It is nearing the end of the first day of the orientations program that all incoming law students at UBC go through. I was only a little excited about the program beforehand (up to this morning, that is), but as soon as it started my enthusiasm grew exponentially.
The incoming law students have all been divided into eight small groups. These appear to take on the name of a historical figure in the British Columbia legal system. Some groups seem to have learned a lot about the origin of their names; all I know is that mine is named Goye, so I suppose it will make a sort of project some blustery Vancouver evening to find out more about him. These groups will, they tell us, become a highly useful source of camaraderie for studying and what not, since we have all eight classes together. It was a bit overwhelming to remember all the names and backgrounds. Tomorrow they are to have a group dinner for everyone at a restaurant on Broadway. I almost wish they would wait a fortnight or so and have it when we know each other better and can discuss our professors in privacy, but I bet I’ll like things as they are when I go tomorrow.
We also had a fine introductory presentation, the first twelve minutes of which being a rather informative session on the history of the first nation upon whose land our law school sits. Then we heard presentations from a few people involved in the legal profession in British Columbia. I’m entirely new to everything about law, never having so much as given it a thought till recently, so names like de Jong meant nothing to me. Yet each one of them proved a fascinating and engaging speaker. I must admit to having wondered, throughout the day, whether I was indeed in the right program, as one does when starting something so new and different. As I listened through the speeches, I began to feel altogether more excited and free from inhibitions. It really helps me to feel that I’m worthy of accomplishments when those profiled talk about how they felt in the moment where we are now, a week before classes are to start.
At the barbecue which followed, I couldn’t help but wonder whether one of our sponsoring law firms’ heaviest clients was a doughnut chain, for the doughnuts at the barbecue came in addition to those presented along with coffee at the small group introductions. They are, to be sure, excellent doughnuts. But more importantly, I had conversations in depth with a graduate in computer science, a student in the First Nations program, and a student originally from the Ukraine, all of whom demonstrated the sheer wealth of background and diversity in our class. I came in thinking everyone would have a degree in political science, but I met students who can boast of five-to-ten-year careers in large computing corporations and in public interest and social services, and whose commerce backgrounds are impressive to the utmost, and some English majors who came straight to law school without doing anything spectacular in the interim.
For now, I’m very pleased with the day and ready for another. Tomorrow we shall have more lectures, which means more of a summary to come.