GUEST BLOG By Harrison Thorne,
2L at UCLA School of Law
Now that school has been in session for a bit over a month, I felt now would be a good time to talk about my experiences so far as a transfer student. I will do so by talking about my fears going in, and whether or not they came to fruition.
1) I wasn’t smart enough
UCLA is a great school. It is ranked much higher than my previous school. Therefore, I figured I would not be able to cut it amongst such brilliant faculty and students.
This has proven to be completely false. While classes are still very challenging, I was, and am, ready to meet these difficulties. I work very hard, but not disproportionately so to when I was at my previous school.
2) People won’t like me
We’d all like to think we are “past” seeking acceptance. However, we aren’t.
I was concerned that I would not fit in at UCLA because I was not “one of them.” However, this, too, has proven to be completely false. People at UCLA have been warm, accepting, and collegial. When I tell someone I am a transfer student, they often ask me if I need help figuring out things (like the complex online student page), or whether I am liking classes. The student body at UCLA has been extremely warm. Moreover, there are approximately forty transfer students, so I am amongst friends, so to speak.
3) Classes will focus too much on ivory tower issues instead of the law
People often say that at higher ranked schools, the classes focus on policy and academic issues over the substance of legal theory. I have found this to be partially true, but mostly false.
First off, it is true that UCLA offers many more policy-based courses than my old school. There are Law & Economic courses, business policy courses, academia-based courses, and similar others. However, the “nitty-gritty” courses, such as evidence, are very much rooted in the practice of law. In fact, many of my professors are and were former trial attorneys, and many of them have a great deal of real-world experience.
Overall, I would say that UCLA, and transferring in general, has been a great experience. I took a giant leap of faith by leaving my comfort zone, but it has definitely paid off. I am working harder than ever, but I love what I am learning, I respect my professors, and I enjoy my classmates. What more could I ask for?