Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Welcoming New Faces to the Campus

Yesterday was "Admitted Students Day" at Vermont.  I manned the ASP table (so to speak) for several hours and had the opportunity to meet many wonderful (potential) new additions to the VLS community.  One of the wonderful and frustrating parts of manning the table was fielding fantastic questions about what admitted students should do to prepare for the fall. By their parents. 

It was wonderful to see the excitement and enthusiasm of so many future law students; I want to yell "Bottle it now! You will need all this enthusiasm this time next year!"  The world is theirs at the moment, and they should enjoy every minute of it. 

But I wanted to say something similar to the parents, "Bottle it now! Save all this support for this time next year! They will need it much more then!"  I see far too many students in my office this time of year after they have had battles with their parents over grades, learning disabilities, and time with family.   Too many parents insist nothing could be wrong with Bobby or Suzy, and this learning disability stuff is just nonsense-- they just need to study harder. So many of these bright, wonderful students have succeeded in life by masking and/or compensating for learning disabilities that come to the fore during the first year of law school.  Similarly, parents who insist Bobby or Suzy must attend cousin Betty's bridal shower in  Milwaukee become angry when Bobby or Suzy need to stay back in Vermont to prepare for exams.  These bright, wonderful students may have succeeded to this point in their life with little studying or prepping for exams, but it's not the same anymore.  All the enthusiasm and excitement about law school is needed when their children are in the trenches, before final exams, when care packages and understanding are most important.

Parents and loved ones are such a critical part of the success of any law student.  I am thrilled to see parents celebrating their children's success by getting into law school, but we need more of that throughout the law school experience--not just at the beginning and the end.
(RCF)

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