What is it like to be a 1L at BC Law? First-year law student Maria Maier leads us through a day in the life.
7:00 AM: “Good Morning Sunshine” plays on your phone, welcoming you to the start of a new day. Resisting the urge to hit the snooze button, you hop out of bed. Here’s your first challenge this morning: can you brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack your bag, and get to the campus shuttle in less than 40 minutes? You’re a first-year law student at Boston College Law School, and you’re sure going to try.
7:40 AM: You reach the closest shuttle stop, only 3 minutes before the bus to Newton Campus arrives.
7:43 – 8:05 AM: The shuttle makes its way to Newton Campus. At each stop, students from your section get on. There are three sections in your 1L year, but only yours has class at 8:30 on this day. A friend sits down beside you, smiling in that sleepy-but-determined way that seems to characterize your section.
“Ready for Contracts?” He asks.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” you say.
8:05 – 8:30 AM: Mario Kart: Law School Edition. Everyone in your section is in a mad dash to get organized before Contracts starts. You hurry to your locker, drop off your other textbooks, and head toward the library to print out your case briefs for class. In the meantime, the BC freshmen whose dorms are on the other side of campus have sleepily stumbled into the building for breakfast. You race through the cafeteria, dodging the freshmen, to fight a boss battle against the Keurig machine in the students’ lounge. But there isn’t enough water in the Keurig to make your coffee, and you have to refill it. Better luck next time.
8:30 – 9:45 AM: Contracts. “Can someone explain the facts of Lamkins v. International Harvester Company?” Your professor asks, before adding that the court used the rule mentioned in the case to pretty much do whatever it wanted. One of your friends in the front row is furiously raising her hand. You wonder: if a 1L student hesitates to answer a question, but no one is paying enough attention to hear it, does the 1L make a sound?
Just then, the professor calls on you.
9:45 – 10 AM: Rematch against the Keurig machine.
10 – 11:15 AM: Civil Procedure. According to rule 12(b)(6) in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant can file a motion to dismiss a case for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Your professor leads the class through a hypothetical scenario where you have to use rule 12(b)(6) to decide whether a case will go to trial. You take notes, making plans to apply 12(b)(6) when your roommates accuse you of leaving your dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.
11:15 – 12 PM: Library time. You head to your usual table with a few friends and review your notes for property.
12 – 1 PM: The Space Law Society is holding their introductory meeting, and they’ll have pizza for lunch. You know nothing about Space Law, but you’re eager to learn. One of your friends hypothesizes that you’re only going for the free pizza and asks if you will ever get tired of it. You just laugh, because there’s no way you could ever get sick of pizza.
1 – 1:30 PM: Your section gathers in the Property classroom. You spend the next half-hour gushing to your neighbors about how awesome Space Law is, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with trespass lawsuits against aliens.
1:30 – 2:45 PM: Property. Today, your professor introduces the topic of adverse possession by showing a clip from Gran Torino where Clint Eastwood’s character yells, “Get off my lawn!” You learn that under certain conditions, trespassers can become the rightful owners of someone else’s land.
“What would you do if you found someone squatting in your house, and they said, “Come at me, bro; I’m on your land?” Asks your Professor.
The entire class is too busy laughing to answer the question.
2:45 – 5 PM: Back to the library. You work on a research assignment for Legal Writing with a classmate, cross-checking your sources for a memo that is due later in the semester. When you finally submit your assignment, you high-five each other, drawing confused looks from students working nearby.
5 – 5:20 PM: Catch the shuttle back home.
5:20 – 7:30 PM: You camp out in Starbucks with your contracts textbook until the baristas wonder if you’re ever going to leave.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Dinner! Luckily, pasta is easy to make. Besides, you’re craving carbs.
8:30 – 9:30 PM: You’re watching an episode of Maniac on Netflix when Jonah Hill’s character makes a property law joke. You’re both delighted that you understand the reference and horrified that you will never be able to escape your coursework.
9:30 – 10 PM: Get ready for bed. You close the textbook that’s still open on your desk, turn your lamp off, and will all thoughts of law school away. You will count sheep, not cases, to fall asleep. Right now, you’re tired, but you know that a good night’s rest will help. After all, as Harper Lee wrote in To Kill a Mockingbird, “Things are always better in the morning…”
Maria Maier is a first-year law student at BC Law. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.