Less than 24 hours until the first meeting of our incoming UBC Law class.
Throughout the day, Facebook has told me stories of my fellow class members. Excitement and anticipation abound. Everyone seems to recognize this as a new chapter, a turning point in life. I feel the same way, and like my fellow classmates, I am curious to see what the week ahead will bring.
This past week, however, has not afforded much time for relaxation. My last day of work, in Ontario, was last Wednesday. The next morning, at 7:00 a.m., I was on a Vancouver-bound flight. The next five days were a whirlwind: meeting my new housemates for the first time (all entering UBC Law this fall), shopping (we are all new to Vancouver), and setting up our new home (read: assembling copious amounts of recently purchased furniture).
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been work. The day I arrived in Vancouver I managed to climb my beloved Grouse Grind, and I did get to sneak down to Portland for a day to visit my father. One night some incoming law students got together for a friendly poker game, and the next we found ourselves mingling at one of the campus pubs. But I’m aware that I’ve already slipped into a non-stop pace of activity, where every moment is carefully chosen. I get the feeling that this won’t stop for the next eight months at least – not that I am complaining.
Only tonight have we reached some semblance of order and sanity, and I can take a few quiet minutes to contemplate. I should probably be in bed, but I don’t think I could sleep if I tried.
The first day of law school is less than a week away and I’ve been busy trying to prepare myself for this big, new adventure. What exactly are the optimal preparations for law school? Honestly, I’m not quite sure. In anticipation of the year ahead I’ve quit my job, got my eyes checked, applied for a new driver’s license and passport, cleaned out my closet and fridge, and stocked up on household necessities and non-perishable food items. For whatever reason, I find it reassuring to know that my studying of torts will not be interrupted by an unexpected shortage of dish soap or Alphagetti.
I’ve also been able to pick up a few of the books that were suggested to me as good prep material. Books such as: Poverty: Rights, Social Citizenship, and Legal Activism edited by Margot Young, Susan B. Boyd and Gwen Brodsky (my future professors!), Peter Russell’s The Constitutional Odyssey (everything you ever wanted to know about the Canadian Constitution and much, much more), and A Woman’s Guide To Law School by Linda Hirshman (an effective way of getting yourself thoroughly freaked out about first year… if you’re a woman).
So, having done my best to prepare myself, I guess now all I have left to do is wait.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, because I am. On the one hand, I can try looking at this as being just another first-day-of-school. And let me tell you, I know school! Me and school have a long history together—we go way back! But then on the other hand, first year law is not first year theatre or first year philosophy. Without a doubt, I’m going to be surrounded by a whole new calibre of ambition and talent. I expect the workload and level of professionalism to look very different from my undergrad. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the bar has been raised. However, these challenges come with a whole new realm of terror potential. And it is that potential (all the opportunities that await!) that is the most exciting.
And so I wait! Looking forward to meeting my classmates, getting my paws on those syllabi, and finding out what exactly first year law will be.
Hard to believe that I’ll be back in Vancouver in less than a week, and starting UBC Law Orientation in less than two. But it’s true: many of my worldly possessions are already making their way across Montana, as two friends are enjoying a cross-continent road trip from my current home in Waterloo, Ontario. They’re in my car with a trunk full of my belongings, and I’ll meet them on Thur, Aug 26 as I fly in to Vancouver.
I have lived in Vancouver before, but UBC Law will be a completely new experience. I find myself full of questions: will law school be as interesting and rewarding as I hope? Will the people there be talented, interesting individuals (my hope), or will they be pretentious, arrogant, and self-serving (my fear)? Will the workload be manageable, or will our experience degrade into chaos like that chronicled in Scott Turow’s “One L: the Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School”?
One thing is for sure: the UBC Law Orientation staff have played an invaluable role in helping to manage expectations. I was personally given a tour of UBC’s law facilities, have already “met” many incoming classmates through the online Facebook group, and particularly enjoyed meeting both future classmates and current law students through casual ice-breakers. I even found three housemates via the Facebook group, so now four of us entering UBC Law will be living together on campus.
At the Toronto ice-breaker I plied second-year students with questions about the realities of the UBC Law. Workload? (High, but manageable.) Pretentious people? (They exist, but are few in number.) Dress code? (Casual.) Social opportunities? (Almost too numerous to name.) I also met quite a few of my incoming fellow classmates, and was reassured as they all seemed to be collaborative, talented, and … well, very nice people.
I won’t really know UBC Law until I actually experience it, but you’re more than welcome to follow along as we take that journey. And I would love to hear from other incoming UBC Law students about their own expectations, thoughts, and fears of our time ahead.
Welcome to our blog!
We’re simply setting up at this point, but check back regularly. You’ll find first-hand perspectives of three first year law students as we start our journey towards a UBC Law degree.