Who knew that three days could be such a whirlwind!
Orientation is an extremely exciting time when the reality of starting law school truly sets in! This excitement for me was accompanied by a fair bit of anxiety and apprehension. These three days were essentially the first impression I would give to my professors, faculty and the entire cohort, so I wanted to be totally sure that I was giving the impression I actually wanted present.
Upon review, I found three things really helped me make orientation a total win…
Being prepared, being open, and being my best self
( Yes, I know that part sounds totally cliche but it worked!)
The key to beating the nerves of meeting all of these new and influential people, and stomaching the fact that you will, in fact, be a law student takes an element of preparation. So when getting ready for orientation try answering these questions during the week before:
What is the suggested dress code?
Normally the dress code will be listed somewhere on the schedule or in an email. See Orientation: What Do I Wear & What’s in My Bag ? for some more specific clothing and packing info!
Where will I park?
Most universities will have an online parking map with restrictions, times and parking fees. Plus the last thing you want is the added stress of the parking hunt on the day of orientation… just imagine being the one that walks in awkwardly late during the first professor’s monologue!!!
Will the provided food clash with my dietary restrictions (AKA… Should I bring snacks)
I have celiacs and I easily get HANGRY (not a good combo for meeting friends!) so I always stash some GF granola bars or trail mix in my bag.
Bonus Life Tip: you’ll never regret having healthy and filling snacks, and it’s a great way to make friends!
Orientation will present you will a TON of new people and new ideas. The thing to remember is: all of these new people (despite looks or off putting personalities) worked just as hard if not harder than you to earn a place in Law School. You are now a big fish surrounded by other big fish… but it can easily be a sea of learning and fun!!
Ask people about themselves before talking about yourself!
Everyone is nervous (no matter the front they put up) so be the person that makes everyone around you feel special and welcome by truly asking about your classmate’s and professor’s lives…this may even help you find some really great friends!
Actually, listen to the lectures and seminars!
Yes, I know that by the end of day one you’ve basically been listening to people talk all day, been mostly stuck indoors and are just so primed to take a long and well-deserved nap… RESIST! Most law schools will fill your days with lectures on diversity and inclusion that may offer you insight into club opportunities, which professor’s brain you want to pick first or even tidbits about your cohort! There is always something to learn even when the exhaustion is setting in!
Sign up for everything!
Sign up for every club, organization, volunteer opportunity, committee etc. that perks your interest at all! Every truly active organization will have meetings, lunches, tabling during the first few weeks that will let you get to know them better, but if you don’t sign up for the email list you never get that opportunity! Forced socialization is still socialization and you can be proud of yourself for getting out there! Bonus Life Tip: you are a poor law student now…organizations will have some sort of free food especially during the first few weeks!
Being Your Best Self:
Being yourself is required if you plan on making true friends to last you throughout law school (and beyond) but being “Your Best Self,”, is how you give yourself the best platform for stellar first impressions!
Dress like an adult!
You are about to walk into an auditorium full of bright charismatic future lawyers, respect the situation by wearing clothes fit for the occasion. You can still be extremely stylish but for goodness sakes put the crop top away and please please learn to use an iron….its the simple things that can make you look like the full of potential adult you truly are!
Do your hair and makeup!
Continue the polished standard you’ve set with an ironed shirt by spending five extra minutes to tame the fly aways or do your makeup ( if that is part of your preferred routine). Again, it is the little details go a long way in swaying other’s subconscious standards and opinions of your first interactions!
Stay true to yourself!
remember that you too earned a place in law school and you too are full of exciting stories, inspiring dreams and much much more. Do not forget your values or fudge your life experiences out of insecurity. Law school is this amazing opportunity for educated, articulate and diverse people to come together, share debate and probably disagree in a civil and educational way! To me, this is the most beautiful part of our law school adventure!
I hope these simple tips help you on your way to orientation, as always feel free to shoot me an email if this sparked any questions!