Freshman Reflections (by Sam Coten)

Sam is a first year law student from Perth, Western Australia. 

That time of my life has finally come– the one that everyone tells me was the best time of their lives. A time for working hard and playing harder. It needed to happen: I was ready for a challenge and it was time to move on. I’d bought all my books and colour-coded my timetable. I had my student ID photo taken and changed my place of study on Facebook, just like every other ‘fresher’. I’d sussed out the best coffee joint, taken my pick of clubs to join and received my guild sticker. My dear young first year, welcome to law school.

Week one had me buzzing– I was beside myself with excitement and was ready for anything. With that in mind, I’d been on holiday for the three months following year 12, and it’s taken a while for all my cognitive parts to readjust. Until this week my self-discipline had disseminated somewhere beyond salvation, and my brain has wasted away on standby to the point of idiocy. That’s not to say I didn’t try to keep engaged over the break– it’s just that binging on episodes of Rake, Suits and How to Get Away with Murder is a little less cognitively demanding than studying the intricacies of Australian legal citation.

I’d dreamt of starting law school for far too long. In the weeks leading up to day one, my mind was enthralled by the thought of all that self-driven learning; the flexible hours and creative freedom. The lazy mornings in bed and some crazy late nights in the library that would then become ridiculously early mornings. I’m thirsting to see where these next five years take me; the places, the cases and the people.

My long-awaited transition to law school is refreshing. I feel at home among my viscously smart, quick-witted law lecturers. Walking into my first tutorial, or even stepping onto campus for the first time, my stomach did not churn once. Because even though this is my first week at university, there’s nothing new here. Law school was just always where I belonged.

Looking ahead, it’s no secret that law school is going to throw its fair share of challenges my way. By all accounts, I’m only at the start of what undeniably looks to be a gauntlet of pressure and struggle. It’s daunting, but it doesn’t bother me– I know how to manage it. All I can do is stick to my routine– and I know that sounds all things awful and boring and regimental, but it works! Because the way I see it, if I can lock in a routine early on in the piece that allows me to work hard and play harder, law school and I will be just fine.

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