Taking Advantage of the CDO

I think that I touched on this in a previous post about what I learned from my first semester here at BU, but I thought I’d go into a little bit more detail about the resources that I have taken advantage of so far from the Career Development Office (CDO).

My undergraduate institution was incredible in countless ways, but one thing that it did not offer was comprehensive advising services. This was good in one way because it helped to foster a sense of independence and self-reliance in organizing my undergraduate studies, but it left me more in the dark than I would have preferred regarding my education.

Last semester, we were required to have a preliminary CDO appointment with our advisor and advising group, which consisted of a few fellow students. Afterward, however, I made a one-on-one appointment with my advisor, which I would highly recommend. It gives you a chance to be a little bit more candid about your goals, interests, and aspirations. Since then, I have made two more appointments with my advisor both during the Fall and Spring Semesters. I think it’s helpful to check in and to get questions answered as they arise, especially after gaining exposure to different fields within law from alumni events.

The day after finals ended last semester, I made an appointment for a mock interview to get prepared for interviews that I had lined up for winter break. I made an appointment with an alternate advisor who I am not assigned to because it worked best for my schedule, and I would also encourage doing to gain more perspective and to keep building up a support network within the CDO. The mock interview was just what I needed to quell my nerves before my interviews, and I am so grateful for having taken the time and initiative to make this happen.

My last major piece of CDO-related advice does not have to do with making a face-to-face appointment per se, but to checking your CDO weekly emails. Full disclosure: I was in such a daze last semester that I rarely read these emails in their entirety, and now that I’ve been lifted out of the fog of the Fall semester, I regularly (and thoroughly) read these emails! They are filled with upcoming events as well as job opportunities, and I regret not reading them more fully sooner.

So those are just some tips that I have from my experience thus far with the CDO. This team provides support and encouragement in the law school setting, which can be known for just the opposite qualities. Maybe it’s because of my undergrad experience, but I was blown away at the advisors’ willingness to lend a helping hand along this law school journey thus far. I have already learned so much from taking advantage of just some of the CDO’s resources, and I would encourage everyone to do the same.

Commuting to BU

I live in Salem, MA…. aka “the Witch City”… known for the Salem Witch Trials.  I chose to live in Salem because after having worked for several years, I really wanted to buy my home, and when I first moved here, I had a job teaching in the neighboring town of Lynn.  Salem is a cute town with a lot of restaurants, bars, museums, parks, and a waterfront.  Salem seemed like the most logical choice.  However, the one downside is that it’s not connected to the freeway.  So when I got into BU School of Law, I started to wonder, how will I get to school?

The best way to get to BU from Salem (in my opinion) is to just drive.  Buy a parking pass for the garage and an EZ Pass for the toll bridge and you’re set!  My strategy is to put all of my classes on only 2 or 3 days a week so I don’t commute as often.  Traffic can be bad during rush hour, but I also strategically avoid rush hour.  My commute ends up being about 50 minutes.  I have my coffee and music, and in general, I don’t mind the drive (being from Houston, I’m used to commuting).

After I started classes at BU, I realized that there are actually several law students who commute.  Massachusetts has an elaborate public transit system with various options.  Some people take commuter rails from suburban towns.  Other people take the subway from other parts of Boston.  I’ve even met a few people who commute from other states — from Maine by bus and from Rhode Island by train.  So if you’re wondering about commuting:  it can be done.

Commuting can be productive even:  if you’re on the train or commuter rail, you can get some reading done, watch movies, or just sleep.  Otherwise, you can always listen to audio books.  There are even study aids in audio format.

So don’t let the distance discourage you — there’s always a way to make things work!

 

Wrap on Follies!

President’s Day weekend marked a continuation of one of BU Law’s many proud traditions—the annual Legal Follies show. Over three nights, the twelve members of the Legal Follies and six members of Contraband put on a three-hour night of entertainment complete with live music, sketch comedy, and videos to help chase away some of the winter blues and laugh at the world through the lens of law school.

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Playin’ it cool.

As a cast member, I am of course biased, but I think this year’s show was one to be particularly proud of. Under the leadership of directors Annie Hudson and Jordan Shockett, we hit the ground running in the fall when we auditioned new cast members and spent a weekend retreat getting to know each other and writing sketches. Over the fall, we would meet weekly just to keep our ideas fresh, but preparation for the show did not ramp up until the winter break. At that point, all members were responsible for turning in three sketches, and we came back a week early in January to spend evening sessions fine-tuning our drafts. By mid-January, the directors narrowed down the sixty-plus sketch submissions to the final thirty that would comprise the show. Over the next four weeks, we met every weeknight for three-hour rehearsals, and spent weekends filming our video skits. It makes for a busy schedule when piled on to law school commitments, so it’s probably no surprise most of us were a little sleep deprived and a little under the weather for a good portion of the month. According to one of the 1L members, a professor asked if she was on Follies, and when she said she was, the professor gave an understanding nod, “I can tell because of the bags under your eyes.”

