Dear BC Law Community,
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has created a widespread public health crisis, larger than what most of us have seen before in our lifetimes. This is not, however, the first-time members of our community have faced an unprecedented life circumstance. Your classmates deal with issues such as food insecurity, homelessness, chronic physical and mental illness, family tragedies, and much more, on a daily basis. When members of our community face these issues, absent a pandemic, we tell them to suck it up. We tell them the curve is what it is and they just need to find a way to solider through, or we contritely tell them “hey, B’s are still passing,” when we all know full well that in a tight job market, the arbitrary difference between a B and a B+ can be the difference between employment and unemployment. An overly competitive curve is all well and good when it only effects the have-nots, but when it starts to affect the “haves” as well, then we start paying attention.
I’ll be honest. When I first read the email about the pass/fail policy this semester, I was upset. I have been working really hard this semester to boost my GPA, and I was looking forward to the chance to improve my performance during finals. I’ve been pretty anxious about this whole COVID-19 situation, and I felt like this was not the news I wanted to hear.
And then I took a deep breath and counted my blessings. After putting everything into perspective, I realized how much this pass/fail policy might mean to someone who is facing more difficulties than me right now. Throughout my time at law school, I have gotten involved in various diversity initiatives because I’m a woman of color and I know this puts me at a systemic disadvantage. I fight for these causes because they personally affect me. If I am so quick to stand up for causes that personally affect me, I should also be as committed to standing up even when my own interests might not be at stake.
In a recent article by the National Jurist titled “Hate Law School? You’re Not Alone,” a law school graduate delved into tips to avoid the abhorrence many feel for their programs. Citing the grading system, the unequal level of opportunity, and law students themselves, the author argued that few people actually like law school. She offered up some tips to help students who are feeling discouraged, even recommending that if all else fails and if they really hate it that much, students should drop out and save their money.
Reading this article, I couldn’t help but think of another solution—come to BC Law instead.
I think we can all relate to the feeling you get when you walk out of a final thinking you nailed it, only to find out a few weeks later that your grade was not nearly what you expected. When this happens as a 1L, however, I think the stress is even worse. All you have heard about for the months leading up to finals is that only your first-year grades matter and if you fall outside of a firm’s cutoff, you have a very big uphill battle ahead of you.
Well, even if this happened to you, your fellow 2Ls and 3Ls are here to tell you that you don’t need to beat yourself up, it will all work out, and it’s now time to move on with your second semester. Below are their words of wisdom:
Not everyone has the same journey to law school. In this week’s blog post, hear from LLM student Veronica Mulino about her family’s journey to Boston, and the various hurdles they faced after making the decision to come to the US for school.
My journey in Boston College began in Fall 2018. I was in Boston visiting for the holidays with my family. The last day of our trip, we decided to visit the BC Campus to gather some information on the LLM program for me and my husband.
We arrived at the Law School without any notice or a scheduled appointment, but we were welcomed with open arms by the Office of International Programs. We did a tour of the Law School and then discussed the program details and application. After a day of visiting, BC Law felt just like home. But I knew the process of applying to the program and actually attending was going to present difficulties for us, and at the time it seemed almost impossible. And yet, without knowing what the future was going to hold, my husband and I sent in our applications and were admitted. We were excited, but also worried: making the decision to move to another country together with a one-year old daughter seemed like a major challenge, with many obstacles to overcome.
“Wow, this is it,” I thought to myself as I stepped into the Law School for the first time since winter break. “My last semester as a student.” It’s true: I’m nearing the end of peaceful early morning library sessions, cold call induced anxiety, nights out with ambitious peers, and possibly the end of my time in Boston.
I’m looking forward to a new chapter of personal growth as a “real” adult, but before I move on I want to make the most of my remaining moments at BC Law. With this in mind, I put together a bucket list for my race to the finish line.
“Who should we talk to?” I whispered to my fellow networking newbie, scanning the reception room.
“I don’t know,” she whispered back. “I feel awkward.”
Thinking back to that night last September at the 1L Boot Camp Kickoff hosted by WilmerHale, I realize that I’ve come a long way in just a few months. I, like many of my peers, didn’t think I was the “networking type of person.” What did I—straight out of college with no legal experience or background—possibly have to talk about with big-deal attorneys who’ve been in the legal profession for longer than I’ve been alive?
Recognizing that I’m still far from an expert at this game, here are some things I’ve learned. Lesson one: with practice, networking does get easier.
Lesson two: the payoff can be enormous.
Winter break is a blur in law school. Finals followed immediately by the holidays, and before you know it, you’re back at the bookstore buying books for the spring semester.
Especially during that first year – when your life virtually revolves around school – there is so little “me time” left to recharge and reflect on personal/professional goals for the New Year.
My resolution for 2020 is passing the bar exam on my first try. I am going to pretend that spotting a family of black swans brings good luck (because I need lots of it).
“Getting better grades” may be an obvious goal for 1L spring, but you only have so much control over that curve!
What would be some other solid “law school resolutions” for 2020? Here are a few personal goals my peers are focusing on this semester:
One of the things I was most looking forward to as a 2L was being able to select my own classes. Unlike my undergraduate experience where it felt like the list of required courses was never-ending and took up most of my schedule, BC Law gives students a ton of flexibility when it comes to deciding their courses of study.
My strategy to picking classes falls into three categories: classes that will prepare me for the bar, classes that I think will be helpful in practice, and classes that I simply find interesting. Last semester I tended to focus on bar classes (including Evidence and Corporations), but my spring course load is filled with classes that I thought sounded interesting.
Below I provide a brief overview of my spring semester, including why I chose to take the classes I did:
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.