My name is Hala Furst, and I am a 3L. Before coming to Roger Williams I received a BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota. In the three years between graduating from college and arriving here in Bristol, RI, I worked as a hotel concierge for a luxury brand, a loan officer and mortgage...
As the first month of the rest of my life is winding to a close, I find myself feeling as though I’ve been a 1L for much, much longer. I walk into the cafeteria to be greeted by old friends; I enter the library and take comfort in familiar surroundings. I just moved to Bristol from Minnesota, so on top of the stress of being a first year law student, I’ve got the added fun of trying to figure out where to buy my groceries, do my laundry, get my gas, and generally function in a completely different part of the world. In some ways, it’s been a relief to have the constant fact of my workload- don’t really have to worry about where to buy paper towels, since it seems generally inconceivable that I’ll have time to be anywhere but in the Library!
As remarkable as the workload is, however, I’m still having a great time. Having taken three years off between undergrad and law school, it has been a while since I’ve been as challenged and as engaged as I have been this week. The give and take of the classroom is what I am most excited about. Being in a community of people who are here to learn, and learn actively, pushes you to challenge yourself to be the best. There is competition here, but it’s not adversarial competition- we are competing against our personal best, and so far it is the tightest race I’ve ever run. The professors are tough as well, but they know what they are talking about, and I’ve decided that in class, you just have to come to terms with being not-right. Some people (not lawyers) might call it “wrong”. Embrace wrongness. Revel in wrongness. Then try to find the right answer.
That being said, there are some hints I’ve found helpful thus far. While there is seemingly no black and white in the classroom, I have learned a few definite things about the RWU School of Law already:
1. Do not come late to Prof. Teitz class. The look she gives you is colder than all the Minnesota winters I have had to endure
2. Go to a club meeting even if you aren’t interested in the group or the subject- there will be free food, which is an excellent loan-based budget measure, and you may find that you are in fact interested in something you would never have otherwise given a second thought.
3. $1 beers at Judge Beans on Thursday- go early before the undergrads get there.
4. Don’t ask your fellow students how many hours they are studying/ how many notes they are taking/ how many pages their briefs are. One of two things will happen: either you will psyche yourself out and ruin your own rhythm, or you will think you are doing too much and scale it back. Everyone learns in their own way, so go to Academic Services if you are really concerned instead of trying to play “beat the outline” with your roommate.
5. Laugh. At yourself and with others. It’s the only way to stay sane, because what we are doing is hard, and ridiculous and to some people impossible, so remember to laugh whenever you get the chance. Even if the librarians do shush you.