Remember the good old days, when people would go on hunger strikes to promote good causes, or to actually evoke change, or to do away with stretch marks? Gandhi. The Tibetans. Various dissidents throughout history. Ah yes, those were the days.
Well, it appears the degeneration of our society has struck again!
Zenovia Evans, a 28 year old law school graduate, has begun a hunger strike ostensibly to increase law school transparency about the job market for recently graduated students. One could surmise that the actual reason is something closer to “because she doesn’t have a job.”
Evans claims to be on day 21 of her hunger strike, and that she has lost over 16 pounds. All of that, if true, sounds totally horrible, and I’m sorry she’s going through it.
As a general rule, though, a hunger strike needs a few things to be effective: 1) the threat that if something doesn’t change, the hunger strike will continue unto death, 2) an actual organization which can enact some sort of change to prevent you from meeting your untimely demise, and 3) an actually worthy cause that can engender mass public appeal.
Unfortunately, Evans has missed on all counts. She’s not threatening to carry this forward to a harsh conclusion. She has called on ten law schools, rather than one, and none of them have any real incentive to change due to her lack of an actual threat. And lastly, the legal job market is still, relative to most other liberal arts grad school programs, a booming one. There’s not much sympathy for an industry where some 88% of new graduates are employed. Especially if that industry is full of lawyers. So mass public appeal is probably not going to happen.
Welcome to a crappy economy, everyone.
But the reasoning behind the hunger strike itself seems to be dependent on the idea that going to law school guarantees you a job. Evans’ quotes in the USA Today piece reflect a general sense of entitlement. She refers to a career counseling office that she implies “failed her”.
Of course, as we all know, having a job isn’t a right, no matter how much education you get. Going to law school doesn’t guarantee you a job, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee you a well-paying job. Expecting a hunger strike to somehow amend this situation is the height of silliness.
Law school can still mean a great, high-paying, slightly-soul-annihilating job, but you can’t simply expect that kind of employment. Be realistic. If you went to a low-ranked school and didn’t excel in your studies, you might have slightly more difficulty getting a job. Especially in a bad economy. Understand the reasons why you went to law school, and make sure they were realistic ones in the first place.
And, I mean this quite strongly, don’t go on a hunger strike unless you are campaigning for national independence or something. Hunger strikes because you’re out of a job? That shit don’t play.
Update: And apparently it was all total crap anyway. Evans’ hunger strike allowed for V8 Juice and smoothies, and she apparently graduated from a fourth tier law school (Cooley Law School). She is also employed as an independent contractor for a law firm, and hasn’t taken the Bar yet.
What a waste of time.