A Day in the Life

I’ve mentioned before a few times that I’m a dual degree student at BU. In essence, I’m pursuing both my J.D. and my M.A. in History concurrently; the two schools allow me to share some credits so that I can graduate after three years, having taken no extra classes and paid no extra tuition, with two degrees. It is, to say the least, a good bargain.

Despite its advantages, not a lot of BU Law students enroll in dual degree programs, probably because law school has so many options for credits already – clinic, study abroad, semester in practice, externships, and etc. I’ve only been in the program for two semesters, but I really love it, so I’ve decided to write a post explaining what a day in the life of a dual degree student looks like.

A (Semi) Typical Wednesday

  • I woke up early to finish some reading for my Evidence class. I also read over the rough draft of a paper from one of my classmates in my history class, The Historian’s Craft.
  • I got to school around noon for my 12:50 Evidence class.
  • Evidence ended at 2:00, and, coincidentally, it was Student Appreciation Day! There was free ice cream and BU stuff – pens, cups, bottle openers, that kind of stuff – all over the building, so my friends and I sat in the café and talked for about 45 minutes before I had to go to my history class.
  • Luckily for me, the history building is about a block from the law school. I walked over at 3:00 (in the middle of a random hail storm, might I add – the weather in Boston is a special kind of torture).
  • History class consisted of a brief meeting with our instructor to talk about administrative stuff, and then I paired up with one of my classmates to give detailed feedback on our drafts. We’ve been working on these papers all semester, and we finally have full drafts! My paper, which has to have both legal and history analysis as part of my program, is about how newspaper coverage of one specific trial reveals contrasting emotional communities that existed at the time. I know, complicated. My partner gave me some great feedback, and class, which normally goes until 6:00, was done by 4:30.
  • I grabbed an early dinner at the Thai place across the street and then headed back to the law school to do some reading for my Trusts, Wills, and Estates class the next morning.
  • At 8:00, I helped to judge an argument for the 1L moot court that all BU Law students have to participate in. I’ve been very involved with optional moot courts this year, so it was a ton of fun to be on the other side of the bench and get to play the role of judge for once.
  • I got home around 10:30 and did some reading for my First Amendment class the next afternoon, and finally got to bed around midnight.

Lest I scare you away from the dual degree program (or law school in general) and in the interest of full disclosure, that’s not really a typical day for me. It was a LONG, busy day, which is much more common in April than earlier in the semester. And the judging thing was totally voluntary – I am not typically at school at 10:00 at night.

Nonetheless, that particular does demonstrate one of the difficulties (and also one of the most fun parts) of the dual degree program. Within hours, I have to switch from learning the somewhat formulaic Federal Rules of Evidence to giving detailed feedback to my partner on whether or not I think a transnationalist interpretation of Benito Cereno effectively supports his argument about Melville’s perceptions of the slave trade. I love both of those things separately, but I occasionally get academic whiplash in trying to switch my brain from law to history and back again all in the course of the same day.

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