The average age of the Allard Law 2018 graduating class is 25. I’m 32. I’m not the oldest person in my year, but I’m close. I’m 32 years old, married, and generally pretty introverted. I don’t party. I’m not from Vancouver. I didn’t go to UBC for my undergrad. I didn’t start law school with a group of friends already established.
And it was hard, at first.
It was hard for me to make friends. Everyone else seemed to be having a really easy time with things, partying, making friends, finding life-long BFFs. Things hadn’t clicked for me, though. After a couple weeks, I remember asking another mature student in 2L when she felt like things really clicked, and she felt like a member of a cohesive group. “Soon,” she told me.
It wasn’t the next day, but it was soon. I got involved with clubs, put myself out there, and made friends.
Everyone in your class is going to be brilliant, ambitious, driven, and just over-all amazing. Their life experiences will amaze and flabbergast you. They’re also incredibly friendly and welcoming. Reach out. Find people you connect with. Learn their stories, and share your own. If you’re not into the club/party scene, you will be able to find people who want to go for hikes, or want to play roller hockey, or want to play Dungeons and Dragons, or want to start a law-themed funk band. There are different clubs and teams to join, where you can meet colleagues from different small groups, or upper classmates who can help you through 1L. Ask an upper year if you’ve got a question about anything. Literally, anything. We may not know much, but we’ve at least been through what you’re about to go through, and our wisdom might save you a lot of stress.
So, I was asked to write this to give a different view point for incoming students. I’m not writing this for the 25 year old with a ton of friends who loves to party and schmooze. I’m writing this for the mature student who is worried about not being able to make friends. I’m writing this for the student who moved across the country and doesn’t know a soul in Vancouver. I’m writing this for the student who would rather play board games and drink tea, and who has an easier time talking with random dogs on the street than their owners.
1L is terrifying and exhausting. It’s possible to go it alone through 1L, but you don’t have to. It’s a lot easier and a hell of a lot more enjoyable if you’ve got a support network who can ground you when you need it, and lift you up when you need it.
Also, go to the Guile Debate. I laughed so hard I cried. The end.
Good luck, dudes.
Written by Kelly Gale