Drew Calamaro ‘21
Welcome to the University of Virginia School of Law! You are about to embark on a journey unlike any you have gone on before. Like a newborn seahorse, most of you have been ejected from your father’s financial safety net and into the turbulent currents of law school. Like the seahorse, you are now literally underwater in debt and will either die crashing against the coral reef or wither away on the inside as you begin to rationalize your shift to Big Law as “a temporary thing.”
This reality might worry you, but fear not! I am your spiritual guide on the way to acceptance of this reality. As such, I have some wise words for both students and new professors. What to do, what not to do, and how to do law school. I may even write a book on that topic and slap on some punny title to sucker 0Ls into buying it just to get an edge on their competition. So buckle up as I guide you like Virgil through the depths of your first $85,000 of loans year of school at the University of Virginia School of Law!
Some simple advice for 1Ls:
1. Use your middle initial in everything. Law school is primarily about intimidation and respect, and nothing says that like a name people have to linger on for an extra syllable simply because you refuse to make it shorter. You’re basically putting your classmates into a mental armbar the moment they meet you as they submit to your Alpha-betical dominance. History is littered with forgotten figures who chose not to use a middle initial when signing documents. However, the ones who did use that middle initial still live on today, like Jesus H. Christ or Jon B. Jovi.
2. Come to class sick. Keep in mind that law students are notoriously soft, and pushing through that sickness by going to class and coughing the whole time will show those classmates how tough and committed you are. If you are sick, never sit in the back of the class—always sit in the middle, so that everyone around you can really hear and see your runny nose and used tissues on the table. That will impress them to the point where they can’t stop talking about how brave you are for pushing through the sickness, even though you could have stayed home and asked for someone to take notes instead.
3. Your gut feeling is always right, so be sure to correct professors within the first two classes of the semester. They don’t call it beginner’s luck for nothing, and professors are always running scared from the students who correct them in class. The best way to get on anyone’s good side is to correct them in front of others, and professors are no different. Always stick to your guns, too, when you feel the professor is questioning your logic. They prefer you be dead wrong and convinced you are right than for you to question your pre-formed conclusions about a given topic.
Advice for new professors:
1. Never record your classes, and never post slides before class. It weakens the minds of our students and the resolve of our allies. As a professor, it is your job to keep the flame of knowledge alive, and what better way to do that than to only provide a single avenue by which students may learn your material, even though you have every opportunity to provide more? You are a professor, tending to the hearth of learning like the Vestal Virgins of old. However much your students may want you to post those slides in a timely manner, you know that forcing them to guess where you are going with a particularly juicy anecdote in the lecture will keep them lean and fit. This, of course, is the true lesson of your class.
2. Only assign the most expensive books, and double the price if you wrote it yourself. Like the biblical parable of the talents, you are showing students that in order to make money you gotta spend it. What better investment for them to make than to rent your $200 textbook? Knowledge is never free, and they will be glad—nay, honored—to put down that money to receive the type of knowledge that only a member of The Academy could find useful.
3. Put your middle initial in your name every time you write it. As I stated above, law school is all about intimidation, and you need to look smart even before the students set foot in your class. What better way to prove this than to put an extra letter in your name? You are showing them that you are more than just a first and last name. You are also a middle initial and a period. When they see that middle initial, they will think of parchment paper, tortoiseshell glasses, and celibacy—all the great things associated with The Academy.
I know that, although this is great advice, many of you will still have questions about law school. I believe that it is important that I answer every single one. So please write in, dear reader, and I will do my best to guide you through your first year here.
 Working title: 1 L of a Ride