poil28 wrote:1. Orientation for 1Ls starts tomorrow, and it seems on all 3 days, scheduled events will end around 6:00 PM. How bad is the downtown traffic around that time? When does downtown really start getting congested on a typical evening, and when in the morning/mid-morning does traffic also get really bad? (I'm not planing on skipping Orientation events to avoid traffic, but after Orientation I am interested in how to schedule getting in and out of downtown around the worst traffic when I can.)
Traffic is still fairly heavy that time of evening, depending on the direction you're going and on whether or not you're going to need to get on an interstate. What area of town are you living in (or where will you be headed after orientation)? We can give you some more specific suggestions depending on where you're going.
Or do you know a lot of students who just take the MARTA?
This is the category I fall into, so others can probably help with traffic more. Most students seem to drive, but several of us take MARTA (the train, that is - I don't know anyone who rides the bus) or walk.
2. I've heard from current law students that the majority of GSU Law students, while friendly, are sort of go-to-class, go-home... that there really is no "community" because everyone's a commuter, lots of people already have families and jobs to get to outside of class, so it's not easy to really "connect" on a personal level. How true is that? How much of a downside is that?
That is partially true. Everyone is busy. 1/3 of the students are PT students that have work, families, etc., and so they're usually not going to spend a ton of time hanging around. The area itself is also not very conducive to having students hang out for long periods of time. A lot of the nearby businesses and restaurants don't have great night and/or weekend hours, and crime is a concern (more on that later). There also is not a lot of housing right near the law school, although there is some within walking distance, so most students have to commute.
If you're an introvert, no one is going to force a ton of socialization on you, but you can DEFINITELY seek it out. You will, as with any law school (I assume), become close to at least a small group of students in your section during 1L. Find a study group and enjoy it. But you can certainly branch out beyond that. There are the usual organizations you can join, and the SBA puts on several events throughout the year. I can't speak to the life of a FT student as much, but even us old PT students enjoy some socialization. Several of us PT students started to go out on Thursday evenings after classes on a weekly basis, and it grew to include several FT students as well. We usually have a group of 10-20 people any given week. Feel free to PM me, and I can connect with you on Facebook and direct you to the page we created for our Thursday night outings.
3. Would you categorize GSU Law's atmosphere as particularly competitive or cutthroat?
No. Are there some students that might be? Sure, but most hide it pretty well. Everyone seems extremely willing to help others.
4. Now for a different kind of "cutthroat"-- being it's in downtown Atlanta, is safety something you actively worry about? Any advice on certain places on and around campus that have an especially bad rep/ certain times it's best to start hauling out of the GSU area? What's the campus security presence like?
There is crime in the area, and you do need to be careful. During weekdays, I would say there isn't much to worry about since there are so many people (GSU law & undergrad students, office employees, etc.) milling about. I would be more concerned with homeless people and/or some crazy Grady people during the day. After nightfall, yes, definitely be careful, and I would strongly suggest not going anywhere alone. Every month or two, we'll get a campus security alert about a mugging or possibly a shooting. I have never had a problem, but I'm a bit larger than most people, walk quickly, and am pretty alert. You will occasionally see a security guard, but the important thing to remember is that you can always call for a security escort, so definitely take advantage of that if you feel uncomfortable at all. Those of us that walk to MARTA after evening classes try to do so in a group.