As busy as it is, it is also a ton of fun. I have rarely laughed as hard in my life as I have surrounded by this motley crew of brilliant minds. There is some theater experience in the group, but most of us had limited exposure to acting and comedy writing. The result is a sort of “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” approach to putting a show together, and somehow, it works.

Fortunately, we also have a very supportive group of faculty, administrators, and fellow students who put up with our shenanigans as we take over parts of the law tower to film our bits—including a rumble in between the elevator banks and a series of vignettes in the professors’ offices. It’s a pretty remarkable thing that Jill Collins, the Associate Director of Student Affairs, would meet with us and always ask, “How can we help?” It makes you feel downright warm and fuzzy inside.

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Things got real.

Perhaps because of all that support, the cast felt the pressure to put on the best show possible. The nerves started to kick in as we got closer and closer to show time, and what was a mush of ideas just over a month ago coalesced into a full cast production. And the Follies weren’t the only ones feeling it—Contraband pulled off a miracle this year under the direction of Brian Prewitt after all of its members moved on from BU Law last year. Brian put together a collection of unbelievably talented law student musicians who came up with a great set list for the show.

The final result was “Law Law Land,” and all the work paid off. It was a rush to stand backstage and hear which jokes landed and which fell a little flat– and to hear the audience cringe when boundaries were pushed. It’s about as much fun as you can probably have as a law student, and I am enormously proud to be a part of the cast. Of course, it can be a bit of a bummer to get back to reality of law school and homework after taking the final bow, but on those days when the papers are piling up and the reading is getting long, I am pretty sure I will have a smile on my face when my mind wanders back to Law Law Land.

Across the River: Harvard Square

Exploring Boston is something I’m determined to do more. When I was younger we would come into the city for a specific purpose. As I’ve gotten older and started coming into the city more on my own, I’ve slowly explored new areas. There is SO much to see in Boston and each area has such a distinct personality.

I recently took a trip to Harvard Square. Sometimes it’s easy to forget Harvard is in Boston. It’s actually in Cambridge so geographically the point is moot, but it’s generally thought of to be “in” Boston in all other aspects. It seems so distant, even though the law tower looks across the river almost directly towards it. Harvard seems mystifying, even to a home-grown Bostonian. While the university itself is still pretty mystifying, Harvard Square was wonderful to visit and I’d highly recommend it.

Harvard Square has a wonderful feel: classic, historic, but still low-key. It feels like Beacon Hill but less grand and more intimate. There’s an abundance of brick buildings and an abundance of grass; there’s buildings that date to the 1600s and monuments to match. What’s interesting, though, is how the area has managed to still keep up with modernity: dotted throughout the dominance of bricks are millennium glass-enclosed offices housing tech start-ups and businesses. This distinct juxtaposition is unique and pretty cool to experience.

We went to Harvard Square celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday with his family at Border Café, and it did not disappoint. They started us off with hot-out-of-the-oven chips and fresh salsa, of which I promptly ate too many. I got half-beef, half-chicken fajitas which came with a ton of meat on a sizzling pan with plenty of sides and toppings. The meal was great and still reasonably priced. I’d recommend it when you go to explore Harvard Square. And most importantly, there was a homemade ice cream place around the corner. We didn’t get to try it, but it’s just another excuse to go back!

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Going to Prison

This semester I am taking Restorative Justice. It’s an interesting class because it is taught at the School of Theology. The class has both graduate “theologians” as well as law students. I believe (although I could be wrong) that it is the only class on the list of courses the law school offers that is for both law students and theology students. I take the class Mondays from 6:30-9:15 pm, right after my Privacy class from 4:20-6:20. The class is taught across from the Law Complex in the School of Theology so I’m usually rushing to get my seat in time (depending on how late our Privacy professor keeps us).  The class is interesting because it allows us law students to hear from members of another discipline on how they perceive us as lawyers. 

Last week, as part of the Restorative Justice class, we took a class trip to MCI-Norfolk, a medium-level security prison in Massachusetts. We all carpooled and were at the prison for about three hours. The experience fit well with the course as we were able to hear from various inmates that have been through the restorative justice process at MCI Norfolk, a trail-blazer in this field. The experience was quite eye-opening and offered a concrete example of what we were learning in class. Moreover, I felt the experience was enlightening because it proved that alternatives to the conventional criminal justice system can work in certain situations.