Series Finale

Meg Tanaka
J.D. Candidate 2013, UCI Law

As we approach the series finale of the Class of 2013 Law School Experience, a reflection on the past three seasons.

Season 1: Living in the Shadows

We came into law school with different experiences, expectations, and ambitions. However, the one thing that tied us all together, despite any differences, was that each of us decided to attend a new institution—an institution that emphasized serving the public interest, experiential learning, and nice people. Some of us approached law school with trepidation, confusion, and hesitation. Others of us approached law school with confidence, poise, and exuberance. In this new setting of casebooks and the sterility of Irvine, we also had to figure each other out, which was no easy task. Despite being on the same class schedule and seeing each other all day, every day, there was still plenty of character development for the next couple of seasons that revealed the depth of each person’s story.

Law school took a toll on us. We were shadows of ourselves and the shadows under our eyes from the lack of sleep became permanent. It was difficult to keep up with readings and assignments. There was a fear of the unknown. Would I make it through finals? Was law school the right choice for me? We were also in the shadows of the inaugural class, and naturally so, given that they were the group of dedicated students who initially created UCI Law. We looked up to our 2L classmates for guidance and support, although we often pushed back against being held to their standards. We believed in the same vision, but we were a different group of people who brought different skills and personalities to the school, which were not always acknowledged.

Season 2: Busy-ness As Usual

After surviving our first summers and OCI, we returned to campus and began to fall into a routine. The law student experience was not so new to us anymore, although the institution building was still an ongoing dialogue and process that required a lot of effort. We kept busy with Law Review, Moot Court, Mock Trial, and Jessup. We began to really develop student organizations and found ourselves committed to our pro bono projects. We took on demanding jobs and externships. There were memorable bar reviews and social events where we enjoyed each other’s company outside of the law school’s walls.

This was the first year that we had a complete law school with three classes.  Thus, it was also the first time UCI Law had enough people power to get things done. It was a time to welcome new faces and work together to define UCI Law.

Season 3: Keepin’ It Classy

Some things have changed. The school is much larger and has set its foundation, for the most part. Reading for classes is now our last priority, whether due to choice or lack of time. Some things have not changed. As the second class, our dedication to establishing both UCI Law and our identity, however each of us defines it, is still strong.

We started off in two mods, but we have come together as a class. Sure, not everyone gets along, but it seems as though we are now at the point where we can appreciate each member of our class. The go-getters, the happy hourers, the rule makers, the rule breakers, the socially-conscious, the socializing-conscious, the quiet, the loud, the silly, the serious, the thinkers, the actors. We are a class of characters. Our experience is not about any one of us. Instead, it is about all of us. We would not be the Class of 2013 that we are today if it were not for each member adding to the storyline.

Some of us are looking forward to the series finale, while others of us are sad to see the series end. We approach the conclusion of these memorable three seasons with mixed emotions. But who knows… maybe there will be a movie.