I’ve been thinking a lot about the decision Mr. Angst and I will be making in a few weeks. Picking schools is going to be hard if we end up with multiple choices (which I think we will).
So I guess it’s lucky, then, that right about the same time I’ve been dwelling on this very issue, Profs. Bernstein and Kerr over at The Volokh Conspiracy have been discussing the wisdom of choosing the highest-ranked school one gets into. Bernstein starts by saying lots of his students at GMU chose it over the higher-ranked Georges in the DC area. He doesn’t offer much reasoning for it, just states it as fact. Kerr then adds that the reason everyone says students should go to the highest ranked schools they get into is primarily because such a choice opens more doors. Bernstein finishes up by agreeing with Kerr, then outlines a few reasons why someone might choose GMU over the higher-ranked Georges in DCthese include geography, cost, specific programs, etc.
It was only in that last post that I saw any recognition that non-traditional students may have different needs than fresh-out-of-college kidsparticularly in the mention of geography and commuting. Frankly, the conventional wisdomthat you should go to the highest-ranked school you get intoreally only applies to people who are unattached. When you’re married, or have kids, or own a home, or have a partner also going to school, picking up and moving clear across the country for a school just because it’s higher ranked seems like pure folly.
Now, Mr. Angst and I are going to move, sell our house, and uproot from this place that we love, mostly because there aren’t any programs here for him. And we’re excited about movingit’ll be nice to live somewhere elsebut we’re not exactly doing it just for kicks, you know?
If I had the freedom to choose a law school based solely on rank, I would have already sent in my seat deposit. But there are other things for me to considerhow happy will we be? How much time will we have together? How expensive will each city be and how much debt will we be in? One city has a nearby network of family and friends, the other doesn’t. Unfortunately, the social network doesn’t correspond with my schools’ ranksbut it does with Mr. Angst’s.
Of course the rankings weigh on my mindI’d love to teach someday, and I can’t help but acknowledge that if we make certain choices, I might not be in a position to enter legal academia easily. But I also know that my dream career won’t be worth much if I have to sacrifice my family for it. And my dream career will probably taste slightly bitter if I know Mr. Angst gave up his own opportunities for me.
So I wish there was some recognition out there that not everyone can make the choice they want to, for whatever reason. And there should be more advice for people in that position. Here’s mine: don’t regret. When you decide on your school, if it’s not the decision you really wanted to make, figure out what you need to do to be content with it. Three years is a long time to walk around feeling like you made a bad choice.
Update: Chris Geidner at LawDork comments another bit of “conventional wisdom” referenced in Bernstein’s last postthat aspiring academics must go to the very top schools. Even I know this can’t be true, but it still gnaws at me. Chris puts some numbers and names out there to prove it’s not true. Thanks, Chris, for giving a hopeful future academic some…um…hope.
I love it when you go home for lunch, planning to empty and refill the dishwasher, start up tonight’s pasta sauce in the crockpot, and then enjoy a nice grilled-cheese sandwichor maybe a saladbut instead, when you reach up on top of the fridge to put a big spoon in the utensil jar, you knock off a bottle of balsamic vinegar which then shatters all over the kitchen floor.
I LOVE that.
E. McPan, you’re MINE!
I’m too lazy to blog the Oscars, but Althouse is already on the ball with the pre-show stuff. I’ll be refreshing all night, even as I watch.
Dave! asks how to make strawberry butter.
I will tell you because…mmmm….MMMMMM….strawberry butter is the Best Thing on Earth. Ever.
Soften a stick of butter. It’s got to be nice and soft, but not melted, or it won’t work. Just pull a stick out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. (You can speed this up by gently nuking the butter on low for 15 or 30 seconds at a time, but be careful not to melt the it.)
Put the butter in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Or use a hand mixerbut the butter has to be really soft or it’ll just fly everywhere. Or you can use the food processor if you’re making more than one stick of butter’s worth (one stick usually is too little and just gets stuck to the sides of the bowl).
Whip the butter for a few seconds, to get it nice and light and fluffy. Scoop in a generous spoonful of good strawberry jam or preserves and whip that in. Pick preserves or jam that you would like on toastit’s got to have the right amount of sweetness for your tastes.
Once the butter and preserves are all nice and whipped together, transfer into a serving disha little ramekin, maybeand smear on warm croissants or other flaky bread/pastry. Store in an airtight containerI have little 8 oz. Tupperware containers for just these sorts of small things. The strawberry butter won’t keep much longer than about 2 weeks, but don’t worryit wont last that long. You’ll find yourself sneaking into the fridge in the middle of the night to make strawberry butter toast.
(If you want to be really homemade, you can use real strawberries, macerated in sugar, but you have to let them get nice and mushy before you attempt to incorporate them. And you’ll need to make sure to add enough sugar or the butter won’t be sweet enough. And it won’t keep very long at all, since the strawberries will turn rancid after about 4 days. But doing this way will give you lots of kitchen cred.)
I had a morning off of choir, so Mr. Angst and I slept in. We went to his church, which has been recently renovated and has a better choir than my church. I was awash in sensory bliss between the hand-painted detailing and the Gregorian chant.
To make the morning even better, we came home and made brunch. I have this thing where I don’t really order food at restaurants that I can make myself. What’s the point, after all? I can’t always hold to this, but I try. One thing we always love to have at brunch is Eggs Benedict, but to get it at a restaurant on Sunday, you have to deal with hour-and-a-half waits. So I learned to make it myself (and rarely order it out anymore, unless it’s got something special, like crab cakes, which I haven’t mastered).
So Eggs Benedict was on our menu this morning. But because it’s Oscar Sunday, we thought we’d do it up even fancier. I made strawberry butter and we warmed some croissants; our eggs were on puff pastry with breakfast sausage instead of English muffins and Canadian bacon. And we topped it all off with homemade cappuccino and mimosas.
I am, again, awash in sensory bliss. It is sunny out, and just the right temperature, and we are listening to Nat King Cole and sipping our drinks and reading.
I love Sundays.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is in some new movie on Oxygen (“an Oxygen Original”) and the title of is something like, “True Stories of a Sociopathic Social Climber.”
Not only is this the worst title ever, especially since it appears that they are trying to make her a sympathetic character, but this movie also has “Joseph Lawrence” in it.
Wait, Joseph Lawrence? As in, JOEY Lawrence? As in, the doofus middle brother from Blossom? And he’s the gay best friend to (the other) J.Lo?
Wow. Guess he got a new agent. And she needs one.