FENNO WAS WOKEN up by the annoying ping on his laptop. “dude, did u register yet?” some annoying former section-mate was inquiring via GChat. The sun, high in the sky, shone through Fenno’s blinds, intensified in the refraction of the empty gin bottles lining his windowsills, and stung his sleep-deprived eyes. Registration? For what? “for 09-10” came the next message, before Fenno even had time to reply.
Our hero was in shock. 2010? Had he been asleep for a year? Was he the protagonist of some bizarre, 21st century Rip Van Winkle saga? He felt like the spring semester had just started. And then it struck him: that was because he hadn’t opened a casebook since January, during that thirty-minute period he spent cramming for his Belarusian Legal History exam (Fenno had thanked the Belarus Jesus upon discovering that Belarus had only really enjoyed the rule of law for four hours in 1923. He passed with low-flying colors).
Now, he was thrown into the same panic he had felt on that lonely winter’s day. Scrambling, he discovered his casebooks – one propping up the card table he had used to host his last poker night, one holding open his window to vent the persistent stench from his seven-month-old dirty laundry pile, one that he mined for firewood (the professor had explicitly told the class not to bother reading the notes and comments, he recalled). Soon, he was on his way to Langdell, with all his study materials – be they freezing, raunchy, or slightly-burnt, in tow.
It only took Fenno three hours to find his preferred seat – one of the fourth floor carrels that wasn’t directly attached to any of the others, located near the coffee room, turned away from the wall so no one could give him fleeting looks of disdainful jealousy when they discovered he was actually spending all of his time reading abbreviated Onion headlines on Twitter (because who had time for the whole Onion, anyway?) He settled in for a night of intense cramming.
Some time later, he awoke with a start – the library staff were kicking him out, and could he please try to avoid drooling all over his laptop? The library had apparently dealt with four short circuits already that day. That was when Fenno looked around and realized that the lights weren’t out because it was closing time – and that he had barely made it past page eight of his Federal Courts casebook. Only 57,668 to go – there was always tomorrow.
Fenno slumped back to his room, glad that he had burned half his casebook before he’d need a train of porters to escort him to and fro the library. On his desk, his laptop was still open to GChat – and his friend’s message. It was 12:05AM – too late for registration. Fenno sighed – but it was a sigh of relief. At least next year, he would only be skipping classes he loathed, anyway.