Good Faith Advice

Per Curium.

Dear UCI Law Community:

We have had an amazing run as your friendly neighborhood advice-givers for the last two years but now we have to move on. It breaks our hearts, sure, but we are hoping goodbye really means “until we find replacements to carry on the good and reputable names of Gertrude and Socrates.”

We would like to find two new people to take over this column, but we realize we will first need to explain the reason we started this column and why we think it should live on beyond us. Last year, we were just like everyone else: two students navigating our second year of law school trying to figure everything out. It came to our attention that there was some tension developing between the first year students and the 2Ls and 3Ls. This tension revolved around the fact that the upperclassmen felt that the 1Ls were not going to carry on UCI Law’s culture and that they were not involved enough in pro bono work and student groups. Current 1Ls, I am sure you are surprised this occurred.

Anyway, as we saw that the school was struggling to integrate all the classes and create a hodgepodge of UCI Law culture, we decided we wanted to try to create a safe space for students to ask general questions and for others who had gone through those experiences to answer them. We did not want it to be about “Oh hey, we’re the 2Ls and we know SO MUCH MORE about life, the universe, and everything, compared to the 1Ls.” We just wanted to facilitate open discussions and give general advice, for students who might feel isolated or who think they are the only ones going through the things we all are going through.

So we started this column. We chose to be anonymous because (1) at least one of us always wanted to be a superhero with a regular everyday identity and a super-awesome super-secret identity and (2) because we thought that people would be more comfortable asking us questions if they did not know who we were but knew that we gave good faith advice. We were prepared to be overjoyed if one student read our response to a question and felt a lot better about themselves and more prepared to tackle the challenges of law school.

At the end of the run, we have been part of every issue of the Voice since our inception and we’ve been privileged to answer questions and address student concerns. We would like this article to continue because we think that there’s still a need for upperclassman to share their experiences and advice with one another and with 1Ls in a space where defenses are not up and where assumptions are not made. We hope there are two students that think so too.

I, Gertrude, have grown greatly during my time at UCI Law. My classmates have taught me to put my focus on the collective success of my peers. Through this I have gained a sense of community at the school. I am grateful for all of the experiences I have had at UCI and I am both sad and excited for my friends to graduate and go their separate ways in May. My sadness comes from the fact that many of them will be moving away, but my excitement comes from the fact that they are leaving to change the world for the better. I hope that we can take the culture created here at UCI Law and pass it on to where ever we may end up. Thank you all for supporting me through classes, through life’s personal challenges, and even through reading this column. Each and everyone of you has made a positive impact in my life.

Finally, I, Socrates, want to say that I love UCI so much. I will miss the collaborative community I have experienced here. It makes me so sad to realize how quickly the three years have gone by, but I am incredibly thankful that I have learned so much. Some of my education has been through attending classes and learning to think more critically, sure, but the bulk of what I have learned is from other students. The support, encouragement, and the spirit of noncompetitiveness I have experienced from my classmates is something I know I will probably never see again outside the borders of the school. Even though I know I will be graduating with many of you on May 10, it still surprises me that I can stand beside so many people that I know are going to make the world a better place, and who will continue contributing to the legal community in a positive way. I am so proud we have come this far, and I look forward to what the future will bring for all of us, and for the next generation of UCI Law students. Thank you for allowing me to attend this school with the highest caliber of future attorneys that the country has ever seen.

That’s right, ABA – put that in your pipe and smoke it.