I admit it: I didn’t sleep particularly well the night before the first day of classes. I laid in bed going over one unlikely situation after another, wondering what in the world I was getting myself into. I arrived for orientation with my eyes a tad blood-shot and my heart pounding, only to discover that there wasn’t much to get myself worked up over.
I enjoyed my first three days of law school so very much, I was honestly surprised. This left me feeling somewhat guilty about my apparently low expectations, when I realized I had made some false assumptions about what the next three years would be like. Last week made me reconsider at least two of these presumptions.
First, I expected the classroom dynamics to include a hefty dose of competitiveness. I remember telling a friend of a friend that I would be starting law school in September, and his response was “I hear if you drop a pencil during an exam in law school, the person sitting next to you will kick it out of reach.” All I could manage in reply was a squeaky “Really?”
He continued: “Yeah. And that people tear pages out of books on reserve in the library!”
Well, friend of a friend, I’m not sure where you heard these things, but you were wrong. The orientation activities, getting to know the group of people I’ll have all my classes with, and the vibes I got from upper year students have put these notions to rest. Sure, in some ways we’re competing, but the tone so far has been one of collaboration and camaraderie.
Second, I’ve always seen the legal profession as being a bit of a man’s world. While I am not yet in the work force, what I’ve seen from UBC Law in terms of diversity, I’m really happy about. Five of my six professors: women. At least half of the distinguished speakers last week: women, and diverse women at that. More than 50% of my classmates: women. Going beyond gender, we seem like a good mix of backgrounds and perspectives.
There may be one more day of orientation left, but for the most part introductions have been made and tomorrow we’ll roll up our sleeves. Tonight, I expect to have a good night’s sleep and will be bright-eyed and ready to go!