Jasmine Lee ‘20
On behalf of the Student Bar Association, I want to welcome the new 1L and LLM classes to UVA Law! We are so excited to get to know you and see all the great things you will do this year. This is a very special law school and hopefully you’ve already started to see that in your two and a half weeks here. The first few weeks of a new school year are always a little hectic. There’s orientation, meeting people, and finding your class. I’m sure it seemed like just when you figured things out there was then an influx of more people into the building as the 2L and 3Ls returned to start classes last week. We all remember being in your shoes not too long ago.
My suggestion is to take time to take stock of yourself. Check in with yourself and make sure you’re doing okay. Not just academically, though doing the readings and going to class are important. I recommend finding an activity outside of school, because balance is an important aspect to your success here. For example, if you like going on runs, do that. Charlottesville has a lot of great trails and views to explore after all. If you like playing music, perhaps go over to Main Grounds where we have a music library where you can “check out” a practice room and play for a while. Enjoy time with your section mates, but also call your mom every once in a while and fill her in on how it’s all going. Or your dad. Or your best friend from college who has no idea what a cold call is but is happy to support you. Remember you’ve got a support system both in and out of this building that is rooting for you.
Last week we kicked off the school year with the Activities Fair. We have quite a few clubs on Grounds! It may have seemed overwhelming if you had more than a few that interested you on top of your readings and briefing, but I recommend getting involved. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and remember it’s okay to just be a member of a group and not in a leadership role right away, but get involved with things that pique your interest. It’s a great way to meet new people who can become both friends and mentors down the road. I can almost guarantee there is a club for everyone here. If there’s an organization you missed that you want to learn more about, it’s not too late to reach out to its board and get more information. (MICHAEL INSERT FOOTNOTE HERE!!!!!!!! “See here: https://www.law.virginia.edu/students/student-organizations"
Throughout the year we have a number of events and traditions that you will hopefully take part in. Nothing is mandatory, but these are great ways to have fun and make lasting memories with new friends here. Soon, we’ll have events like our annual tailgate, Dandelion, and PILA. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what these are yet, you’ll get plenty of information about these and more from Peer Advisors, SBA, and other upperclassmen.
A personal favorite event of mine is a newer tradition called Fauxfield. It is the brainchild of members of SBA that started last year as a way to have a fall event for the entire school even though Foxfield was scheduled for our Fall Break, making it impossible for the Law School to participate last year. Instead, we had a day of music and fun all our own. I love talking about this event because it’s a great example of the passion and commitment of students at this school to bring the community together. It is a testament that we are still making and creating traditions here. We are looking forward to continuing that tradition this year in addition to Foxfield. We both love our traditions and are excited about the concept of creating something totally new. It’s hard to know exactly how a year will turn out and what new events will be added to the calendar, but SBA is always excited to try something new and listen to what the student body is interested in.
I would also suggest during 1L to take the time, when you can, to explore Charlottesville. Find out why alums are always eager to come back and why upperclassmen say they love this town. Find a favorite coffee shop, perfect your Bodo’s order, and really take the time to invest in this town.
Your three years here are going to fly by. It may not always seem like it, but I promise you they will. Before you know it, you’ll be headed home for Winter Break, your head full of law jokes that no one in your hometown will find as funny as the section GroupMe, and you’ll wonder where the time went. Enjoy it, celebrate the small wins (survived your first cold call, made it to a base in softball, etc.), and remember you deserve to be here. Don’t get caught up in what others are doing or how you perceive they are doing. Staying in your lane and focusing on yourself is a key part to success.
Please know that whether we are your PA, club leader, or someone from the same undergrad as you, the 2Ls and 3Ls are excited you are here and happy to help you as you adjust to law school. In the next week, I will be sending an email out with my office hours. Please do not hesitate to stop by and chat!