On Being a Dean's Advisor

September 17, 2007

K.S., 2L

During most of late August in 2006, my head hurt from the different emotions on my mind. I became afraid, excited, intrigued and nervous all at once. To make things worse, I was in a new city, called New Haven – which according to the masses is not a wonderful place to reside. In short, I was a new student at Yale Law School.

This year, during late August of 2007, I served a different role, as a Dean’s Advisor, helping the class of 2010 deal with the same conflicting feelings I encountered during my first week of school.

To finish my earlier story, most of my feelings were assuaged when the Dean of our law school chose to remix the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started” to introduce himself at convocation. From that point, the year was amazing, and for this August I felt it was time to give back and help others upon their arrival to New Haven (which actually is a wonderful place to reside).

In case you are wondering, Dean’s Advisors are eight students chosen by the Dean of Student Affairs to help with first year orientation. We are each assigned 20 students and help them become acclimated to YLS (we reassure first years that no grades mean NO GRADES, among other things).

While working as a Dean’s Advisor, I got to meet many of my new classmates. I discussed union politics with a member of EIU’s New York chapter, tried to get a former stand up comedian to give me parts of his routine, challenged an Olympian speedskater to a race at the Yale ice rink, and searched furiously for our class belly dancer.

My greatest joy, though, has been watching a class of 190 smart, ambitious, accomplished and slightly nervous students come together to make a community, or better said a family that will extend far past their days in New Haven. During convocation, Dean Koh told the incoming class that they will meet colleagues, friends, and even spouses while at law school – he’s right. A little over a year as an YLS student, and some of my best friends, I also call classmates. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of becoming a Dean’s Advisor is facilitating the creation of the relationships that made my first year of law school so enjoyable. As other law school students attempt to forget their first year of law school, students here embrace it, and therefore, the environment encourages friendliness and a community.

While unsure what domestic and worldly events, court cases, and other situations will shape this semester, I can be sure that 190 students located in New Haven, Connecticut are about to embark on the most fulfilling semester of their lives.