Law school should be a transformative experience. It’s a sentiment I try to impress on prospective students during tours I lead as a student worker in the admissions office. All students who decide to come to school here have a choice. At the end of their three or four years, they can have a piece of paper with their name on it, or they can have an experience that will hopefully stick with them for the rest of their lives. I chose the latter, and I hope the people who decide to come to school here in the future make the same decision.
Reflecting on my time at Rutgers Law in Camden, I’ve learned a lot about the law, I’ve learned maybe too much about my classmates, but most importantly, I’ve learned about myself. I’ve learned that completing a difficult task is so much more satisfying when you try your hardest; that I can accomplish more than I ever imagined if I push myself out of my comfort zone; and that none of my classmates are “smarter” than each other, we all just think differently.
I’ve learned that law school isn’t only what you make of it. But my experience in Camden has been largely shaped by the diverse and collegial student body. No single act of kindness has made my heart happier than when my Jump Start classmates threw me a surprise party on my 30th birthday. I go to school with 22-year-olds fresh out of college, parents who have established careers, and many others in different stages of their lives. The varying viewpoints and life experiences of my peers have helped me better understand the significance and ramifications of the law we study. Their friendliness and candor have helped me succeed when I struggled and forced me to identify areas to improve academically and socially.
As my time here winds down, I try to focus on savoring the mundane last days of school, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to be in the position I find myself in today. It’s hard to appreciate the mental push-ups your mind is performing when you’re navigating the murky areas of civil procedure or working to master the formula of first-year legal writing. Checking in with current 1Ls and looking back to my own first year helps me recognize just how far my classmates and I have come. This practice has helped me maintain focus, take advantage of my fleeting time, and enjoy the moments I have left with people who have become great friends of mine.
These same opportunities are ripe for future law school students who are considering attending Rutgers Law today. While I relish that some people decide to come here because of the tour I gave them, I hope more so, that they decide to participate in our great law school community. Don’t be afraid to step beyond your comfort zone, never be satisfied if you think you can do better, and always try to give your best effort.