1L of a Year: Reflections of a 1L

Nick Agyevi-Armah, 1L

Nick Agyevi-Armah, 1L

MAMA, I MADE IT! I cannot get over the fact that I—Nicholas Steven Agyevi-Armah—got into LAW SCHOOL! I’m really, really here!

Throughout the entire application process, I thought so much about what law school would mean to me, what I would do with a J.D., or whether a legal education would prove too difficult for me to handle. I doubted whether law schools would want someone like me at their institution: a hard worker, but not always fully confident of their work; someone who was highly involved but perhaps to the detriment of mental wellness; someone who aspired for greatness without a fully developed path. Initially, I thought I would have to hide all the “bad”, unique things about myself and create an image of pure excellence, the “perfect” law student (which doesn’t exist, by the way). But I soon realized my authenticity would serve as a bold, hand-raising gesture to law school admission offices – I was not to be overlooked.

Before applying to law school, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland in College Park. After three years of tough classes, demanding involvements, and amazing experiences, I decided to pursue my lifelong dream (6-year old Nick was so proud!) and apply to law school my senior year. I had excellent pre-law advisors who did a FANTASTIC job guiding me through the law school application process. I stumbled here and there (scrapped my diversity statement, drastically altered my personal statement, took the LSAT twice), but by January of my senior year, I had applied to 14 schools and received four acceptances!

William & Mary was one of the first law schools to accept my application. Attracted by the warm, welcoming, collegial, and collaborative community that places students as the central focus, I decided to keep William & Mary at the top of my list as I awaited other responses. As I received further admission decisions, I weighed options such as location, faculty, mental wellness resources, and price (the real kicker!). On February 8, 2018, I signed my statement of intent at William & Mary Law School, indicating I would join the Class of 2021!

During my first day of Law Week, the nerves were FLYING: Will I make friends? How will I find my way around campus? Am I prepared to tackle the academic workload? William & Mary did a great job ensuring we were prepared to jump into classes, but they also introduced us to all the resources necessary to be successful: career advising, library services, wellness strategies, PLENTY of academic resources, and student organizations.

I’ve always viewed spaces of higher education as hubs of growth and experience. I wanted to explore my interests, challenge my beliefs, and learn more about the world, people, and myself. So, I took the things I was passionate about and translated them into involvements at William & Mary: I was selected by my class to represent all 1Ls through the Student Bar Association; I aid in mental wellness efforts by serving as the secretary for Lawyers Helping Lawyers; I play an active role in my living community, serving as Vice President of the Community Council at the GradPlex; I hone my leadership skills in the William & Mary Law School Leadership Institute; I reaffirm salient aspects of my identity in my membership of William & Mary’s chapter of the Black Law Students Association and Equality Alliance; and I serve the overarching William & Mary and Williamsburg communities representing graduate students on the Commencement Policy Committee and as a member of the Williamsburg Baptist Church!

A LOT, I know! And I know that it will get more difficult as I continue through the remainder of law school. But again, there is no “perfect” law student. I personally believe that stepping outside of my comfort zone and putting myself in spaces that challenge me and inspire growth will make me a better lawyer. Getting involved has introduced me to amazing people that I may not have met otherwise, and has led me through experiences that have already proved themselves to be transformative.

All these involvements have allowed me to feel extremely ingrained in the William & Mary community, and it’s made tackling the difficulty of classes much easier. This semester, I’m enrolled in Criminal Law, Torts, Civil Procedure, Legal Research and Writing, and Lawyering Skills. I won’t lie – so far it’s been challenging. But I feel so much better knowing that I have people within this community who are going through the same thing and who are all about supporting one another. I’m finding the importance of being vulnerable, being honest, and being patient—both with the process and myself.

I can’t imagine getting my law degree anywhere other than William & Mary. I know that 1L year will be really hard. Doing well in my classes, balancing all my involvements, and striving to meet personal, academic, and career goals will truly be demanding, possibly even scary at times. But I know that I have the support of my friends, classmates, professors, and staff to push me as I get through this first year. I’m ready, excited, and I know I’m able. 1L year: Nick’s coming for ya!

 

Meet the Student Bloggers!

It’s that time again: students are back on campus, the academic year is officially in full swing, and you want to hear from our students! The Admissions Office is lucky to have a number of student bloggers who have volunteered to share their experiences while at William & Mary Law School. You can expect to hear more about living in Williamsburg, internships and externships, how to handle cold calls, and the best (and worst) of every day life in law school.

Jackson_Briana MBriana Jackson is a 2L from Leesburg, Virginia. She graduated from Christopher Newport News University in 2016 with a degree in Political Science. At the law school, she is involved with the Black Law Students Association, the Public Service Fund, and the Women’s Law Society; she currently serves on the staff of the Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice (formerly the Journal of Women and the Law), and spent last summer working at the Fairfax County District Court office.

R JaegerRebecca Jaeger is a 2L from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. She earned her honors degrees in Biology, History, Spanish at the University of Delaware in 2016, and traveled abroad to Spain during her time as a Blue Hen. While at the law school, she has joined the Moot Court Team and served as the 2L representative for the Student Bar Association. She also spends time working on the William & Mary Law Review staff, and spent last summer working for the New Jersey Federal Magistrate.

Lowell_Brooke E Brooke Lowell is a 2L from Rockland, Maine. She attended Simmons College and earned her degree in Political Science in 2017. She is currently a member of the Public Service Fund and serves as the Vice President for Equity Alliance. She also works as a member of the Bill of Rights Journal staff. Last summer, she served as a graduate research assistant for Professor Evan Criddle at William & Mary Law School and will continue to do so throughout this year; in addition, Brooke will work at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia as her externship.

Mano_Lea C Lea Mano calls Paris, France home, though she graduated from Columbia University in 2015 with a degree in Political Science. Prior to her time at William & Mary, she worked as a paralegal for Sherman & Sterling in New York before serving as a consultant for the French presidential campaign in 2016. As a law student, she serves as the law school representative to William & Mary’s chapter of Building Tomorrow, a national non-profit organization that aims to provide children in Sub-Saharan Africa with access to education. She also serves as a member of the Bill of Rights Journal staff.

O'Hara_Emily R Emily O’Hara is a 2L from Syracuse, New York who earned her honors degrees in English & Textual Studies and Political Science in 2017. As a student, she serves as a member of the William & Mary Law School Honor Council, and a staff member on the William & Mary Law Review. Last summer, she worked at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia while simultaneously working with Professor Allison Larson as a graduate research assistant.

Agyevi-Armah_NicholasSNick Agyevi-Armah is a 1L hailing from Frederick, Maryland. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, he received his degree in Government & Politics in 2018. While at Maryland, he worked throughout the university in various student leadership capacities such as New Student Orientation and the Student Government Association. He also served as a teaching assistant for the undergraduate legal writing program. Recently matriculating to William & Mary Law School, he works as a student staff member in the Office of Admission.