Editor’s note: due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Boston College has moved all classes online and sent students home for the semester. The BC Law Impact blog has suspended its normal posting schedule, and bloggers are now focused on writing about the impact of the shutdown and the current state of the world on their academic and social experiences as law students. We are all in this together; let’s find our way through together.
The day after spring break, when the name “coronavirus” was barely on my radar, I received an email that my ballet classes were cancelled for the rest of the semester. “This is such an overreaction,” I thought, “hopefully I can get my money back.” I was disappointed because dance had been one creative outlet I’d relied on during tough academic semesters. I thought that as young and healthy dancers we could have easily worn masks or broken the class into smaller groups to limit the spread of germs. But I knew those in charge simply wanted to protect us from the spreading virus, so I comforted myself with “better safe than sorry.”
I heard “coronavirus” again the next day when my law school professors gently warned students that classes may be moved online if things get worse. “That seems extreme. Should that really be the first step?” I asked a classmate who then joked that we should have extended our spring vacation. Meanwhile the apocalyptic headlines rolled in: “Massachusetts Governor Declares State of Emergency,” “U.S. Cases of Coronavirus Surpass 1,000,” “Prepare for the Inevitable.” Facebook and Instagram posts from individuals pleading with people to “wash their hands” (people needed a reminder?!) and to “stay home if sick” (wise words) saturated my news feeds. But still, I was in denial of how serious the situation was. It had to mainly be media dramatization, right? BC would never cancel classes – certainly not for the whole semester.
A couple of days before the semester started I went to meet some classmates for brunch. Having spent the last few weeks in our respective hometowns, the meal was filled with stories from break and conversation about the new semester.
About halfway into the reunion, an awkward pause interrupted the discussion as a notification popped up on all of our phone screens—a message from one of our classmates that the first of our final grades were out.
A wave of nervousness fell over me, made of equal parts anticipation and dread. I had been waiting all break on these grades. But as I looked to the other people at the table, I did not sense the quite the same reaction. They almost looked…relaxed? I mentioned the notification, and they shrugged it off. One person even said that they were not checking their grades until the upcoming weekend, not wanting to focus on school too early before the start of the new semester. I struggled to comprehend the concept of waiting days for the grade while my peers carried on, seemingly unbothered by the anxiety I felt looming over me.
I checked my grade on the way home from brunch, but it was the reaction of my friends that I could not get out of my head, not the test score I had waited weeks to see. Why was I so astonished at their reaction?
First days of school: daycare and law school.
In February, my daughter will turn two, so I’m thinking about her annual test of strength. This is a tradition we began on her first birthday, when she walked the last fifty meters up Peter’s Hill. A mentor of mine once told me he never understood why parents would give their child a car on their 16th birthday. He said it made more sense to give them a mountain to climb. The little one had only been walking for two months last February, so we went with the top of a hill instead of a mountain. But now that she runs and skips and climbs and emphatically stomps in puddles, the mountain doesn’t feel far off.
People often ask me what it’s like to have a kid while in law school. One obvious answer is that it places limits on my time. I am often a bit more sleep-deprived than my classmates and because of daycare drop-offs and pick-ups it’s difficult to participate in extra-curriculars. The time crunch can distract from both home life and school work. When I am in dad mode, I sometimes think about the fact that my classmates are likely reading case law while I’m reading Moo, Baa, La La La! for the 100th time.
In honor of Thanksgiving, we offer our readers a few recommendations for that “home-cooked meal” feeling…
Everyone has a dish that reminds them of home.
Whether it’s that main course from your favorite local restaurant, the dessert that only your mom can make, or even the dish your state is known for, these dishes have a special place in our hearts—and in our stomachs. They serve as a bridge from our families and friends and our childhoods, to who we are now.
As we enter the chaos that is finals season, that connection has proven to be even more important to me. I found myself yearning for a moment of simplicity, a reminder of the “good ole days” back in Texas where my concerns had nothing to do with outlines or bluebooks. So I did some research and happened upon Blue Ribbon Barbeque in West Newton.
As any Texan will tell you, we take barbeque very seriously. I was originally skeptical of the glowing reviews—one promised Blue Ribbon’s barbeque was the best they had ever eaten, even compared to what you get in the South. However, as I approached the restaurant, a familiar scent began to permeate around me, one of smoky barbeque and sweet cornbread. Yum. I ordered some classic barbeque and sides and took the next hour to savor every bite. I was immediately transported back to my childhood, feeling thousands of miles away from West Newton.
Congratulations to our very own Vincent D. Rougeau, dean of Boston College Law since 2011, who is set to serve as President-elect of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) next year!
