The single greatest thing about being done with my first year of law school--other than the 300k advance on the six-book deal with Little/Brown and the school-issued H&K P9S (standard-issue pistol for Navy SEALs, middle school principals, and now UT 2L’s)--is that I have gained complete autonomy with regard to my schedule. For a lot of law students this doesn’t seem like a big deal; many actually enjoy having their schedules preset as 1L’s. And at UT it’s not even a completely new thing, since we were allowed to have an elective last summer. But handcrafting a schedule that fits my needs as a student and a lover is an art that I take very seriously, having honed my technique for going on seven years, and this registration season has infused my law school experience with the kind of joy that only puppies and stripclub DJ's have the right to know.
During my many undergraduate years, I was officially registered at one time or another for no fewer than eight majors (Government, CompSci, History, English, Philosophy, Linguistics, Advertising, and Sociology…go ahead and count them I know you won’t) in three different colleges of the University, with half again as many unofficial major choices and something like fifteen official major changes. Though some of these were for good reasons, most were simply impulse switches. Switching majors within the College of Liberal Arts was as simple as visiting the Dean’s Office, and I would often do so as a therapeutic measure. Got a B on a history test? Switched to English. Crappy response to a short story? Switched to philosophy. Tired of smoking out with my professor and dating girls with braided armpit hair? Linguistics sounds fun. I liked to think that each time I left a major behind, I was giving a big middle finger to the department and that the department heads would look at weekly printouts of escapees and drink themselves to sleep upon finding out that I’d emigrated. It made me feel almost whole.
Anyway, this kind of behavior required a lot of manipulation of the registration system, and I enjoyed nothing more than doing exactly that. I once packed 24 credit hours into a T-Th-only schedule. I’ve registered for ballroom dance with the sole intent of dropping it during an open registration period at the exact moment that a friend with lower registration priority tried to add it. I designed an eighteen-hour schedule in which every class met in the same lecture hall. And, in the Spring of 1999, I was a sociology major for exactly seven minutes in order to register for a cross-listed seminar whose non-major-restricted seats had already been filled. You might think these the actions of a man unreasonably obsessed with the system and unwilling to commit to any single major, and you’d be right. But there is a much simpler explanation: I didn’t really know any girls in college.
Well, I do know girls now, thank you very much, but I still get a kick out of tinkering with my schedule. As it currently stands, I’ve got five classes for seventeen hours, with no classes earlier than 10:30 am, the three in-class finals spaced out at four-day intervals…and no classes on Thursday or Friday. I don’t think I could have done any better, except maybe for quitting law school altogether. Now all that’s left is to find out what the hell I registered for.