We have our first and only midterm tomorrow, in our “Regulatory State” class. It’s interesting to see the frustration, fear, and focus this has brought for many of us.
Stress has started to surface for many in the law class. Graham made a great point about school-life balance in his recent post, and I echo his thoughts completely.
But others are getting stressed out about the silent competition that the law school grading curve creates. 5/6 of us will get a “B” on any given paper or test, and most of us are used to getting “A”s. I have talked to many people who feel real pressure to get those very few “A”s in the class, which are statistically impossible to give to everyone.
I think it’s a real shame that we can’t have a system where excellence can lead to reward. In fact, I worry sometimes about the standard that sets for us on our future careers. But it’s also a trap of the system: most Canadian law schools have similar grading policies, and if we change ours, an “A” from UBC will not seem as valuable as an “A” from most other schools.
The counter to this, of course, is that even with minimal effort, most students will receive “B” grades. We were told straight out during orientation week that we would all pass law school, unless we chose not to. That relief helps to take the pressure off at times. Still, my preference would be to reward excellence, as I think that sets a better habit and standard for our professional development.
And please, don’t get me wrong, we are still very social. There were some great Hallowe’en events this past weekend, and the people in law school are still amazing. But, as one of my peers put it recently, the honeymoon is definitely over.