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Giving Thanks During the Holidays

1L, Seton Hall Law

1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. (Credit: www.history.com)
In celebration of Thanksgiving let’s gather around the table and talk turkey.
 

Law School offers a cornucopia of opportunities to pay it forward. Will you pay it forward as a law student this season? How?

As a first year law student at Seton Hall University, I have already been so fortunate to be surrounded by older law students who are willing to help and mentor the first years. From the first week of school, I met so many people who were willing to share outlines and were available for any questions that I may have had, even without the holiday spirit. I am so thankful for them because they helped make my transition into law school so much easier and I will definitely pay it forward to other law students in my class that may not have had the same chance to meet older students. I have been sharing outlines with my classmates and will continue to do so, especially because Thanksgiving is a crucial time to start studying for finals. My section has also become very close and we have offered our homes to other classmates who live farther away and cannot attend Thanksgiving, which means missing out on spending time with their own family. Thanksgiving is a time of giving and law school has taught me that my classmates and I are all in this together and must help each other out in any way that we can.

Thanksgiving Break – a time you’ve eagerly anticipated. Is this a prime time to study or do you do as the pardoned turkey does – eat and be merry without a care in the world?
 

For me, this is a time to do both eat and study, with more of a focus toward studying. On Thanksgiving, I will be with my family gobbling up as much food as I can as I have missed home cooked meals. This will be a great time to catch up with my family and a nice break before I start getting down to business. However, after Thursday, there will be no Black Friday shopping for me and I will be in the library studying. Being a first year law student, I have learned about how crucial grades are my first year (especially the first semester) because this is what I will be able to show potential employers when I start applying for jobs for the summer. This is a prime time to study and get all my outlining done because there will only be a few more days left of the semester when I return and I want to spend my reading days by preparing with practice problems and sample exams. I have made a schedule to keep myself on track, which includes spending a lot of time over Thanksgiving Break outlining. I had a Fall Break in October that I was able to enjoy thoroughly so now it is time for me to step it up and become as prepared as I can for finals. 

The cornucopia is a symbol of plenty or abundance, what or who are you most thankful for in law school and why?

I am most thankful for my family, professors, and friends as they all have served as my support system throughout my journey in law school thus far. Without my family’s support, I would have never been able to come to Seton Hall and I am very grateful for all that they have done for me. My parents now understand that I am not able to come home every weekend but they are very flexible and will come visit me so that we can see each other, even if it is for a short amount of time. They even drop off food for me every week because it is hard for me to cook while I am in school. This way, they get to see me and I get to eat healthy food every week! I am also very thankful for my professors that I have had in law school so far. Although I have not known them for very long, they all have encouraged and reaffirmed my decision to be a lawyer. Dean Alexander, my Introduction to Lawyering Professor, has said that the law is like a superpower and we are able to help those who cannot help themselves. Professor Franzese, who teaches Professional Responsibility, threw me a breakfast birthday party in September with so much food and presents and I was astonished. I felt so grateful and felt like I belonged at Seton Hall, even if this was only a month after being in school. Every day that I go to class is another day that reaffirms my decision of attending Seton Hall Law and shows that this is really where I want to be. I am also thankful for my friends, both from before and after law school. My friends that I had before law school understand that I am not available to hang out as much anymore, but understand that I have other things to do and when I do get a chance to see them, it is like nothing has changed. My friends in law school have become my support system daily and we all encourage each other to keep on pushing through every day and every week. My friend, Martina, always gives me a piece of chocolate when it is a rainy day and although a small act, it brightens my day and gets me through class. The comradery that I have seen in law school thus far is nothing like I have ever seen before and we all push each other to be the best we can be.

Turkey vs. To-furkey? Real vs. not-real? Your thoughts on keeping it real in law school.

The way to keep it real in law school is definitely to make time for yourself and your hobbies.  I personally love watching television and I still do that most days, making sure I keep up with my shows without interfering with law school reading and studying. Sometimes it is nice to take a few hours doing what you love, especially because it keeps you from getting burned out and stressed out from all the work (and there is always work to do). Time management is key in law school and I have learned that I work best on a routine schedule, which I have been able to follow.  

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