On the Nature of Grief

“The most meaningful thing someone said to me after my father’s death was the following: ‘be kind to yourself. This phrase, although simple, is truly powerful. You may be angry, depressed, tired, happy, manic, etc. This is all okay. Allow yourself to feel. Do not be hard on yourself…There is no timeline for loss.’”

I received that email early the morning after I had learned that my father had passed away in the fall of my 1L year. It was from a 3L who I barely knew. And yet rereading the email today, I realize that not only was he right about the whirlwind of emotions that comes after loss, but how badly I needed to receive the message when I did. 

It is one of those things that is never talked about, and yet when I brought it up to friends, even professors who I barely knew at the law school, I always received that reassuring, comforting nod: I’ve been there too, and I know what you’re going through. 

That is why I wanted to write about my experiences coping with grief. Death is one of those things that unites us all. Losing a loved one, whether unexpected or not, hurts. And yet, until the pandemic, for many it was rarely talked about, especially for people my age who had yet to lose someone close in this early stage of life. 

During the past two years, I have experienced both forms of death: unexpected and expected. Nonetheless, it has taken me all of this time to write about my experiences. I originally wanted to write about coping with grief during the height of the pandemic—a time in which many people have been suffering. If there can be a silver lining to the past year and a half, it has been how discussions about grief have been brought to the forefront of our personal lives as we have comforted each other in our time of need. Sadly, I was not able to get myself to put pen to paper until now, ongoing proof that my grief persists. (To this point, my family still mourns on the same day every month.) In fact, because none of my losses were Covid related, I think my story shows the necessity of facilitating this discussion outside the time of a global pandemic. For those who needed this message earlier, I apologize. 

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BC Law Class of ’21 Celebrates 3L Week!

Four days from graduation, I think it’s safe to say that the 3L class has really been through it this year. Somehow we’ve persevered through crashed and lagging zoom meetings, sneezing into our own faces under masks in socially distanced classrooms, and not one, not two, but three rounds of remote exams taken in all corners of the globe.

So this week, we celebrate. Because we have freaking earned it! The 3L Week Committee–comprised of LSA President Kayla Snyder and Vice President Morgan Lam, 3L Reps Julianna Hernandez and Rachel Taylor, and me (Chair of the 3L Week/Gift Committee)–wanted to seize the opportunity for the first time in a long time to actually be together. We wanted to give our class the party it deserves! It was tough to plan, adjust, and re-plan and re-adjust around COVID guidelines, but the Committee put together a fantastic schedule.

Kicking it off last Friday night, we celebrated with the first bar review in a hot minute at BC After Dark at the Hillside Café, where graduating students enjoyed lots of drinks and delicious food at their very own outdoor on campus bar!

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Welcome Back, BC Law!

January 27, 2021 will always hold a special place in my heart. It marks my last first day of school ever! (Well, that’s the plan at least.)

We again find ourselves in hybrid mode, where larger classes are online and most smaller classes are in-person, with social distancing measures in place. We also are starting much later because of the school’s decision to cancel spring break. Needless to say, we have another unconventional semester ahead.

But as we kick off this semester, I wanted to reflect on some of the small things that I took for granted in pre-pandemic times that I hope return to BC Law as soon as possible:

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Graduate Celebration Week Kicks Off

This Friday, May 22, BC Law 3Ls and LLM students were supposed to gather in Conte Forum and receive their degrees on stage in front of faculty, family and friends. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into those plans, of course, as it did for many other graduates across the world. But BC Law has stepped up to offer some virtual hugs and high fives.

The Law Student Association, with support from the BC Law administration, has put together a celebration that runs all week on the Class of 2020 Facebook group page. The celebration kicked off this morning with a video from the faculty:

LSA events this week include a Facebook Watch Party screening of Legally Blonde, a virtual Trivia Night, a favorite memory photo contest and messages and live video appearances from the LSA president, members of the faculty, staff and Dean Rougeau. Grads, faculty and staff can all join the group and participate.

While they may not be able to get together in person, they can still celebrate the graduates’ accomplishments with the people who helped them along the way. For those who are able to make it back, a physical ceremony is also being planned for sometime in October.


Courtney Ruggeri is a rising 3L at BC Law. She loves to hear from readers: email her at ruggeric@bc.edu.

If It Takes Three Years To Get There: Preparing For The Bar

This is part of an ongoing series on preparing for the bar. Read others here and here.

The bar exam is coming. Us 3Ls will soon be propelled out of the lethargy that has come to characterize our final year at school by a terrifying variant of the Sunday-scaries. To help assuage any looming anxiety, we’ve gathered some details about the Massachusetts bar exam. To be clear, the following only applies to the Mass bar. After all, this is the only state where it’s acceptable to drink iced coffee when it’s below freezing outside; why would you want to be barred anywhere else.

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The Best Class I’ve Taken in Law School

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Coming into law school, I had no intention of ever stepping into a court room. I thought I wanted to do education policy work for a non-profit or government agency, hanging out behind a desk, engaging with complex issues at the highest levels, and generally avoiding an adversarial setting at all costs. But then I actually came to law school and what I thought I wanted shifted dramatically — which, spoiler alert, happens a lot!

My 2L year, my dear friend and current Law Student Association Vice President Andrea Clavijo lovingly coerced me into participating in the intra-school Moot Court competition. More on that later (and you can read about it on the BC Law web site here), but the tl;dr version is that Moot Court is basically fake appellate advocacy. Instead of making an argument to a jury, Law & Order style, you and a partner argue in front of a (fake) Supreme Court, focusing on the legal issues and advocating for what the law should be.

The experience was absolutely terrifying, and I. Absolutely. Loved It. Which is what brings me to the actual topic of the post: the best class I’ve taken in law school.

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It’s Raining Mens Rea! Week 1: The BC Law Softball League Returns

Being a lawyer is my second dream job. My first was succeeding Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and Manny Ramirez in the long line of legendary Red Sox left fielders.

I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never stand in the shadow of the Green Monster while raking in millions of dollars. But the BC Law Softball League helps me work towards my current dream job while coming as close as I possibly can to experiencing the original.

In this post, I’ll provide some background info about the way the league is organized and run. Then I’ll explain my team’s quest for redemption after a heartbreaking finish last year. Finally, I’ll include the results of this weekend’s games along with the standings, which I will try my best to update weekly until a new softball champion is crowned. Continue reading

Why You Should Enter the Writing Competition and Join a Journal at BC Law

Editor’s Note: Ben Kelsey is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review.  Despite other commitments such as finishing 2L year and taking control of the ICLR, Ben was kind enough to author a post about the academic journals at BC Law, and the benefits that stem from the writing responsibilities assigned to their 2L members. We are very pleased to present the second in our series of letters about the rewards of working on a journal, and how interested students can get involved.

Dear 1Ls,

Allow me to be the 101st person to tell you that, despite the fact that you may be completely burned out after finishing your last final, you should enter the writing competition. You probably already know that journal participation looks great on a résumé and will help you develop skills that are important as both a law student and a lawyer. It also gives you the opportunity to get your work published. These benefits are fairly obvious. Instead of elaborating on them, I want to talk to you about what else you can get from journal participation.

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