Non-“Traditional” Students

January 12, 2010

F.F., 1L

When I first got the call from the Yale admissions office, I remember being in disbelief, followed by glee, bewilderment, and anxiety. How did this happen? I was not the picture of a Yale Law student I had imagined. I worried that I would not fit in. I have been out of school for four years, but I haven’t fed orphans, cured diseases, or started a Fortune 500 in that time. I grew up in the South and went to a public school for college. I had spent my time since undergrad getting an M.A. in a pretty common field and working a desk job.

At Admitted Student Program, those fears were calmed. I met so many people from every part of the country (and beyond) who had done every imaginable thing since graduating from college (whether that was one or ten or more years ago) and several who were still finishing their senior year. One thing that I immediately loved about Yale was the sheer variety of students.

In my small group of 16 students, there are students of all ages and all kinds of backgrounds, and yet we came together like a family in less than month. I can still remember the awkward first week of school when we were still learning about each other. It did not take long until we were inseparable. I know my small group is there to help if I need notes on a class, a ride to an event, a walk home from school, or a dog sitter for the afternoon. My small group even surprised me with a “24th” birthday celebration.

Our differences have only increased the sense of community and the way that we look out for one another and learn from one another. I thought a small group class on contracts sounded boring at the beginning of the semester, but the varied experiences that my small group brings to the discussion means that it is rarely boring. Best of all, our interesting conversations don’t end in the classroom. They continue in the dining hall, the lounge, nearby restaurants, and our apartments. I love that we can have a conversation that includes topics as varied as pop music, drug policies, NFL football, tort reform, and which computer fonts we like best. I hope that next semester, when we no longer have all of our classes together, we will still make time for these conversations, because of all the things I’ve learned in my first semester of law school, some of the most important have come from discussions with my classmates.