Eight weeks into the first year of law school, and what have I learned? That there’s a palpable, omnipresent, and overwhelming urge to conform. Normally, I ignore social cues that say fit in with the cool kids, because I’m just generally wary of the masses and their enforced mediocrity. While waiting for my school funds to kick in so I could get a decent laptop to get me through the next three years (because the other one I have is ancient, it’s approaching a decade old) I had to stifle the thought to just break down and get a Mac, because 99% of the student body is on them.
Seriously. It sounds like a first world problem because it is a first world problem, and one that rational me knows is a frivolous concern not grounded in reality. But before I knew it, I was internally debating with myself about whether it was a mistake to go with the cheaper, well-reviewed PC I’d picked out several weeks ago just because of some herd mentality. The logic went along these lines: if I don’t have a Mac, and everyone else does, and everyone else is intelligent, then am I less intelligent for making a different purchase? Will my purchase of a PC be evidence my lack of brainpower, and spell disaster for me on finals? What if getting a PC means I’ll just fail out of law school???
At which point I’d have to rein in the crazy train and tell myself: NO. No, I will do just fine on this law school endeavor with whatever tools I have, and Mac/PC doesn’t matter to me. C’mon, how long was I in the tech field? I know that the difference is only one of aesthetics, and not actual performance.
And it’s just been a series of instances like the laptop indecisiveness loop, in which I’ll suddenly find myself experiencing confusion about my core values and I’ll just have to stop myself and ask: is the end goal of all of this to be a carbon copy drone, or is it to be a better version of me? Because let’s be clear, I am already awesome, and the reason why I’m in law school is to actually do something with that degree.
That’s the end goal. I value who I am too much to sell out, that was never my plan. It may be some people’s plans, sure, but it’s not mine. I like me. The clients and co-workers I’ve worked with in the past have liked me. It won’t do me a shred of good to sacrifice myself if at the end of this ordeal, I’ve lost what makes me likeable, because the law is a service-oriented field. People don’t retain you if they don’t feel like you’re genuine, and I feel like it’s something that I’m going to have to continue to remind myself of throughout these next three years.
Because yes, the urge to conform is that strong. And people can be terrible when they want you to so terribly fit in with them, and you resist.