Today’s post is dedicated to small groups; some of the most important people you will meet in your first year of law school.
I still remember my first day of grade 5 after moving across the city and starting at a new elementary school where I knew absolutely no one. I sat in the first desk right by the door as soon as I walked in and my teacher joked, “did you pick that one so you can escape if you need to?”. I thought to myself, “no, but now that you mention it, that sounds like a great idea!”. My classes slowly ticked by and I waited in agony, dreading when the clock would hit noon and lunchtime would begin. Who would I hang out with? Would anyone talk to me? How long can I play with my tamagotchi by myself until people start to notice? As the bell rang and everyone ran out of the room I tried to waste time. I slowly rummaged through my bag for my lunch. Thinking I was surely the last one left I was shocked to see a girl standing next to me when I finally got up to leave. “Hi!” she said. “Want to eat with me and my friends?”. Little did she know just how wonderful those words were to my ears! “Sure!” I replied, and off we went.
Now to my point. I am sure that many of you, just like all first years, are feeling both excited and nervous to start law school. The decision to come to UBC Law may not have been an easy one. It may have required leaving behind home, old classmates, a familiar school, a steady job, family and friends, or simply setting out to study a subject you know very little about with people you have never met before. Regardless of where you are coming from or what you are leaving behind, I can promise you that there is one thing you will all gain; your very own small group.
Just as in grade 5 I was slightly dreading meeting people on my first day of orientation…but just as I did then, I quickly met someone who was more than willing to take me in. In fact, I met 25 of those people only minutes after registering and finding my small group. I can assure you that even if you do not know a soul in Vancouver, you are sure to meet and become close with many individuals in your small group and your first year class.
After taking all of my classes with my small group over the past year, I have come to realize that one of the best ways to get by in first year is by sticking together with your classmates. The individuals in your small group are not only great for talking with during breaks and going out with on the weekends, they are also excellent resources to help you study and prep for exams. Some of the classes I was most successful in were the ones that I prepared for in study groups. Undoubtedly, some of my finest CANs were also created by comparing them with my friends'.
Finally, the wonderful thing about your small group is that everyone is selected completely at random. And, given the fact that so many law students come from such a wide range of backgrounds, you will have the chance to meet, study, and become close with people you never would have met outside of law school. Take my small group for instance. From a mother and optometrist who runs her own clinic, to a student who completed one year of law school in Australia, to a student who served in the Canadian army in Afghanistan, to students from all across Canada, to local Vancouverites who could never be convinced to leave their gorgeous city, we have them all.
So while you are waiting in anticipation for September to begin, stop worrying and start relaxing. You are going to make tons of great friends and have more social events to attend (thanks to the Law Student’s Society) then your calendar can fit! If you still aren't convinced or have any questions about small groups and meeting people in first year, be sure to send them my way!
Your 2010 Orientation Coordinator,
p.s. not all of my small group is in that picture, you will generally have 20-24 students in yours!