Diary of a 3L: What I Wish I Knew

By Sarah Ricciardi

You know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun?” Well, time also flies when you’re as busy as $&#%. With only a couple semesters left of my law school career, I thought I’d share some “pearls of wisdom” that might make your time at UConn Law go by a little smoother.

First, a few reassurances. All the talk of “Westlaw” and “Lexis” will become infinitely clearer over time, I promise. All you need to know now is that you’re going to love Westlaw and hate Lexis – just like everyone else. And “shepardizing” is not nearly as biblical – or horrible – as it sounds. And you will be told over and over again to “brief” cases for homework. It’s annoying and time-consuming. But you won’t have to do it forever. One day you’re going to wake up and some- one’s gonna ask you, “hey, did you brief the cases?” And you’re gonna be like, “Psssh no.” And you won’t even feel bad about it.

Establish relationships with your professors NOW. You’re going to need references eventually, and they will be that much more powerful if the professor knows more about you than that you sat in the back row and rarely brushed your hair.

The concept of “gunner” is going to become painfully obvious soon enough. For now, just do your best not to be one. That label will follow you all three years. Raise your hand if you know the answer or if you have a question. Don’t raise your hand to listen to your own voice. Everyone will hate you and you will find gum in your hair.

Truffles is our campus cafeteria. It’s in the basement of Hosmer Hall. Don’t be fooled by its location. It’s a great place to grab lunch, and the snicker- doodle cookies are awesome. But beware – it’s usually closed by 3pm. Eat early or go hungry.

Now, this might seem rather obvious, but I’m going to mention it any- way: Get. Good. Grades. 1L grades are the key to your 2L summer position. Your 2L summer position is the key to your post-graduate career. If you slack your 1L year, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle for the rest of law school. I’m not saying you have to be a brainiac. Just put forth your best effort. When that little voice in your head says “I’ll study later, I’d rather watch three episodes of ‘Bachelor in Paradise” make the grown up decision. Watch Law & Order instead.

Last but certainly not least – what- ever you do, avoid dalliances with classmates in your section. You will be spending A LOT of time with these people. And this is an incredibly small school. If you’re not willing to commit to abstention indefinitely, at least wait a few weeks. Get your seat assignments. No one wants to sit next to “last night’s drunken indiscretion” for 18 weeks.

I submit to you that, if you follow at least some of this advice, when you get to graduation you’ll be happier than a bedbug in a mattress store. Fact.