Ultra Vires


Orientation Wrap-Up

A review of an orientation week for the books

1Ls are now a full month into their law school journeys, and there is little doubt about how they’re feeling: nervous, scared, and exhausted, but also excited, despite the trials and tribulations that await them. Their first two weeks at the Faculty of Law were marked by the annual Legal Methods course in an effort to prepare them for the realities of law school. As always, it seemed to both prepare and frighten our incoming class. 

With a new cohort also comes their orientation, led by a team of their upper-year peers. This year, orientation leaders Brynne Dalmao (2L), Michelle Slipanchuk (2L), and Hyun Tae Kim (2L) decided to take orientation in a different direction than previous years after experiencing the first post-COVID orientation just last year. 

Dalmao, Slipanchuk, and Kim started their campaign to make the new cohort feel included and welcomed on the very first day, providing post-lecture snacks, which continued throughout the two weeks of Legal Methods. The social events kicked off with a games night, where 1Ls could play an assortment of board and card games, such as Jenga and Uno, while entering raffles to win some new Faculty of Law swag. 

The following morning was the traditional Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt, where friendships were forged and rivalries were made. Ultimately, Ikran Jama (1L), Kabir Dhillon (1L), Yasmin Rajwani (1L), Harjaap Brar (1L), Will Smith (1L), Sam Rayner (1L), and Ufuoma Akalusi (1L) took home the gold. The afternoon rounded off with trivia hosted by a Hawaiian shirt-sporting Associate Dean Chris Essert. At trivia, the 1Ls continued to surprise by coming out in full force and overcrowding the large lecture hall. The grand prize of U of T Law swag ultimately went to the victorious Tim Hong (1L), Kyle Girdhari (1L), Justin Shin (1L), Jared Sloan (1L), Rayyan Esmail (1L), and Tristin Bezte (1L). 

The new cohort’s first weekend of law school began with a trip to the Toronto Islands, a new feature of this year’s orientation. With the help of upper-year volunteers, Dalmao, Slipanchuk, and Kim escorted the 1Ls to the island and provided snacks, drinks, and lawn games. 

The following week kicked off with another games night, with the focus this time being an exhilarating game of Bingo! Winners included Michael Barbour (1L), Natalie Chow (1L), and Sahara Mehdi (1L). Bingo was followed up with an evening trip to Rogers Stadium, where 1Ls could behold the Blue Jays in all their glory. (Or, considering their defeat, their lack thereof.)

The week rounded off with the mock exam for their Legal Methods course. Later that day, the annual evening mixer was held at the beautiful Arta Gallery in the Distillery District, where 1Ls had the chance to decompress and get to know their classmates after an intense two-week introduction to the law school. 

From some of the upper-year volunteers, there were whispers that this year’s orientation was one of the best in recent memory, particularly with COVID restrictions finally taking a background role in regard to social events. As someone who was in the first cohort of in-person 1Ls after the pandemic, and a volunteer for orientation the past two years, I certainly felt it was an exciting and special two weeks that next year’s orientation leaders will have to aim for the stars to beat. 

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