My greatest fear in coming to law school was the rest of my class. As students in a top-tier law school, we find our intelligence is assumed. I feared that, as a result of its success in previous academic endeavors, the NYU Law School class of 2016 would be comprised of…well, know-it-alls. Not just know-it-alls, but know-it-alls who want to argue for a living. It was exhausting just thinking about being surrounded by people like that.
I dreaded the first day of orientation. Then I actually met some of my classmates. The first person I met at registration was Eliza. She’s warm and friendly, and she looked rather attractive in her summer dress. She had been a student athlete for four years at Brown, and said she was looking forward to just being a student. We talked about our goals for law school, and it became clear that neither of us knew exactly what we are doing here, or where it was that we want law school to take us. Later, at my section mixer, I met Sawyer, who had lived in China for a few years working on a startup. He asked if I was interested in going surfing sometime out on Long Island. I began to form a very different picture of the class of 2016.
Sitting in Tishman Auditorium and listening to Ken, the associate dean of admissions, welcome us to NYU and describe some of the demographics of this year’s group of 1Ls, I was further convinced that I had underestimated my classmates. We are pretty interesting people. One of us was a professional poker player, another was a producer for PBS, we have two doctors among us, and the list goes on. In my Lawyering section I met Liz, who is from New York. She told me I should get some rain boots now that I live in the city, and she shared her umbrella with me on our way to the bookstore. Orientation was barely underway, and we already had homework. Liz and I sat together and completed our first assignment. My classmates aren’t at all adversarial, as I had first imagined they would be.
When I met more of my classmates and participated in some lively discussion and debate with my Lawyering section, I learned a few more things about my class. Some of us do like to argue, and some of us enjoy hearing ourselves talk (myself included), but most of us are friendly, helpful, and fascinating people ready to dive into our education and forge relationships along the way. We’re intelligent, we’re successful, and, as they told us in the closing session of orientation, we’re cool. Most importantly, I learned I wasn’t alone. Many of my classmates were just as intimidated as I was at first—by one other, by the year of coursework looming in front of us, and by picking a direction as we move into the great wide open three years from now.
As I prepare myself for what is certain to be a challenging first year, I know that whether we suffer or succeed, or likely a little of both, we will do it together. I’m no longer exhausted by the prospect of spending the next three years with my class. Now I’m excited, I’m inspired, and I’m honored to be a part of the NYU Law School class of 2016.