Volume 19, Issue 6
Dear Peeved with their Penultimate Peers,
It is an amazing feat for the class of 2020 to be associated with anything beyond beginning a law degree during a global pandemic, and yet this cohort has done just that. While law school is already known for being clique-y, second years have gone above and beyond (cute lil over-achievers). But don’t fret! It’s not just the first years being shunned, but also a large proportion of their own cohort.
A classic example being this week’s Autumn Social. The premiere event on the semester’s social calendar, you’d think this would be a great opportunity to foster collegiality amongst the cohort. And yet! Nothing says high school rubbish quite like the secret network of pres that took place on Thursday evening. Half of the class of 2020 was in the dark and uninvited, and the other half were tossing up between multiple invitations – trying to determine which south-side share house they should grace with their presence. To put it bluntly, the cliques are out of control.
Unfortunately, cliques are often inevitable, and you shouldn’t take your exclusion personally. However, if you’re feeling petty, there is evidence to suggest that while cliques wield social power, they are generally not reflective of the highest performers in any professional setting, including MLS (See Crowley & Elster, Mean Girls at Work). Furthermore, not to sound like a sad ex-partner who’s in denial, but frankly you’re better off without them. Cliques are formed by arbitrary, non-substantive similarities (e.g., attending the same high school in the Eastern suburbs, doing a BA at UniMelb, being on the LSS, etc) and by definition, tend to lack diversity. Also, there’s nothing worse than being known through your associations rather than your actual personality. Gross.
However, don’t give up all hope just yet. While as a collective the cohort may be trash, there’s some individual treasures to be found. Where you can, try and engage with older students one on one. Reach out to a mentor, tutor, or someone who you’re on committee with. Sounds high-key predatory, but sometimes you need to separate people from the pack. Don’t make it weird. Just prioritise individual connections over trying to get in with the “popular kids”. The fact I even had to say that at grad school is bile-inducing, but some people need a reminder. We’re ultimately here to get a degree, get a job and get out. A few friends on top are a bonus. At this stage, you’d be best served by cultivating a healthy group of friends, outside of MLS.
If you do manage to get a lone second year, they’ll probably be helpful enough to pass on some hot tips and 3rd generation obs notes. If you don’t manage to capture one don’t worry - odds are someone in your year group has the link, just ask around. Otherwise, controversially, you could make them yourself? Just kidding – if you get desperate, buy a set online.
Your Learned Friend.
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.