thatdude222 wrote:Students on every college campus in America will say that "parking sucks". But how bad is it really at UT? I'll have no choice but to make a 20+mile drive to campus my first semester. How early do you have to get to campus to get a spot close to the law school?
I moved every year. 1L, I lived on a shuttle route and w/in a 20 minute walk. I bought a bike from Target, which was a POS and broke within the first 2 months. I ended up either walking or taking the bus, depending on the weather. Hot or rainy = bus. I will say that catching the bus home sometimes could be frustrating. There is a bus stop right in front of the law school, but it seems the red river bus (the one servicing hyde park/north campus) would rarely come while the 40 acres (making a loop around the entire campus) would come every 3-5 minutes. When the red river bus did come, it was packed. But I learned if you let 1 pass, there was usually a second, nearly empty one, 2-3 minutes later. Public transportation in Austin sucks. City buses are even worse. 2L year I lived farther away, though technically on a shuttle line I just got a garage pass. Traffic was horrible at times and it often took me 30 minutes to drive from campus to Riverside. Though knowing I didn't have to find a place to park before a test or late at night was a blessing. Plus, the garage pass (SJC, roughly $600), was great for extra events like going to see off-broadway shows. Finally, 3L year I lived back north-east of campus, which was a 30 minute walk or a 6 minute city bus ride. The city buses are free for UT students, but the buses are notoriously bad. If you don't have the average homeless, crazy. or young self-entitled drag rat/person yelling obscenities, the bus would likely be late. Sometimes up to 20 minutes late. It made that 30 minute walk seem much more bearable. I was late to class a few times because I would wait on the bus, realize it was 10 minutes late (if it was going to come at all), and then make the walk.
thatdude222 wrote:Are there any student activities/events do you think everyone should go to or participate in?
As another poster said, society events and small-section social events 1L are a must. I also think bar review is a great idea, but people stop going as the year progresses. I personally only went to a handful of bar review events, but that was mainly because I went to undergrad here and lived with some friends that I already knew my 1L year, and then moved in with my fiancé my 2L year. Regardless of how many people you know going in or what your love-life situation is (also, don't date intra-small-section. Just a bad idea), go to section events. It sounds cliche, but friendships made know will pay off later.
As a side note, I also wouldn't recommend any journals or anything your 1L year, and most journals won't even look at you until you are a rising 2L. That being said, there are a few great organizations, such as the IP Law Society, that are geared toward 1Ls. They give you some networking, and I've even known a few students to get jobs from the contacts they've made, but the main purpose is to introduce you to an area of law you otherwise might not encounter until later.
thatdude222 wrote:What has been your experience networking with or contacting UT Law alumni? Do alumni generally seem pretty helpful/loyal?
+1 here. My experiences have been great, but not magic. Before I even started as a 1L, I had met a "mentor." UT gives you access to a list of mentors once you've been admitted. They are arranged by type of law and location, so if you have questions about a specific practice or location, they can be a great resource. (Note, UT's system is not perfect. I was once looking at JAG and contacted a person listed as with the Air Force. It turns out he had served in the air force pre-law school and had nothing to do with JAG. That was an exception to the rule though.) Anyway, my mentor invited me to lunch and remained a great contact. He got me an interview with a firm I likewise would not have had, but wasn't enough to get me past the firm's hard GPA cut-off. As I said, they are great, but not magic. I have countless other stories of UT alumni helping me get farther than I could on my own and without a doubt say this is one of the best parts of attending UT.