AALS is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that brings together nearly 200 law schools to advance legal education, support professional development, and promote diversity in the legal profession. The membership will officially vote on Dean Rougeau’s nomination (he is the only candidate) at their annual meeting in January 2020.
Dean Rougeau, an outspoken advocate for legal education reform, will succeed Harvard Law School Professor Vicki C. Jackson as the President of the nonprofit association. Before taking the helm at BC Law, he was a highly-regarded professor of contracts, real estate transactions, and Catholic social thought at Notre Dame Law School — where he also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
You can read more about Dean Rougeau’s nomination as President-elect of AALS on BC Law Magazine’s website.
Please excuse the title. It’s meant to be very tongue in cheek, but it summarizes what had been my approach to life for a very long time. When my mother died, everyone around me expected me to go into a state of extreme denial. After all, I was only a six-year-old little girl; how could I possibly understand the permanence of death, let alone be emotionally equipped to handle it? People thought they had to constantly explain it to me–every holiday, every birthday, well-meaning relatives and family friends would remind me why my mother wasn’t there. But I already knew. I knew why my mother wasn’t coming home from the moment my father picked me up from school and told me she had died in her sleep that morning.
I might have been a six-year-old little girl, but I was also the younger version of the left-brained, analytical future lawyer I am today. I might not have had the emotional maturity to cope with death, but I had the intellectual maturity to understand what it was. I knew I couldn’t press a reset button like I could on my Nintendo, nor could I pray to God or write to Santa to bring her back for Christmas. Gone was gone and I knew what that meant.
So why didn’t I cry?
“You can tell who the law students are because they’re all kind of old and really stressed out.” These were the words of a freshman to her friend, overheard by an old and stressed law student, while walking around Boston College’s Newton campus.
BC Law is located within the quiet Boston suburb of Newton. BC’s main campus is located a mile and a half away, in the Newton neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, which directly abuts Boston. The law school shares its home with dorms for about half of the Boston College undergraduate freshmen. For us law students, it can be invigorating and refreshing to be surrounded by such passionate youth. They, however, are unhappy about the arrangement. While all of BC Law’s classes are held on the Newton Campus, all of the undergrad classes, and administrative offices, and social engagements, and sporting events, and access to public transportation are located on main campus. The Newton freshmen are a shuttle bus away from all of these offerings. The other half of BC’s freshmen, in a luck of the draw, reside on main campus, in an area called “Upper.” When I was a freshman at BC, I had the great fortune of living on Upper. One of my friends, relegated to Newton, spent many nights sleeping in Upper’s student lounges, with stashes of toiletries and spare clothes scattered throughout our more fortunate friends’ rooms.
As an Asian-American, I admit that I often feel distanced from the recent events arising between the black community and the police. However, I’m becoming increasingly aware that these issues of race, policing, and discrimination should be a priority for me too. As a Christian, I’m called to seek justice, to be a peacemaker, to love my neighbor – and I know part of that calling is identifying with and advocating alongside my black friends and neighbors in these troubling times.
Although I don’t always know what my role looks like, attending last month’s panel on race and policing reminded me that it starts with compassion – to listen to and understand the stories of those who are hurting.
The summer before my 1L year, I drove to Boston for the housing fair. It was the middle of the summer and I had no idea where to live (or who to live with). After the housing fair, there was a bar review at Cityside. I met some of my future classmates and some rising 2Ls that were kind enough to attend.
Andrea Clavijo, the former LSA Vice President, was one of those 2Ls. She told me that she made a lot of friends during 1L year by playing softball. “You have to play,” she said. “It’s really fun and you’ll meet so many of your friends.”
I have been a swimmer my entire life. I usually get a chuckle when I tell people that I’m not so great at land sports. I had never lifted a softball bat in my life. I couldn’t even remember the last time that I had played backyard whiffle ball.
Law schools across the country, including Boston College Law School, recently released employment statistics for the class of 2015. These statistics represent reported employment outcomes of students ten months after graduation, in compliance with ABA requirements.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Overall employment increased from 90.1% from the Class of 2014 to 91.5% for the Class of 2015.
- Employment in full-time, long-term bar passage required/JD advantage jobs increased from 83.88% from the Class of 2014 to 85.4% for the Class of 2015.
- BC Law placed 41% of graduates from the Class of 2015 in federal clerkships or with large law firms (100+ attorneys).
This last figure is particularly notable, as it exceeds the percentage for similarly-ranked schools, including Boston University School of Law, Notre Dame Law School, Fordham University School of Law, and highly-regarded national schools such as Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, and USC Gould School of Law.
These employment statistics are a testament to BC Law’s career services department (including Heather Hayes and Leslie LeBlanc), as well as BC Law’s alumni network and faculty.
Pat Venter is a 3L at BC Law. For information on computation of these statistics feel free to contact email@example.com