I woke up this morning and realized that I am a law student. It’s official. I’ve met all of my professors, scribbled tentative notes in my casebooks, and been warned to use caution when italicizing punctuation. So far I’ve managed to escape the dreaded cold-call, but I’m sure that will change before long.
Newly arrived from Davis, California, I was relying on NYU’s 1L Orientation to jumpstart my New York City existence. From the moment I walked into Vanderbilt Hall to pick up my schedule, I found myself sifting through an intensifying flurry of questions and answers.
How do I brief a case? What should I expect in the classroom? How can I get involved in NYU Law’s public interest community? Who are my new classmates? Where is the nearest coffee shop? You get the idea.
The orientation program provided the answers to many of my questions. Professor Troy McKenzie walked us through the process of briefing our first assigned case. Shortly thereafter, I received individualized feedback about my first brief from my Lawyering professor. A mock class gave me an idea of how my understanding of a case would be put to the test through intensive questioning. (Now, having experienced my first few classes, I think that the mock class offered an accurate representation.) The Public Interest Law Center’s open house revealed many opportunities, some available even to first-semester law students, to give back to the community while gaining valuable real-world experience. Panel-style discussions and a Moot Court event reminded us of the light at the end of this three-year tunnel.
Moreover, as if thoughtful programming weren’t enough, orientation also introduced me to new friends. (It may sound cheesy, but it’s true.) Many of my fellow 1Ls are already inspiring me as people, beyond their resumes, and I can’t wait to spend the next three years of my life with them.
Now, in between reading for Contracts and briefing cases for Lawyering, I feel like the “school” part of law school snuck up on me. I can’t pinpoint when I became a law student. Maybe on August 25, when I briefed that first case? Or this past Friday, when I finished my first Torts class? Or just this morning, when it finally hit me?
Maybe this is one of those questions with no single correct answer. Maybe I should return to pondering the similarly answerless questions posed thus far by my professors.
As my eyes wander to my casebooks, 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready For This” (as heard in the movie Space Jam) pops into my mind, and I feel I must ask: Am I ready for this?
My gut tells me “yes.” My brain says that it will let me know at the end of the semester.