First-Year Reflection

By Chelsea Kauffman, Class of 2015

930828022During the last class of my first semester, one of my professors explained why he enjoyed teaching first year students so much. He said “there are two times in life when you learn the most at an incredibly fast rate: when you are a toddler learning to walk and talk and when you are in your first semester of law school.”  Looking back, this statement is definitely true for my first-semester and I am so lucky to have spent that period of exponential learning growth at William & Mary Law School.

When I was choosing which law school to attend, I found it hard to figure out what characteristics I was looking for to qualify as a “good fit” for me. I felt the same way when I was choosing a college, but ended up loving my college experience, so I looked for some aspects in law school that I enjoyed the most in college. I attended Franklin and Marshall College, a small liberal arts college in Lancaster, PA. I realized that the tight knit community feeling at my college made me feel at home, which made learning and working hard an easier, more enjoyable experience.

BLSA thanksgiving basket competition with legal practice firm

BLSA thanksgiving basket competition with legal practice firm

William & Mary Law School stood out to me during Admitted Students Weekend, when I got to see my first glimpse of the community of William & Mary. During the Friday evening reception, current students, professors and administrators went out of their way to make the admitted students feel welcome and included. I could sense the tight knit feeling, and I wanted to be a part of it. Even after only being here a week in August, I already felt like an included member of the community. As a 1L, I was nervous at first around the 2Ls and 3Ls just because they were so knowledgeable, and seemed like they were talking another language when they said things like SBA, ADR, and PSF.  But through Law Week and the first week of classes, the students, professors and administrators were all so kind and helpful as we adjusted to our new environment.

Now that my first semester has concluded, I feel that I can finally speak the “language” of law school. I truly feel as though I learned more information, terms, cases, learning techniques and culture norms in this first semester of law school than I did my entire 23 years before. I feel so privileged that I got to learn here at William & Mary Law School, where the tight knit community made the learning experience an enjoyable one.

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