Tekrul wrote:Did any of you commute your 1L?
How did you find being off-campus with regards to studying, study groups, friends, and on-campus activities?
I'm down to two options, living on-campus and living in Jersey City (Newport) and commuting by PATH.
3L here, but live in Jersey City now (Exchange Place, not Newport, though). I lived on-campus in a dorm as a 1L, but I don't think it made an enormous difference.
The PATH becomes less frequent late at night (11 pm is a major cut-off), so if you like going out late, that might be a problem. It's not actually unreliable--it follows the schedule very closely late at night, but the schedule is about one train every half hour.
As a 1L, I did virtually of my studying at school, in unused classrooms or study rooms, which I think is the right strategy because it keeps you focused. (I do the same now, though of course less.) I also almost always studied with other people from my section, even if we weren't actually talking much/holding study group. Having the commute home creates a nice barrier and also encourages you to leave. There's little value to staying up late at night studying anyway; when I was a 1L, I made certain to stop studying by 11 every night.
I can see how living far away from campus could make socializing harder, but a very large portion of the class lives away from campus. People don't really socialize in the dorms the way you might have in undergrad. You'll meet your classmates through your section and your Lawyering group, and later through student organizations, jobs and other mutual connections. I don't think living on campus was a major advantage as a 1L except for the convenience of being able to leave the dorm at 8:58 for a 9:00 am class.
On journals: All journals (and Moot Court, which unlike at all other schools is treated as a journal--you can only do a journal or Moot Court, not both, and Moot Court publishes a casebook every year that is essentially a student journal of Moot Court problems) go through the writing competition.* Realistically, I don't know anyone who lost out on their top choice except Law Review, though some secondary journals (Annual Survey, JILP and Moot Court) do turn a few people away every year. Depending on the journal, some consider grades while others do not. Everyone who applies gets a position on some journal, unlike at some other law schools.
As above, there's a oral argument program in Lawyering spring semester of 1L. Otherwise, there's no speaking requirement.
*One exception: There's a new patent law journal that isn't officially recognized yet and exists independently of the journal system (and does not use the writing competition). Unclear when it will get official recognition, if at all.