Author Archives: Andrew Dilts

UBC Law Orientation

Orientation week was a blur.

It was a fun, engaging, and absolutely jam-packed blur. For nearly a week, we were kept busy with a mix of welcome lectures, advice-laden sessions, and team-building icebreakers.

At times, we’d find ourselves squared off in a cheering competition; at other times, we were given riveting lectures on the law by Profs Nikos Harris and David Duff. Some sessions missed their mark (at times, there was just too much advice) but many others hit the bullseye (the closing banquet and the following social night at Mahoney’s topped my list).

Perhaps most importantly, we got to meet our “small groups,” the 20-25 students we’ll take each and every class with this year. Out of the 184 students entering this fall (more than 2,000 applied, we were told), these are the two dozen students we’ll be getting to know the best.

It’s a humbling experience, getting to know talented students who attend law school. We have fine arts majors and finance students, yoga teachers and former government employees, as well as a predictably healthy share of political science and philosophy students.

Just as I’d hoped, every one of them was very intelligent, interesting, and had their own spark of something special. And also as I’d hoped, it certainly seems that we all share the desire for our UBC law experience to be a collaborative environment (as opposed to an uber-competitive, dog-eat-dog environment you can find at some schools). So far, so good!

‘Twas the night before …

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.

Expectations, anticipation

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.