Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Is it Wise to Date Your Classmates?
Right when I got to Stanford, a 3L told me - "Elliot, it is a small class here - only 500 or so people in the whole school. Don't make a mistake and date a classmate - when it doesn't work out, you'll have to see her every day." Well, I ignored that advice which was repeated to me by many others - and fell completely in love with a girl in my same year almost from the very beginning of law school.

Two years, and one broken engagement later, I am left pondering this advice. Even granted all the pains in breaking up, and having to face my ex-fiance constantly, I still believe that not heeding the advice of that 3L was one of the wisest decisions I made. True - life has not been easy. I am forced to fall in love and have my heart broken again each time that I set eyes on the girl that I used to share a future with even though I realize things could never work. I had to watch fellow classmates whom I consider as close friends ask her out. I even had to work in the same 20 person office as her for eight weeks this summer. Why should one put themselves through this?

Because you don't know if that girl may just be the one and even if she isn't you'll learn alot along the way. The girl that I fell in love with could stump Prof. Tom Grey without batting her eyes, had Prof. Larry Lessig stammering in futile attempts to deal with her questions on his constitutional law theories, could speak five languages, and gave up a path to the New York Symphony to follow the path of law. She taught me to cook food better than you can get at a restaraunt, she showed me how to argue at the level of a National Debate finalist, and as one of the hottest girls in the class of 2005 she taught me to fall passionatly in love.

Yes, things did not work out. Ultimately subtle differences in our personalities and the various stresses of family and law school tore us apart. Six months later we barely talk and I am left with shards of memories. But even through this loss, I know that for a few brief moments in time I knew that there was a girl that not only I was in awe with, and that I thought I had a future with. And if I was lucky enough to repeat the same process again with somebody else , I'd leap for the same chance in a heartbeat.

For those of you entering or in law school, some of your classmates will be outrageously anal, dumb, and predictable. But others, no matter where you go to school, could be among the most talented people you meet in your life. Isn't it the height of risk averse stupidity to foresware dating those students merely because you are afraid things won't work out? Shouldn't you at least take a stab, if the opportunity arises, at trying to make something special work? For in the end, what is worse - dealing with a classmate you hooked up with, or not hooking up, not dating that special somebody, and stuck wondering on a late night at the firm "what if..."

To all the incoming 1Ls across the country - I wish you good luck, and as enriching a first two years as I have had.

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