On Friday, UBC Law had the honour and pleasure of hosting the Honourary Justice Abella from the Supreme Court of Canada. The event was hosted by PBSC and it was probably the most excited I’ve seen my colleagues since the Boat Cruise at the beginning of the month. The talk itself was fantastic to say the least and I left Allard on Friday afternoon feeling really refreshed and inspired.
You see, I’ve been struggling for the last month trying to figure out how and what to write about for this post. It’s my first post as the 1L rep and oddly enough, my usual ability to pop out good, stimulating writing has just seized up. As the 1L rep, I’m expected to write about my perspective with respects to law school and the UBC Law community — and I have tons I want to say! But because these last two months have been such a whirlwind of events and experiences, attempting to synthesise all of it into one, succinct, page-scroller blog post has proven to be quite the challenge.
So I decided I’m not going to try and make that happen anymore. I’m just going to write and follow my gut because that’s what the Honourable Madam Justice Abella advised us to do. And let’s be honest, if a Supreme Court judge tells you something, you do it. It’s the law.
(…. I had to)
Let’s all just take a collective breath, step back, and realise where we are. School-wise I mean. Now, you might not be someone who thinks every achievement warrants celebration and applause. You might not even think that getting into law school warrants any special recognition. But I think that getting into law school — especially a prestigious one like UBC — is a big deal. And so I want to take this opportunity to say, if you’re in law school, congratulations.
In the last 2 months I’ve found myself and my peers getting increasingly overwhelmed with the chaos that is first year law and I think it’s easy to forget that many of us are living the dream of our younger selves. Most, if not all, of us have worked extremely hard to be exactly where we are and it’s important to give that achievement the recognition it deserves — on various and multiple occasions if necessary. I look around me, and we all make jokes about it, but there’s an air of dejection and hopelessness. And I get it. It’s difficult to feel proud of yourself when you’re working hard but not getting the results you want. It’s easy to slip into feelings of incompetence and despair when you feel like you can’t handle what’s being thrown at you. But it’s in those moments that it’s important to remember that you are here. You are in the 10% that UBC chose. Someone in administration thought you had the skills, intelligence, and determination, among other things, to do exactly this. And for that, you should be proud.
I’m in no position to give any kind of advice or wisdom considering I’ve just started out, but one thing I have been told on numerous occasions is that law school is a process. What’s happening is exactly what’s supposed to happen, so trust the process and most importantly, trust yourself. Be proud of the achievements you have already accomplished and use them as ammunition for the challenges you currently face. What surprised me the most about UBC Law is the overwhelming feeling of solidarity, community, and support. There are tons of resources, from mentorships and buddy systems to random upper years giving you advice on the bus; no matter where you go, there’s someone willing to help. So don’t forget to seek out that support when you need it to keep yourself feeling sane and optimistic.
(And if you still feel like you need a good cry, come find me and we’ll cry together. I always feel so energised after a good cry!).
As we proceed into the last month of school before December exams (I know right?!), just remember how lucky you are to be here, at UBC Law, living the dream of your younger self. You owe it to your younger self to enjoy this experience as much as possible. You owe it to all of those who supported you and who currently support you, to love what you do. And if all else fails, think of your most hated class in high school or undergrad and just think:
At least you’re not doing that anymore.