Taylor Elicegui ‘20
M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20
UVA Law’s Class of 2020 members celebrated their 3LOL lifestyles this past Thursday by attending the annual 3L Bonfire. The event, put on by the Student Bar Association (mainly 3L Graduation Committee heads Rachel Staub and Tim Sensenig), was well attended and enjoyed by many. And while what happens at the 3L Bonfire, stays at the 3L Bonfire, the Law Weekly is here to provide an exclusive look into an exclusive party.
Transportation to the event went in waves, with one group of buses leaving at 6:30 and the second leaving around 7:35. The bus ride was a throwback to college date party/formal days, which was a good dose of nostalgia to start off the night and put 3Ls in the mood to party. I particularly enjoyed hearing so many conversations swirling around me, as my classmates caught up and joked with each other.
As a late-bus baller, my bus-mates and I rolled onto the scene after the sun had gone down and the path to the event was unclear. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of a hill and wished us good luck as we wandered up a path, only to find that we had to cross through some woods to actually get to the fire, booze, and s’mores. The more timid amongst us (AKA me) were terrified of ticks, but I am pleased to report that almost all of us made it through unscathed. For those 3Ls you don’t see in class the rest of the semester, you can blame it on the lyme disease they may or may not have contracted on this treacherous hike through the brush.
The first and most important part of the event was the food. Classic southern comfort food was on the menu, with fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, slaw, and more. As a late arrival, I assumed the food would be cold, but I was pleasantly surprised to still find everything a nice lukewarm temperature. I am a Wayside devotee and thus was quite pleased with the selection. There was more than enough food for everyone and I can confirm that at least one member of the Class of 2020 consumed at least six pieces of fried chicken. The booze was second on the list of top priorities, which I found to be a bit of a letdown. The Bold Rock was foamy (and no, I don’t think it was just because I don’t know how to pour beer from a keg), but supposedly the Bud Light was a good alternative for those fancier than I. For those of us without standards, the drink options were just fine. I always appreciate an event with a cider keg, because who doesn’t love alcoholic apple juice? I was also excited to snag another Class of 2020 cup, which I actually read this time. The slogan is a bit depressing—“My sun sets to rise again.” Considering that we’re all about to join a career known for a not so great quality of life, maybe it’s fitting? Nothing like a bit of impending doom to go with an otherwise lovely evening. The food cancelled out the alcohol and existential dread, making the consumption situation a net neutral.
The s’mores were a big hit, at least for the folks who could handle standing close to the blazing fire to get a good marshmallow roast. I had to summon all of my courage to get good coal access. At several points, I contemplated just lighting my marshmallow on fire to get it over with, but I toughed it out and was rewarded with a delicious s’more. As a redhead, I didn’t mind the heat of the flames, and I got close enough for a nice golden brown ’mallow to enjoy with some grahams and Hershey’s chocolate. After a successful roast, I checked my face to make sure my eyebrows were still intact and enjoyed the delicacy I had just created. My biggest complaint of the evening was very much my own fault—I really should have gone for the second s’more.
As I looked around the bonfire site, I loved seeing so many classmates and friends reconnecting with sectionmates, laughing about old times, and enjoying each other’s company as this crazy thing called law school starts to come to an end. The darkness made it a little difficult to actually see who people were, which limited my socialization to a degree, because I couldn’t see well enough to know who to say hi to. I just took to wandering around in the dark and striking up conversations with whomever I stumbled across. Griffin Peebles ’20 put everyone’s feelings best in his message to the Class of 2020 Groupme after the bonfire, saying: “I love you all. So glad to spend the last 2 and a half years with y’all. I’m so proud of each and every one of y’all. P.S. come to Bilt.” So, while the bonfire was a great event as the Class of 2020 starts to wrap up law school, we also have a lot more fun to have and things to do, so don’t count us out yet.