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The Talk

So today I called in sick to work and drove to downtown Minneapolis to speak with the Director of Admissions at the U of M. My wife came along. We got to campus with about a half hour to spare, but I'm unfamiliar with the area and so we got turned around a little, but we parked and walked across campus to the law building. It's gorgeous outside, so we enjoyed the walk.

I checked a map in the lobby and headed for the stairs, but J. pulled me to another set of stairs and we went up them instead. We ended up in the library, confused and lost, and couldn't find our way back out. Everywhere we turned it was "emergency exit only" or dead-ends into computer labs. We found an elevator in the back, but when we got inside, we discovered that we needed keys to operate it! So we walked back through, past all the studying students, and I asked a woman at the information desk how to get out of there.

"Leave," she said.

"But where are the exits?" I asked. She pointed us out. Quite embarassing. We returned to the lobby and took the stairs that I originally wanted to take, and the Admissions Office was right at the top.

The interview went about as well as I expected. I had a printout with me of all the points I wanted to cover, and I touched them all. Mr. Byrd, the Director of Admissions, firmly but amiably guided the conversation. It all went very smoothly, and I was relaxed and confident and mostly coherent. He told me that seat deposits are due on the 15th, and they take out all the deferred applications for final review after that (I was cutting it close, eh?), so I should know by early May. I walked out feeling pretty good.

After going back outside to relax for a while with J, I went back to sit in on a Con Law class with Professor Carpenter. The 1st & 2nd floors had seemed almost deserted, and I wondered where all the students were hiding. It turns out they keep them underground, in the "sub-plaza" level; down there, the hallways were swarming with people. I immediately thought of the entrenched subterranean warrens packed with starving half-mad students in Flow my Tears the Policeman Said.

But really they all seemed very nice. A third year student walked me down from the Admissions Office and assured me that Carpenter was a great prof. I followed the crowd into classroom 55 and sat in the back row next to a guy named Paul. We talked for a while before class started, and he said that Carpenter is about the best professor that he's had so far. When the man cleared his throat up in front, everyone shut up and he got down to business right away. Maybe that's common of 1L classes, but he seemed to command respect.

He started by lecturing for about ten minutes, then called on people from a list. He seemed to enjoy going from one person to another and then back again, occasionally making them argue opposite sides of an argument. After a couple of questions he would move onto a new person. He called on maybe 6 people during the 55 minute class. No one was volunteering answers at first, but about halfway through the class, some students were asking questions or adding their opinions, which he integrated into the discussion.

The professor was clearly very smart and people seemed to be engaged in class. There was minimal alt-tabbing to AIM and games and CNN. Mostly people took notes in Word, and they took lots of notes. About 95% of the class was using laptops, but a few just had legal pads.

After class, I met back up with J. and we drove to Uptown for lunch at French Meadow an organic/healthy/tasty/awesome Bakery & Cafe (we went there on our honeymoon--twice! long story). Then we spent a couple of hours at IKEA before we remembered that we can't afford to buy anything because we've got a G5 on the way (!). My feet killed when I got home (dress shoes) and my legs were sore, and traffic was craptacular the whole way back, but it was a truly great day. Even if I get rejected by Minnesota, it was worth it to go out there and give it a shot. Plus I got a day to run around the city and have fun with my wife. Priceless!

Categories: law school

1 comment:

stag said...

Sounds like a good day! You did the right thing. Good luck. I guess now you just wait. Ha.

Getting lost in the library reminded me of a story. My first week in undergrad I couldn't figure out how to get IN the bookstore. You had to go way over to the right and check in your book bag, but that just wasn't evident to me. I couldn't buy my books until I finally asked my dorm roommate: You know the bookstore... How do you get in it?