Thursday, March 16, 2006
I never realized the difference until now
I used to think that college kids who wanted to make the world a better place would concentrate on some noble profession, like medicine or law. Now I am not sure about Law.
When an undergrad studies for a career as a doctor he/she takes demanding courses, lots of math and science, something I am in awe of since I am interested in Science but terrible in Math. I have seen several work study students who have worked with me work untiringly to get the best grades because they know that getting into Med School is not a given, no matter what grades they have. I have seen them volunteer time to help migrants, or young children in medical clinics, or at homeless shelters. I have seen them work at jobs in nursing homes and hospitals just to be "near" medicine and to look as if they ARE dedicated to helping humanity.
They work to be as close to perfect as they can and then they apply to many medical schools, hoping that maybe the 4.0 plus the outstanding resume of volunterism will sway an admissions committee and they will be accepted into medical school.
I have seen these same students apply to Masters programs in some other medical field like bio-medical engineering, or science field like Secondary Education Science and Math programs, just to have a fall back when they aren't accepted and they have to wait another full year to reapply to medical schools again. Thy try their best to get the best grades possible just for on the chance that some school will accept them.
I have seen the students greatful to be accepted at any of the many schools to which they have applied,and greatful to pass their classes and not complain that it's a second rate school with teachers who foist thier own agenda on poor unsuspecting medical students.
They are accepting of the opportunity afforded them to study medicine, despite the enormous debt they will carry after they become doctor's and can practice medicine, for the good of mankind. They understand that not everyone who wants to get an MD will be afforded the opportunity to do so. Some students even apply for other kinds of medical degrees, lke a PhD in medical research, orapply to school of osteopathy for a DO, or optometry, or podiatry. It's not an MD, but as they will still be called Doctor and they still serve the medical needs of mankind.
I have yet to hear a graduate of any medical school complain that they can't pass the certification boards because the school they attended had a lousey "pass rate" and didn't teach them how to take the test. Thank God Medical Schools don't teach to "the test". I want someone who knows the theory behind disease cure and prevention, as well as how to treat it. I want someone with reasoning ability as well as the knowledge of how to use what they have been taught in a practical way.
Now those whose profession of choice is Law? Well as far as I can see they study what they want as undergrads. As long as they have the writing requirements down pat and get reasonable grades they are ok. They take the LSAT and expect their superior knowledge to get them a good score, which it may or may not do. They can major in Education, Economics, Political Science, English, History, or the new "I can't make up my mind" major of "General Studies". Seems like some of them pick the classes they can get the best grades in with the least effort. After all, how hard is it to pull an A in the history of rock and roll?
So they graduate with a BA in something or other, and they make sure they apply to all of the "good schools." The ones they deserve to get into because they have done so great. They can write, they have good grades, so what's stopping them from getting into the school they want? Everyone should know how good they are and want to snap them right up. Then they can breeze through law school and start making those big bucks as high power attorneys. Help the disadvantaged? Sure, as pro bono work that's required to maintain good standing with the Bar, but as a job? Are you kidding? How can you pull down $100,000 a year helping people?
They'll be throwing away the acceptance letters from the "lesser" schools because they KNOW they are good enough to get anything they want. They always get what they want, law school will be no different.
Then they get the letters. A "No" form letter from the first choice school, and they can rationalize that away as maybe it was a long shot in the first place. They may even get rejected by even the second and third. Or maybe a yes from the second or third choice and another no from the 4th choice. Obvious clerical errors, but rather than argue they go with the least offensive to their ego acceptance, grudgingly.
What do they do? Are they glad someone wanted to give them the chance to change the world by defending the constitution, or right some injsutice? No, they come to law school and complain that they are there. This place won't get me a good job (no silly YOU have to work on your own for that.)
They complain that they can't get A's, because they have always gotten A's so they expect it. They complain about the amount of work, work that's expected to be done on a consistant basis. They complain about the way things are taught because it's not spoon fed and they might actually have to have s reasonable defense for a wrong answer, or a right one, and explain themselves in class. They complain because they can't use a computer for their research and are forced to do things the old fashioned way - reading books. They complain to their parents how bad things are because this law school doesn't do anything right, and mommy and daddy know it's not their child's fault, because he/she never makes mistakes and deserves the best, so the school MUST be second rate. It costs too much, the library is too cold, the weather is too hot, I can't take off on weekends because there is too much work to do.
When they graduate they complain if they can't pass the bar - and that's the school's fault. (Funny thing is that the only FL school with a 100% pas rate for the FL Bar was Barry University, the provisionally accredited school in Orlando FL. The first year they were eligible to send students to take the bar one student applied, and he passed. So they had a 100% pass rate.) They complain that they can't find "a job", meaning one that searches them out and welcomes them with open arms and an opened bank vault.
Graduate medical students seem to understand that they will become what they work hard for and make of themselves. graduate law students seem to think it's everyone else's fault that they don't succeed immediately.
I know there's a Deans Cup competition, and I used to root for the Law Students to win. I think I'm going to switch sides. I like to think that I would back people with intregity, and I don't see many in law school.