albanach wrote:Thanks to all the current students for answering so many questions in this thread.
I've been thinking about August. What can you tell us about the first week at the school. I see we have two days scheduled for orientation - what can we expect from that? When are things like parking an lockers usually sorted out?
When do we learn what section we will be in, who will be teaching us and what books we need to buy? I presume we're straight into full-on teaching the first day after orientation. Do we have a scheduled opportunity to meet our professors before then?
Is there anything else you wish you'd known during those first couple of days?
Also, do professors assign anyassignments for the first day of class? If so are they posted anywhere or just emailed? I want to avoid a Paper Chase
-like first class.
The two days of orientation are led by the peer advisers and are pretty low key. You'll play some getting to know you games, you'll talk about cold calls, studying, and take a little tour of the school. Every section has a party between nights 1 and 2 of orientation where someone hosts a pre-game then everyone goes to the corner. They'll talk about lockers and parking but I remember being left to our own devices on that.
During orientation your small section professor will stop in and say hi. They'll probably entertain some questions. The small section professor is the only one you will necessarily meet before the first day. On my first day of class the professor walked in, put her stuff, down, scanned the room, and then cold called someone. She ran the class like it was week 10. When it ended she said "welcome to law school" and walked out. It was pretty awesome. A lot of the professors compete with each other to teach 1Ls in the fall and I know at least one professor told me that his fall 1L class is his favorite one to teach. I know another professor who's still sore he didn't get to teach 1L contracts last semester. They really like to see us figure out what the hell is going on and start to "think like lawyers."
If I remember correctly, class schedules are released ahead of time insofar as everyone knows which professors teach which sections. However, You don't get your section assignments until Friday before classes start ie. 3 days before orientation. Your section assignment will give you an idea of what books you need and most professors post their syllabus before class so you know the assignments. There is also a bulletin board where some professors post reading for the first day. The first week is very busy and there are a lot of social activities. I know a few people in my section passed on some of the parties and activities (there is a tubing trip on the river) to study and sit around. I did.
Anyway Friday is the section posting, weekend, monday and tuesday orientation, wednesday to friday are the first week of class. There is also a small reading period at the end of the semester that evens that first week up.
I cam down to Charlottesville a week early and it didn't change my life. People go out pretty much every night, usually down to the corner (Biltmore). It's fun to meet people and look around the town. but you'll spend so much time with people in your section it feels hard to keep hanging out with people that you meet at the beginning of school.