Welcome to Law School from the SBA President

By Joshua Poulson: SBA President

Congratulations! You are officially a law student. You may have thought this day would never come, but you have made it and I want to welcome you to the University of San Diego School of Law. First and foremost, let me just tell you that you made the right decision. Attending USD has been one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences of my life. I have formed relationships with students, professors, administration, and Alumni that will last a lifetime. Yes, it has been hard, but it has been well worth it. You will soon find that USD is unlike any other law school that you may have visited or attended, and that is because of the people who walk the halls of Warren Hall. As you adjust to 1L life, I would offer you 3 pieces of advice as you embark on your law school career:

The first, and single most important piece of advice I can give you is to remember your “Why.” Why is it that you came to law school in the first place? Why are you committing three years of your life to reading textbooks, preparing for oral arguments, and learning the language of the law? Law school is hard- no getting around that. And there will be times when you may question your decision to come to law school. It is during these times that you have to remember your “Why.” I suggest you write it down in a place where you can see it daily. Your life as a law student will be much easier if you know the reason why you are putting yourself through the countless hours of study, the stressful tests, and revision after revision of your memos and briefs. Your “why” should be something beyond just the potential to make a lot of money. You have to have something beyond money that will drive you to put in the amount of work necessary to make these three years as beneficial as possible.

The second piece of advice I would give you is to “get involved.” Your experience here at USD will be a direct reflection of your involvement with the school. As a law student, you will have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, social and networking events, and student organizations. We have over 40 diverse student organizations on campus appealing to a variety of professional and cultural interests, such as Pride Law, Christian Legal Society, Sports and Entertainment Law, and even Yoga Law. There truly is at least one organization for every student, and I encourage each of you to be an active participating member in as many of these organizations as you would like. Some of the extracurricular activates, such as the law journals, will have to wait until your second year. However, Moot Court allows 1Ls to participate as bailiffs for their competitions, giving you a chance to familiarize yourself with Moot Court as well as to make a good impression on the Moot Court Executive Board. You can find out all about the different student organizations by attending our club fair on Tuesday, August 28th from 4pm-6pm.

You will also have the opportunity to network with some of our amazing Alumni. Networking is an important and rewarding part of your law school experience. The USD Alumni Association, the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA), the American Bar association (ABA), and many of our student organizations provide opportunities throughout the year for you to meet with practicing attorneys and judges in a more casual setting. These professionals and Alumni will provide you with career advice and are valuable resources when you begin your job search. Not to mention, these networking events often have free food and beverages.

And the final piece of advice that I would give to you is to “have fun.” Law school can be a stressful place. You need to make time for yourself to enjoy San Diego and all that “America’s Finest City” has to offer. During my 1L year, a group of students from my section would meet every Saturday on South Mission Beach to play volleyball for a couple of hours. I did not recognize it at the time, but those few hours spent outside on the beach every week saved me from burning out during my first year. Whether it is going to the beach, going to the gym, or just going out for a night in the Gaslamp district, make sure you take some time every week for you and leave the books at school.

To help you have a little fun, the Student Bar Association (SBA) and the student organizations will sponsor several social events throughout the year. The main events that the SBA sponsors every year are the annual Halloween party, where we dress up and dance the night away, and the Barristers’ Ball (i.e. law school prom). In addition, the SBA sponsors a weekly “Bar Review,” where the students gather for off-campus socialization usually at a social venue in either the Pacific Beach or the Downtown area. The Dean will also host his bi-monthly mixer, where students can get free food and beverages and interact with the faculty and administration in the courtyard in a much more casual setting. With so much of our time as law students devoted to work, it is essential that we take a break to play every once in a while and the SBA and our social chairs are committed to providing you the opportunities to do just that.

In closing, I want to encourage you to email me at usdlawpres@gmail.com if you have any concerns regarding the law school. Also, feel free to come by the SBA office down in the Writs, as a member of the SBA executive board is usually in the office during the day. You can also visit the SBA website (www.sbausd.com) for the most current schedule of events, including club meetings, networking and social events, and academic dates.

Once again, I want to welcome you to the University of San Diego School of Law and good luck to all of you.

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