The first month at NYU is all about leaving my comfort zone and becoming engaged. Challenging as it might be, it rewards me with a new horizon at this amazing university and in this amazing city.
Believe me, being engaged in classes is not easy when your native language is not English, when you are flooded with the rapid typing sounds of 2Ls and 3Ls, and when your classmates speak with accents you have never heard before. I come from China, a country which values sophisticated and silent thoughts more than straightforward delivery of opinions. My memory of classes back in my Chinese law school entails long speeches by professors and silent classmates taking notes.
At NYU, everything changed. Despite cold calls from professors, my classmates are eager to speak voluntarily in class. The Socratic teaching method inspires in-depth discussions of the legal issues and triggers questions I would never come up with. So, my advice is to just raise your hand, no matter how trivial you think your questions are, no matter how broken your English is, and no matter how confident your classmates sound (peer pressure is intimidating, I understand). Gradually, you will find yourself absorbed in interesting debates about legal issues. You can even get the professor’s joke and laugh with the rest of the class. Just become engaged.
When I talk about engagement, I am not talking only about being engaged in classes. Hey, you live in New York! So go out and become engaged in this wonderful city! My fellow LLMs are a friendly and interesting community. We went to an Aerosmith concert together. We shared Ben’s pizza in Washington Square Park while listening to jazz. My classmate from Thailand took me to the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever visited. When you are surrounded by people from more than 30 countries, it would be a big waste if you don’t hang out with them in New York City.
I am loving my first month at NYU, and I look forward to more surprises.