Friday, August 24, 2007

Erasing Age Lines

This morning I got an email from the legislative assistant who hired me for my internship on the Hill. We worked in the same office, he gave me assignments, and I later used him as a reference. He emailed me to tell me that he goes to my law school and saw my picture in a handout about Dean's Fellows. It is mind boggling that someone who I once considered a superior is now a year behind me in law school and is someone who can come to my office hours for guidance.

Throughout my academic career, there has been the age hierarchy. Aside from the few kids who had early/late birthdays or skipped/held back a year, I was always the same age as the people in my class. And while there were more kids who were the "exception," the age hierarchy largely remained intact during college as well.

Now we get into law school and the hierarchy is shattered. Last year, I might have been the youngest and a 1L at the bottom of the law school totem poll, but all of a sudden there are people 10 years older than me in my classes. I had no sense of how old people are, because as I learned very well last year, age and maturity do not go hand-in-hand at all. People who I thought were 23 ended up being 30, and vice versa.

I guess one of those 'real world lessons' that you learn in law school is that age does not matter anymore. People who were born in different decades are now competing for the same grades and the same jobs. Sure you gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom from experience, but you can be younger than someone else and have more experience than them in a particular area.

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