Romulo Valdez

1L Year


September

I’m five weeks into the fall semester of my first year of law school, and I already feel right at home. I wouldn’t have thought it would be such a seamless transition, especially since this transition included moving across the country from New Hampshire to Washington. Before making the move, I was eager to make my way to the west coast to begin law school, but I knew it would be a big change that would bring with it many new challenges. Still, I felt confident that I had made a good choice by enrolling at Seattle U School of Law and was excited to embark on this new adventure.

When I enrolled at SU Law, I decided to take the summer criminal law course option and start in June. At the time, I saw this as an opportunity to get to Seattle sooner and start working toward my goal to earn my J.D. As an older student – being 32 years old – I couldn’t wait to start my coursework and engage in the law school community. Furthermore, coming out during the summer also allowed me to get to know the city a little bit, and to explore the some of the cool areas around Seattle, like the islands and state parks of western Washington.

Now, I’m a little more than a month into my 1L fall semester and I already feel like a part of the community here at SU Law. I’ve been making meaningful connections with classmates, setting up small study groups for each of my classes. Through my work as an Admission Fellow, I’ve been connecting with the upperclassmen that work in the admission office, which has been great because some of them are involved in student organizations that I am interested in potentially joining. On top of that, the faculty and staff, both professors and administrators, have been more supportive and encouraging than I could have hoped for.

Next on my to-do list is to learn more about the student organizations here at SU Law. I know I want to get more involved in our community, I just have to determine which organizations I identify most closely with and how they will fit into my schedule. I am still adjusting to the intense time demands of the law school lifestyle but hope to be able to add to my schedule a few more commitments that meaningful for me.

As for now, I am just trying to enjoy the crisp, cool fall weather and not spend all my time on the fourth floor of the library with my face in a book. One thing I am learning as a new law student is that there is always more course material to read; and sometimes rest, relaxation, and socializing with friends are more important than getting two weeks ahead in the readings for my Civil Procedure class. Maybe this weekend I’ll go into the city with some friends or have a lazy day and catch up on some sleep.


October

Wow! It’s already November. I just looked at the academic calendar, and I cannot believe that there are only four weeks left before finals. It feels like everything suddenly picked up once autumn set in. I am already feeling the effects of long hours in library, as I have been spending at least a few hours in there every day for the past two months. Nonetheless, I feel invigorated as I prepare for my exams. I actually started studying for my Contracts exam about a month ago because I was particularly worried about doing well in that class. It’s only a two-credit course, but a few weeks into the semester, I started realizing that Contracts would probably be the most difficult class for me. So, my study group started taking his practice exams four weeks ago, completing two per week. But now, I need to start focusing on my Civil Procedure exam prep. It’s a five-credit course, and it involves a deep list of rules that relate to one another in varying ways. Needless to say, it will be a challenging exam.

Amidst all this studying and exam prep, I am also trying to make time for myself in order to stay healthy and resilient as it gets closer to finals week. The last thing I want to deal with at this point is illness or some kind of stress-induced debilitation. I get the sense that those two concerns are common problems for first year law students around this time of year. If you think about it, this is our first semester of law school – most students are not completely adjusted to the demands of a J.D. programs yet – and we are able to take exams that will be the major contributing factor to our grades for this semester’s courses. With all that in mind, it is easy to understand why it can be common for 1L students to struggle during this time of the year. I have tried to stay healthy and rested in order to continue performing at my highest capacity. I can see Winter Break at the end of the tunnel, and I plan on giving my exams everything I’ve got, knowing that I will relaxing on a beach in Mexico by mid-December.


November

Happy Fall! I can’t believe how quickly we are moving through the semester. 2L is quite a challenge because Wow! It’s already November. I just looked at the academic calendar, and I cannot believe that there are only four weeks left before finals. It feels like everything suddenly picked up once autumn set in. I am already feeling the effects of long hours in library, as I have been spending at least a few hours in there every day for the past two months. Nonetheless, I feel invigorated as I prepare for my exams. I actually started studying for my Contracts exam about a month ago because I was particularly worried about doing well in that class. It’s only a two-credit course, but a few weeks into the semester, I started realizing that Contracts would probably be the most difficult class for me. So, my study group started taking his practice exams four weeks ago, completing two per week. But now, I need to start focusing on my Civil Procedure exam prep. It’s a five-credit course, and it involves a deep list of rules that relate to one another in varying ways. Needless to say, it will be a challenging exam.

Amidst all this studying and exam prep, I am also trying to make time for myself in order to stay healthy and resilient as it gets closer to finals week. The last thing I want to deal with at this point is illness or some kind of stress-induced debilitation. I get the sense that those two concerns are common problems for first year law students around this time of year. If you think about it, this is our first semester of law school – most students are not completely adjusted to the demands of a J.D. programs yet – and we are able to take exams that will be the major contributing factor to our grades for this semester’s courses. With all that in mind, it is easy to understand why it can be common for 1L students to struggle during this time of the year. I have tried to stay healthy and rested in order to continue performing at my highest capacity. I can see Winter Break at the end of the tunnel, and I plan on giving my exams everything I’ve got, knowing that I will relaxing on a beach in Mexico by mid-December.