Saturday, July 22, 2017
What to Expect at Law School Orientation
As July comes to a close, and August draws nearer, so many of you are about to embark on the incredible journey that is law school. While it's so exciting, it's also a little bit scary and there are so many questions that you probably have about what it's going to be like. I probably had all of those same questions a year ago, and now that I'm a seasoned law school veteran, it seems to be my duty to inform future 1Ls what it's like. Orientation is the first thing you'll do in law school. It's a nice way to ease your way into law school in theory, but in reality it can be a totally nerve-racking experience. Although there's nothing I can really do to calm your nerves, I can tell you what to expect in law school orientation.
First things first, expect total information overload. You'll have information sessions about classes, how to study, student panels, meeting your professors, etc. My orientation was only two days, and I remember being totally and completely overwhelmed by all of it at the end of each day. Take a notepad and pen with you to jot down the important things. That way, you don't have to struggle to remember everything and you can just enjoy taking in the information.
Next, expect to have to introduce yourself at least one hundred times. You'll be meeting all of your future classmates, school administrators, professors, and probably some people you're never going to see again. Start practicing your handshake and saying "Hi, I'm [insert your name here]. I'm from [insert hometown here]. The reason I came to [insert your law school] is because [insert reason for coming to said school]." Because it will feel like that's all you're doing all day. You'll be meeting Claire from New Jersey who came to the school because her parents are alumni, Jeremy from Nevada who came because he likes the football team, and Marcus from Maine because he got a good scholarship. So have you're answers ready, because you're going to go over it a million times that day.
While you're going to be so excited to learn about law school, some of the things they go over might absolutely terrify you a little bit. I remember we had a presentation on addiction in law school, where an attorney told us the story of her alcoholism and painkiller addiction in law school. It's a little overwhelming to hear all of these law school horror stories before you even start. My best advice here is to not let any of these warnings get in your head. They're just telling you because they want you to be prepared, but it doesn't mean every horror story will happen to you.
Everyone will be dressed professionally - this may be the first and last time you see everyone looking nice. Most law schools inform you about your orientation dress code before it starts. Mine was business casual and I wore slacks, a button-down shirt, and a blazer. Some schools have a business professional dress code, which means you should be in a suit. Some law schools don't have a dress code, or even have a casual one. My best advice is when in doubt, go business casual. And flats. Wear flats. You might be walking all over campus and the last thing you want to start law school will is blisters all over your feet.
One of the best parts about law school orientation is that you'll make lots of friends. Chances are, the people you meet at orientation will be some of your closest friends during your first year of law school. I definitely hung out with a lot of people from orientation first semester. By second semester, I had different friends, but it was nice to meet a few people to bond with during the first few months. So don't be shy, and make lots of friends so that your first semester of law school won't be lonely.
These are just a few things to expect during law school orientation, but the truth is that each experience will be different. Any questions? Ask me in the comments below and I'd be happy to answer!