My name is John Ferraro, and I’m a current 3L and LSA Co-President. In what is admittedly an attempt to put out of my mind the looming fear of imminent Barbri bar prep, I hope I can ask all of you to indulge me in a short adventure in the past.
Before law school, I was a digital programmatic media buyer (for those of you wondering what that means, we are the people that push on you, for the rest of your life, the online ads for that toaster you looked at once on Amazon).
Going from advertising to law school was a bit of a drastic change. But the idea to go to law school had been nagging at the back of my mind since my senior year of undergrad. Even during my time in advertising, law was front and center. IP concerns over trademarks, fonts, and brand colors. As someone mainly supporting the marketing efforts of a large financial institution, crash courses on Fair Lending and FDIC disclosures. And most of all, the one four-letter word for which digital advertisers and lawyers share horror: GDPR. So while I made a significant jump, it was a jump motivated by signs I couldn’t ignore any longer.
I will concede that, for me (as I suspect it is for many), the law school application process felt like shots in the dark. I had some ideas of possible interests, cities I thought might be fun to live in, how I might approach the LSAT and a personal statement. But when working to fit a good picture of yourself into a neat sheath of 8.5×11 papers, uncertainty is an inherent part of the process. In terms of picking a school to attend, I admit that I similarly felt I was on shaky ground. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the choice of picking a law school was one of–if not the–most important choices of my life.
The Friday before the start of classes, the school held a social event for new students at The Horse, a local pub. I was extremely nervous, to the point that I was sweating profusely. I went to the bathroom to cool myself down, and noticed a girl I thought I recognized doing the same thing. It was Meg Keown, the other transfer student who had come to BC Law with me. I had looked her up on social media the moment we were put on an email thread together.
From the moment we met in person in that bathroom of The Horse, Meg and I became instant best friends. We always joke that we’re so lucky we liked each other, because if not, we wouldn’t have someone to experience all these firsts with. It was nice to have someone in the same boat as me, who understood the particular anxiety and excitement that came with being a new student transferring from another law school.
Basic economic theory will tell you, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” But, law school is rife with opportunities for a free lunch. So, who should you believe?
Well, incoming students should go ahead and throw those economics degrees straight into the trash where they belong, because attending BC Law is a three-year barrage of free lunch after free lunch. The Alpha is Panera Bread at 1L summer orientation, the Omega is Nina Farber bribing reluctant 3Ls to learn about bar exam preparation with pizza, and there are countless free food opportunities in between: club meetings, career services trainings, seminars, guest-speaker panels, and so on.
Rather than, say, prepare for my upcoming finals, I have instead surveyed a collection of 3Ls on their favorite free-food experiences – and transmitted their responses into digital format so that the data may outlive us all, somewhere in the cloud. I asked “what was your favorite free-food experience from a BC Law event?” and they answered:
Today we’re hosting a guest blog from Talia Weseley, the incoming Law Student Association President.
BC Law was a very different place when I started as a 1L. While I felt very lucky to have some degree of in-person classes, it was impossible to not feel isolated and overwhelmed in the height of Covid. I was excited to start law school and begin this chapter of my life, but I also genuinely had no idea how I would fare trying to make friends and navigate this new environment.
I figured the best place to start would be to try and make friends over GroupMe. I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed as I sat in my Zoom Civil Procedure class, and decided to post in my section GroupMe to ask if anyone wanted to form a study group. Looking back, I’m honestly not sure what I thought would come out of my shout into the void. Much to my surprise, nearly the entire section replied that they too felt overwhelmed and were also in search of the same community. In many ways, this moment was the first time I truly felt like I could find the support system and network I so craved at BC Law.
If you’re reading this article, I am assuming you have been accepted into law school. In that case, congratulations! You will never have to deal with the LSAT again. Now, you just have to decide where you want to go. Here are some tips that helped me.
If you’re waitlisted somewhere, decide what school you want to attend in the meantime with the mindset that you will not get off a waitlist. You want to pick a school that you can envision yourself at for the next three years. While that might seem hypocritical because I transferred, transferring is not always a guarantee because just like the preliminary law school admissions process, it is unpredictable with a variety of factors that are out of your control. I was very lucky that it worked out for me. You also do not want to have a negative attitude towards your law school–while you do not have to be head over heels in love with your school, you should not feel any regret or dread of attending.
