1Ls Talk 1L

Initial Feelings, Impressions and Sweeping Generalizations From Students Who Haven’t Had The Sincerity Beaten Out Of Them Yet

So far, 1L has raised a bunch of unexpected questions: Why can’t Professor Martha Shaffer always be there to hold my hand when I try new things? Why does Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time sound more charming in a British accent? Is it possible to achieve an emotional state other than eternal sadness in a Bay Street job? When someone casually tells me they started a self-sustainable company overseas that offers microloans to the poor, do I reveal my awe? Or play it cool? These are the tough questions we all must deal with upon our entry into law school. However, I am extremely excited that I am privileged enough to be seeking these answers with such friendly, talented and interesting people.

– Melissa Smith

For me, law school so far has been an eye opener. Law students share a certain way of approaching problems logically, and I thought that would have some implications on personality resulting in a sort of homogeny among the students. Those of you who have been around U of T for a while now might scoff when reading that, already knowing just how obviously wrong I was. It is amazing to me how diverse this group of people is while at the same time being like-minded. I have had so many different viewpoints expressed to me that I never considered. On second thought, maybe someone was always trying to express these viewpoints to me; they just weren’t nearly as persuasive as the students here are!

– Adam Ragusa

If I had to describe what starting law school is like, I’d say it’s much like going to an amusement park. You enter with a bunch of strangers, all with varying levels of expectations. There are a lot of different things to do; some seem daunting, some exhilarating, and others just make you want to throw up. Overall, it’s a whirlwind. When you finally make it home, you’re overcome by exhaustion. But you also feel a sense of fulfillment and that feeling is what makes you want to keep going back…

Okay, so maybe law school hasn’t been exactly like that. There’s a lot more reading involved. A LOT. But as cliché as it may sound, I have experienced that sense of fulfillment. I’ve met so many different people and learned so much new information. It’s been challenging, but also very satisfying. All I can say is that I’m excited (and slightly terrified) to see what these next three years have in store for me.

– Theresa Donkor

Think back to the time you first fell in love with the idea of law school. Maybe it was when you read To Kill a Mockingbird in Grade 7 English and were exposed to the arguments of the (formerly) great Atticus Finch. Perhaps it was the first time you heard the stirring words of Martin Luther King and realized that through hard work, a lawyer can help fight the evil that exists in the world. Or maybe, like my mother’s college roommate, it was when you learned that a career in law would allow you to wear an Anne Klein pantsuit on a daily basis (forgive her, it was the 90s). Everybody has an opinion on law school; it’s an unfortunate side effect of the legal profession’s sex appeal.

Over the summer, when I told people I would be attending law school at U of T in the fall, the overwhelming response was “Why??” coupled with some variation on the popular Trust No One maxim. Remember your ‘Aha’ moment? Odds are that a huge chunk of the general population has had it too. At some point, most people and their crazy uncle have considered law school, yet few seem to actually make the jump from the fantasy, to the actual classroom. When did the romance of law school die? Is it the prospect of sitting through the LSAT (or as I call it “5 hours of your life you’ll never get back”) that causes potential students to run? Or is it the reputation of the student body? There’s something about law school, especially ours, that seems to evoke images of students deliberately misleading their colleagues and ripping pages from essential books in the library.

I’ve only been here for about a month, but as far as I know I haven’t been pointed in the wrong direction, and my classmates have all jumped at the chance to offer academic advice if asked. We’re all here for the same reason; because at some point we saw, read, or heard something that made us believe that by becoming lawyers we could somehow do some good. We are the people who ignored the nasty law school stereotypes and ran full speed into an environment that has managed to scare away so many. Maybe the claws will come out around exams, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed they don’t, because if someone points me in the wrong direction, odds are I’ll trust them.

– Tegan Valentine