Working Hardly: The Wisdom of Jeff Winger
Jeff Winger from Community is one of those snarky TV lawyers who you somehow can’t help but love. So before we look at what we can learn from Jeff, it’s probably best to start with a warning: if you want to be a lawyer, you should always get the law degree before commencing your career. But since you’re reading a blog about surviving law school, I think you’ve probably got it covered!
Let’s start with a feel good Jeff Winger speech moment. Think of those you study with – that person from your constitutional law class, the people in the group assignment that you can’t stand, and those far too attractive law students who seem to be in every student council you’ve never heard of – they are your Greendale. In the words of Jeff Winger, “You've just stopped being a study group. You've now become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a COMMUNITY.”
Jeff may be self absorbed, and he sometimes messes up when it comes to his relationships with the other members of the study group, but he shows that it’s okay if you stuff up sometimes as long as you then do everything in your power to make it right.
Similarly, Jeff shows that it is important to care about people, even if it’s terrifying and even if it’s hard for you to admit you care, just do it! The same goes for a fear of failure: you’re not perfect, and you may be really awful at some things (especially pottery) but you’re a normal person (albeit it of above average attractiveness) and that’s okay. If you care for people as they are, they will accept you as you are, and you’ll all look out for each other.
Jeff also teaches us that apparently you need to not care to be a good lawyer, and that you should probably skill up in the wine tasting department. As Jeff puts it, “When I wasn’t shielding the wealthy from justice, I was drinking their finest wines”.
On the less serious of side of things, Jeff teaches us that sarcasm and cynicism is the best, because it gives people a chance to prove you wrong, and also you can’t help but look cool when you’re doing it. To be fashionable, you should always dress immaculately and have an array of effortlessly good-looking outfits, and yes, this does include matching you shirt to your socks. To achieve this look you need to get out of bed an hour early, because the perfect bed head of hair doesn’t come from actually being in bed.
Finally and most importantly, there is always an epic speech to remedy any situation. If you keep talking, even the worst dilemmas or conflicts can be resolved through the power of your words. The human language is the greatest tool at your disposal – use it. In the words of Jeff Winger on his experiences with the study group: “So, maybe we are caught in an endless cycle of screw-ups and hurt feelings. But I choose to believe it's just the Universe's way of molding us into some kind of super-group.”
Law school makes you a super hero, able to take on any challenge you face. Embrace it!
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