No less puzzling was the way in which some of my new classmates jumped self-confidently into the fray, talking back to he professors as if the tangled complexity of legal doctrine were second nature to them. Where had they learned so much? Would I ever catch up?... Panic and dread threatened to overwhelm me.Thomas sees himself as uniquely disadvantaged, and he focuses on the students who leap out to the front. It's a memoir, and he should tell it from his point of view, but notice what is missing. He does say "some of my new classmates," which implies that he knew there were the other classmates who, like him, felt lost and afraid.
Terribly isolated in what was an alien environment, he focused on the students who took to law school as if it were second nature. But law school is always full of students who think class is a swirling miasma and mock those second-nature students as gunners.
You can hang out with them and have a few drinks and laugh at the ridiculous lawprofs and gunners. But Thomas determined to spend even more time studying -- 50 hours a week of study. And he did a lot of drinking alone:
I spent hours sitting by myself in our one-room apartment, guzzling blackberry brandy and listening to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On... I brooded over the futility of life as I listened to that half-despairing, half-hopeful album, in which Gaye asks whether anyone cares enough to save "a world in despair."Thomas does say that he made "several good friends" -- he names two -- who helped "ease my anxieties." But he never seems to relax or find humor in the alien place. The miasma of law school is another obstacle he must recognize and grimly overcome.