Columnist recounts first week at Washburn Law school

Liz Bernhart

Guess where I attend school? I have all of my classes in one building, my classes and instructors are chosen for me, I have the exact same people in all of my classes, and I have lockers and a lunch break. High school? Junior high maybe? Bet you wouldn’t guess graduate school! And it’s a very specific type of grad school known as law school. I am sure most of you know that we have a law school on our campus. However, I am also sure most of you have never been inside the building with the eagle out front. You probably feel like Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when the Tinker tells him, “nobody ever goes in; and nobody ever comes out!” Well sit back because today I am going to take you on a journey into the hallowed halls of our law school. Two weeks ago, I started my first year at Washburn Law. Want to know what happened? Then follow me!

When all Washburn students started class on August 18, the 1Ls (first year law students) were beginning our week of orientation. During this grueling week we got a glimpse of our now nonexistent lives. We were tortured with the Socratic Method (watch the Paper Chase), tricked into taking exams, forced to think outside the box and sift through dense, expansive, and difficult material. Sound like an affliction that violates our Eighth Amendment rights? Well maybe to an outsider but, at the end of the week, we were asked to pick one word to describe our experience. Strangely enough, the words consisted of enlightening, educational and exciting with an exhausting thrown in for good measure.

Washburn University School of Law is now in full swing. Our orientation might be over but the real work has only begun. We have thousands of pages to read, hundreds of cases to brief, and so many rules theories to memorize that it can seem daunting at times. I have already sacrificed sleep to study for an examination.

For those of you considering law school, please do not panic and decide to become underwater basket weavers instead. It’s a noble profession that requires great undertaking. As Dean Romig told the 1Ls at our barbeque, those in the legal profession can be cited as some of the greatest contributors to our country. Our predecessors helped write the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, two documents that are central to our country’s existence. With standards such as these, it is no wonder the professors expect us to work hard and be prepared. It is also why they are so willing to have an open door policy where any student can come and discuss issues that are giving us trouble. As we were told during orientation, Washburn University School of Law doesn’t want us to be lawyers. They want us to be good lawyers.