March 26, 2010

Ten months ago, I had been visiting another law school when I called my Dad. “Dad,” I said, “There are two professors here who are unbelievable. I know I’ve been telling you that I’m going to Yale, but I sat in on two classes here, and I thought for a while that I might be changing my mind. I know it’s only two people, but I was really impressed. One of them was one of the government’s top lawyers for several years, and one of them was actually in a key diplomatic post for a long time. And they were amazing teachers, too.

I know this school was probably just putting its best foot forward and funneling prospective students towards its best professors, and I know Yale’s going to have some amazing professors of its own. Still, I was thinking to myself: I’m always going to be a little disappointed to have missed out on these two professors. But then I read about them a little bit. A funny thing jumped out at me: they’re both Yale Law grads, one of them quite recently.”

It was over the phone, but I could tell my Dad was smiling. “You might get a chance to take classes from people like these two at [School X]," he said, "but you get to take classes alongside them at Yale."

My first five months here have been great: professors, classes, community. What continues to impress me most of all, though, is my classmates. Even just among the twelve people in my small group, we had a military veteran, a member of the Peace Corps, and a think-tank analyst who is regularly cited on ESPN – and a competitive skydiver, although I’m not quite sure what that means. Learning from my classmates has been the real highlight of my time here thus far as I’ve heard about their experiences, their plans for the future, and their insights into what we’re learning now.

Much of what we learn comes from interstitial moments: while CNN is playing in the back of the student lounge, while carpooling to the airport, or while watching a football game at a local bar. And, sometimes, we learn more directly by going skydiving as a (very nervous) group.