Today I am happy to bring you the second installment of the one month in portion of the law school spotlight series. If you haven’t read about the law school admissions process be sure to check out four perspectives: Evelyn, Sam, Carina and Camille. Also, if you missed the first installment, Evelyn shared her experience, so check it out. It’s really fun hearing other people’s experiences with their first 8 weeks because it makes me feel less lonely, but also reiterates that law school is very individual, despite popular belief. The experience depends on the person and their surroundings!
So, without further ado, the brilliant Sam has some good insight to law school:
“Hello everyone! My first eight weeks of law school have been quite busy. It seems strange to me that I have only been in the Greater Lansing area for two months. I have learned so much in so little time and I’m looking forward to learning more.
The adjustment to living in a completely different and unfamiliar part of the country has been a little rough. The time change still gets to me every now and then when I talk to people on the West Coast. The humidity got to me initially and it still hasn’t grown on me, but with the weather cooling down it isn’t so bad anymore. The leaves have been changing on the trees for a few weeks and that has been nice to see, especially coming from a place where the leaves change and fall off in two weeks. The people here are some of the nicest I have ever met and are more than willing to help you in any way they can. Groceries are cheaper too, which is nice for someone living on a tight budget. Football is also a way of life here. Michigan State is a Big 10 school, but I didn’t realize how involved every person, from the undergraduates to senior citizens, are. Spartan Stadium holds close to eighty thousand people, and in the home games I have gone to it has been close to full each time.
Michigan State University itself is huge. The campus itself constitutes several city blocks and spans a huge amount of space. The buildings are all uniform red brick, the lawns manicured and the trees large and lush. The student population is around forty thousand, which is a shock coming from an undergraduate institution with three thousand during a good year. The Law School is on the far east side of campus. The entire program plus the library is run out of that building. While Michigan State is a public institution, Michigan State University College of Law is a private institution affiliated with the larger public institution. In that way we get the best of both worlds. Law students are allowed access to the privileges of being students at one of the largest public institutions in the country while still having the intimacy and education of private institutions.
As for law school itself, I never expected the transition or the coursework to be easy. Going straight from undergrad into law school meant my study habits and work ethic did not falter too much. What I wasn’t expecting was thirty pages of reading to take me five hours. In undergrad, thirty pages could be read in an hour tops, especially if I was focused. In the law, every word has meaning. Words that you thought you knew the meaning of have different meanings. Those same words can mean different things from topic to topic and even from case to case. The reading requires much more attention to detail, and even then the content can be confusing. I have been fortunate in that my professors and teacher’s aides are more than willing to work through the problems I have with me and to answer any questions about the subject matter. Even though it is often a struggle to understand, I am getting the hang of it. Using the resources available to me has been exceptionally helpful.
Michigan State has also made it a priority to ensure than we are career focused from the minute we walk in the door. Our career services office has been on top of getting us ready for the future by hosting events and opportunities for us to attend. Although the American Bar Association does not allow first year students to meet with career counselors until after October 15th, the career counselors have been very good at getting information out to us so we are ready when that day comes and we can meet with counselors having a better idea about the direction we want to go in.
In terms of extra-curricular activities, I have yet to sign on to anything other than the Trial Practice Institute. The Trial Practice Institute at Michigan State is a nationally recognized program that I have had the honor of being given direct admission to. TPI as it is known to the law students is an intensive litigation training program. As a first year student I do not take any of the TPI courses, but I do get to be part of certain events related to it, such as sitting on the jury during practice sessions for the older students. The friends I have made that are second or third year students say that the program is a lot of work, it is well worth it in the end.
Although it often seems like my workload never ends, I’m always running out of something, and that everyone else seems to understand Contracts and I don’t, I’m very happy to be where I am. I have been given several excellent opportunities by Michigan State and I look forward to taking full advantage of them. For years I couldn’t wait to be in law school, pursuing my goals and reaching for the stars. Now that I’m here, I know I made the right choice.”
If you have questions, I’m sure Sam would be happy to answer them. I’d be happy to connect you to Sam if you’re interested in Michigan State Law, so email me if you want more information!