1L: don’t believe everything you read (or hear)
As future 1Ls, we’re all exposed to certain horrifying rumors from our friends and families, and from the news, online blogs or pre-law websites. My personal experience included a combination influence from just about every imaginable source, but even though we’re only less than a month into school, my 1L experience thus far has virtually expelled the vast majority of these nightmarish law school tales. In speaking with some of my section-mates, I’ve compiled the top three greatest fears of incoming first year law students:
1. Your section-mates aren’t your friends, they’re your competition:
The first day of class was a complete surprise. Instead of meeting the notebook-stealing, textbook-tearing gunners I had heard so much about, I was greeted by a section of other people just like me. Everyone was here to learn, everyone bright and encouraging. In fact, I’ve made some amazing friends already that I study with, hang out with and even go to bar review (weekly bar tab through the law school) with! The typical “gunner” we all hear about when we decide to go to law school is so far from the GW Law reality that the GW Law Review made a hilarious music video on the subject, check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQsPC2n4T6Q. (Warning: this video contains profanity)
2. Professors are scary and unapproachable:
All of my professors have encouraged us to speak with them after class and to visit them in their office hours. One of my professors actually invited our entire Civil Procedure class over to his house to have dinner with his family. While professors do have high expectations of us, they truly want to help us achieve.
3. The life of a law student consists only of studying:
This was so impactful on me that I actually developed and accepted the mindset that I would never leave the library. One could say my undergraduate years allowed me to develop a healthy social life, so this was a huge fear of mine. To an extent that mindset is still engrained in me, as I wonder constantly if I’m doing something wrong because I always have time for hobbies, extracurricular activities and friends. What I’ve found is that with some practice in time-management, there is always time to set aside for myself. Whatever your interests, you’ll be able to maintain them. With the multitude of extracurricular activities offered through the law school (law-related and not), we all find something we enjoy. As if the manageable workload isn’t evidence enough of the healthy lifestyles prevalent among GW 1Ls, the fact that the school encourages us to maintain balance in life, to get involved in activities we enjoy and to cultivate friendships and take time for ourselves is definitely telling.
I can’t speak for 1Ls outside of GW, but I can attest to the fact that law school is not what I expected it to be, it’s better! I’m learning material that I’m passionate about in an encouraging environment among some of the most brilliant likeminded people in the country. I have not met a single unhappy 1L, nor do I expect to considering how dynamic GW Law is. GW Law is an incredible place to be, even in light of the earthquake and hurricane that plagued our first week of our 1L careers. Put simply, all those rumors about how terrible law school is are exactly that at GW Law… rumors!