Friday, December 2, 2011

Law School Goes to the Dogs

Thanks to the Washington Post for its exposé on the enormous difficulties plaguing stressed-out law students. According to the article, law students are so overwhelmed by the looming specter of exams that many CANNOT GO HOME FOR THANKSGIVING!

Schools such as George Mason University are dealing with this crisis. The school, along with others, has gone all out to help by bringing in puppies “to break the stifling pressure that blankets their campuses.”

As a mere physician, I had no idea what traumas one must endure to become a lawyer.

Can you believe what they go through? Here is an example.

“Many law schools now teach students how to balance the stress of late-night legal research, tort outlines and case summaries with healthy habits: running marathons, volunteering or hanging out with a pet.”

My God, “legal research, tort outlines and case summaries” and late at night too! How do they do it? It’s no wonder they need puppies.

University of Maryland Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Dawna Cobb meets with incoming students and tells them, “It’s okay to cry, but not for hours each day.”

How about this comparison? “For high-strung law students, dogs and other animals can also provide a soothing presence. That’s a lesson researchers have learned from others in stressful environments, including soldiers in war zones and patients in rehabilitation centers.” [emphasis added]

The article also says “Studies have found that the legal profession has higher-than-average rates of depression and problems with substance abuse.”

Is it those damn tort outlines or could it be that they begin to realize in law school that there are no jobs for lawyers?

Even the dogs know the truth. “When the puppies arrived, many seemed nervous around the mob of strangers.” The poor puppies probably were afraid to bark for fear of being subjected to a class-action lawsuit.

The Washington Post has really opened my eyes. I'm glad I took the easy way out by choosing medical school and five years of training in general surgery.


Huhet said...

Fantastic post as always, SS.

Eldritch Palmer said...

I read the same article and found it laughable. A genuine question: was it meant to be tongue in cheek? As a lawyer who works in "biglaw", I have no idea what they are talking about in terms of "stress". While peoples' perception of and reaction to stress are subjective and all jobs contain stress, I am dumbfounded that such coddling is so necessary. Christ I'm only 29, what has happened to this generation and why does writing this sentence make me ill?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

A friend asked me if the article was from the Onion. I lived with my brother when he was in law school. He never seemed all that stressed to me.

Libby said...

I suppose we should be glad these law students didn't go into medicine or air traffic controlling!

Anonymous said...

At my undergraduate school, they'd bring in puppies to the library for students to play with as a study break during finals. Sounds laughable, but it's definitely very therapeutic. Higher education (and definitely, medical education) are plenty stressful, and things like these should be efforts for medical educators to celebrate and emulate, not brush off.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Anon, your comment is interesting. An article in the Harvard Business Review says today's college students spend 9% of their time studying and 51% of their time socializing, recreating and other. Must be very stressful indeed. Here's a link to the article

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