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.


December 2018 / January 2019

It is finally the last semester of law school! Finals were tough because of the Trust and Estates final that I had, but my grade for it was better than expected. Overall, the semester was very solid, and I am glad we are close to the finish line. Over break I went to Tahoe for some snowboarding, then went back to Hong Kong to seem my family and we went to Adelaide for a family reunion with my dad’s family. It was my first time meeting some of them and I found out that they actually live in Toronto. It was nice to see my grandparents, their home, and exploring Adelaide with the cousins. After Adelaide, we went to Sydney with just my family. We did the bridge climb and took the ferry to Manly Beach. During December, I also met up with attorneys from San Francisco and had some interviews. I applied for the CA bar and just submitted the final paper work for character and fitness portion.

I came back to the US the weekend before school started for the final semester. This semester I am taking Bar Skills, Youth Advocacy Clinic, and Biomedical Law and Policy. All my classes are very interesting, and I am looking forward to preparing for the bar exam. It is hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. BLSA also won Chapter of the Year, which is such an exciting moment because Noe and I worked so hard over break on the application itself. Shout out to her mock trial team for making it to Nationals!

On another note, intramural basketball also started and we have a solid team this year.


February

February was a busy month. So far, my second semester has been easier in some ways but more difficult in others. After going through the fall semester, I feel like it has become easier to navigate the heavy workload and fast pace of my classes. On the other hand, there have been new demands this semester that I have had to fit into my already busy schedule. Securing summer employment has been the most stressful new demand during this spring semester. I have applied to a few firms and fellowship programs, and I even got an interview at one of the downtown firms. Unfortunately, I did not receive any offers. So, recently I have been considering externship opportunities to earn credits over the summer. and have started working with the Externship Office here at the law school to find a good fit. I am also trying to plan my wedding, which is scheduled for this coming December. And I am working on the paperwork that I need to submit for my fiancée’s K-1 visa, so that she can come live with me in the U.S. after we get married. It feels like everything is happening all at once. But, thanks to the experience and insight that I gained during the fall, I am able to manage all of these demands on my time and attention. Nonetheless, it will be a huge relief when I secure either summer employment or an externship. That will take a lot of the pressure off and allow me to focus more of my energy on my course work and preparation for final exams.