Reach out to the admissions office of your law school and ask them to connect you with a law student(s) that graduated from your undergraduate institution. This helps you get an idea of how the transition will be, especially if you are attending a different university than you did for undergrad. I did this at my previous law school, and I gained not only helpful insights and advice, but also mentors and friends.
Talk to more than one student about their experience. Law schools are not one size fits all and everyone’s experience is different. You might talk to someone who will write love letters to their school on Valentine’s Day (which, if you have read my previous post, I am guilty of). However, talk to students who have different experiences to try to get a more well rounded perspective.
Visit the town/city where the school is located, if possible. You’re not only committing to a law school for three years, you’re also committing to the city, its weather, etc. You have to not only be happy with the school itself, but with your living environment. This may come as a shock, but there is life outside of law school.
Visit the school. With COVID restrictions getting lifted all over, most schools are giving in-person tours again. Seeing the school in-person, especially while school is in session, makes all the difference than looking at pictures online. BC Law is welcoming in-person visitors and giving tours. I might even be your tour guide if you come.
No matter what your admissions outcome is, just know that by getting accepted to a law school, you already accomplished the hard part. Once school starts, you have to just believe in yourself and your future success and that you’re where you are for a reason. It will all work out.
Melissa Gaglia is a second-year student at BC Law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BC Law lost one of its giants a few weeks ago as Professor Catharine Wells passed away over spring break. She was a graceful, thoughtful, and yet commanding presence at the Law School. While there was a lovely tribute piece to her from BC Law Magazine, which included many quotes and stories from her former colleagues, there has not been a tribute from those she impacted most over her decades-long career: her students. I wanted to include some quotes and stories from students, present and past, who could properly convey what type of a person, leader, educator–and most of all human being–Professor Wells was, and what she meant to them.
The idea came to me as I walked by her old office in the East Wing the other day. I noticed a small bouquet sitting outside of her door. It wasn’t an over-the-top assortment of flowers, but it still caught my attention because of how much it reminded me of Professor Wells. It stood there in a kind of dignified, not in-your-face type of way. Its grace reminded me of a particular scene from my 1L year that I still remember fondly, and now with some sadness, of course.
Returning to school after Spring Break is always an adjustment. You’ve relaxed, you’ve slept in, and, if you’re luckier than me, you’ve traveled to a tropical destination. Getting up for your 9 am lectures and spending late nights briefing cases can feel harder than ever, especially as the weather is starting to get warmer. I don’t know about you, but I thought it was much easier to hunker down and read when it was freezing cold and dark at 4 pm.
And yet, just as these factors are combining to make motivation for school drop to its lowest, we’re also approaching the home stretch of the semester when it’s the most crucial to keep motivation up.
If you need inspiration to keep going through these last weeks until summer, here are some tips.
My most embarrassing moment of 1L year wasn’t messing up an answer to a cold call or falling down the stairs while giving a tour to thirty students, although both of those things did happen. My most embarrassing moment came on January 23, 2020 – my first intramural basketball game for the BC Law team. Having played basketball my entire life and having coached for two years before starting at BC Law, I was so excited to meet a group of 1Ls similarly passionate about the game. And with high energy and even higher expectations, we promptly lost that first game by a score of 50-11. Yeah – we lost by 40. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be our only loss in our first season, as we lost every single subsequent game by similar margins. And while I hated to lose, I loved getting to know my classmates outside of Torts and Contracts.
We didn’t realize it at the time, but that season would be the last set of games for the BC Law hoops team for nearly two years. But don’t worry, because our basketball team is back and better than ever! And this year, things are different. This year, we won’t lose every game by forty points. This year, the BC Law Basketball Team is going to win a championship.
One of the first things my current roommate told me about social life at BC Law was the ski trip he went on as a 1L back in Winter 2020. Throughout my search for law schools, I had heard plenty of stories of BC’s bar reviews and the other opportunities he had to meet people and forge initial friendships. But in talking with both my roommate and his friends (now 3Ls), one theme almost unanimously emerged: “I didn’t really know my friends until we went on ski trip.”
And it wasn’t just as a 0L that I heard this sentiment. This year, one our way home from Killington, I asked a 3L friend how Ski Trip 2022 compared to its 2020 edition. Her response, in a nutshell, was that the two trips were “different, but in a good way.” The first time around was an experience that truly molded the friendships that would characterize her remaining two years at BC; the second, meanwhile, was a culmination of those friendships and a chance to let loose after having so many social opportunities of the preceding two years marred by COVID-19.