with all my professors, and never fear to ask for a letter of recommendation again. i'm usually not that skittish with people, but professors, even accessible ones, triggered a crazy mental block with me.

i can't say i've come that far (i think i went to one office hour the entire school year, maybe two), but i've come a little way. i realised that yesterday, when i had one purely social conversation with an old professor of mine, and another that was part business and part social with the one i'm working for, that i'm making progress on this. it's definitely not the first time i've had chats with professors...there are a few that, whenever i run into them, i'm pretty likely to have a chat with them. some others i have less frequently, but still periodically. i'm pretty proud of myself for this, given that it never would have happened in college...i would have seen a professor, flipped out, and hardly been able to manage to say more than "hi"...or i would have just slunk and hoped they didn't notice me.

i still don't know why i had such a professor-phobia in college. maybe it's because they're authority figures, and smarter and more knowledgeable than i'll ever be. i'm still not as comfortable as i hoped to be with every professor i've ever had. i realise that i probably will never be--some professors are just unapproachable, or their personalities just don't mesh with mine very well. but, i've learned an important lesson in law school...that professors, as a class, are not scary, and some of them can be very nice.

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