When deciding to go to law school, many of the people I consulted told me of the cutthroat practices among law students: classmates ripping pages out of casebooks, destroying each other’s class notes and giving false answers in study sessions. It was with apprehension I began establishing my relationships with the other incoming students.
The truth is law school by its nature creates a competitive environment. Long gone are the days of an “A” for effort. Pressures from class rankings and the forced curve are obstacles that can be hard to overcome. Learning among brilliant, talented and diverse students creates an intellectual culture that most will never encounter in undergraduate studies. It can be both rewarding and frustrating at the same time.
During my first semester at KU Law, I was exposed to the balance between competition and congeniality. When I missed class, classmates from my small section emailed me class notes before I asked for help. The weeks before finals, we spent our time together, studying and encouraging each other. We are there for each other in both our academic and personal lives. In my short time at KU Law, my classmates have become my family who I lean on during difficult times and support during theirs.
Law school is competitive, legal jobs are competitive, and we all want to succeed. Despite the common thread of far-reaching goals, we are all searching in the dark together trying to decode the text and transform it into knowledge. We are not only peers, but also friends and future colleagues. At KU Law, success is not defined by a number on paper, but by the ability to compete while creating lasting relationships.
— Julia Leth-Perez is a first-year law student and KU Law Student Ambassador from Wichita, Kansas.
'Everywhere you've lived and all the jobs you've ever had': Tips from a 3L to prepare for the final year of law school
As my time at Green Hall winds down, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learned. I’m not talking about which classes to take or how to study. Instead, as I scramble to finish my bar application by the deadline, I want to share five practical life tips so hopefully 1Ls and 2Ls will be more prepared than I am.
First, when you take the MPRE, it will ask you to select your reporting state. Maybe I’m the only one who made this mistake, but I understood that to mean where you go to school. For some reason, I thought the score would be reported to the school, and then I would get it from there. Wrong. Your reporting state is wherever you plan to take the bar. If you change your mind later, or if you’ve already taken it and made the same mistake I did, it will just cost you $25 to transfer the score, so it’s not the end of the world. But it’s still one more thing I had to do for my bar application.
Second, start writing down all of the addresses of everywhere you’ve lived and all of the jobs you’ve ever had. For the bar application, you will need to include your addresses for the past 10 years. Luckily, for Missouri at least, you’ll only need the full addresses for the past three years, and after that you’ll just need city and state. But it can still be a challenge to think back that far. For your employment, you’ll need to remember when and where you worked, the address and phone number, and your boss’s name. If you’re like me and you had a summer job at a retail store one year in college, you might have forgotten some of these details. Write them down while you remember, or look everything up now so that when the time comes, you can just copy and paste all of that over to the application.
Third, while we’re on the topic of the bar application, start saving now. I know that might not be possible for everyone, but if you have even just $50 or $100 extra a month, put it in a savings account or just make sure not to spend it. You’ll have to pay quite a bit for any of the bar review courses, and the actual bar exam application itself costs a lot. Right now for Missouri, it’s $910 just to apply, plus whatever I owe for the bar review course. And the worst part is you’re going to owe all of this right at the same time. So put away as much as you can right now so it’s not too overwhelming when you get to this point.
Fourth, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of graduation, but make sure you think of a plan early, especially if you have family and friends coming from out of the area. My family is coming from the West Coast, so my mom booked hotels all the way back in August and got the last three rooms at that hotel. Also, places like the Oread and Johnny’s will book their event rooms quickly, so if you’re thinking of having a party with your friends, get on it early in the semester. Remember, we aren’t the only ones graduating that weekend. Plan ahead and get everything taken care of by September or October at the latest so you don’t end up getting shut out.
Finally, enjoy your last year! Go to events you haven’t been to yet. The law school has so many great ones all year, like Casino Night, Pub Night, the Halloween party and, of course, Law Prom. Most importantly, enjoy winter and spring breaks. Even if you don’t go anywhere or do anything super fun, just relax and watch TV and sleep in. Unless you end up being a teacher some day, these are probably the last breaks of your life until you retire. Yikes! So make the most of them!
— Michele Kraak is a third-year law student and KU Law Student Ambassador from Oklahoma City.
I first heard of the television show, “American Ninja Warrior” (ANW), when one of my classmates confessed that he could not stop watching it. I stifled a laugh as I thought of “Wipeout,” a television show intended to produce comedy rather than competition—but ANW is no laughing matter. Consisting of an obstacle course that demands agility, endurance and grip strength, only three competitors in 34 seasons of the show have ever touched the final buzzer.ANW intrigued me immediately. The course plays well to my strengths, and I am always on the lookout for a physical challenge to shake off the psychological distress that so often accompanies law school. Exercise as a tool to combat stress and elevate mood is well documented. The researchers of one study reported that participation in any form of daily activity was associated with reduced risk for all types of psychological distress, even when controlling for factors, such as age, gender, SES, marital status, BMI, chronic illness, and smoking.1 Research has also consistently shown that exercise alone can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.2It has even been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication in the treatment of clinical depression,3 which may not come as a surprise, given that exercise acts on the same pathways in the brain that antidepressant medications target.4I have always been active, but during law school I have made a concerted effort to capture the stress reducing and mood enhancing effects of exercise. One method I have used is to commit myself to demanding activities. During my first semester I trained for a winter backpacking trip to a mountain cabin that sits at 12,000 feet. During my second semester I trained for and completed a triathlon. Many law students put aside their personal life and health in their efforts to become a lawyer.5 Research shows the incidence of clinical depression among law students to be as high as 40 percent.6Incidence of other symptoms such as clinically elevated anxiety and hostility among law students have been measured at 15 times the general population.7This significantly exceeds the emotional distress of medical students, and even approaches that of psychiatric populations.8 Most troubling is that these problems seem to carry over into professional practice. In a Johns Hopkins study, practicing lawyers ranked highest in major depressive disorder among 104 occupational groups.9 At the beginning of my 2L year, I was in need of a new physical challenge. So when I discovered ANW I thought, why not audition? I organized a training regimen around the obstacles on the ANW course: rock climbing, strength training, agility drills, and mobility work. This was certainly a time commitment, but intense training took my mind completely away from law school, and soreness was something to feel good about—especially when I was stuck in a chair for most of the day. When I got the announcement that auditions videos were being accepted, I recruited some of my cinematographer friends to capture my best ANW moves, and a little personality, on film. Along with 7,000 other ANW hopefuls, I submitted an audition tape and waited.10I got the call during finals. I had taken three tests, had two to go, and, at that point, had forgotten what ANW was. Still, I was awarded one of 400 slots to compete on ANW. The competition would happen in Denver 10 days after I was scheduled to take my last final. All I could do at the moment was make a note to buy a flight to Denver, and I went back to my study carrel.Check in for the competition was at Denver’s Civic Center Park. The obstacle course constructed there took 10 semi-trailers to transport and a staff of 130 to assemble.11Security staff was on hand to keep the public—and competitors—outside of the gates surrounding it. They bristled as other competitors and I loitered at the gates, peering in at the obstacles and running through them in our heads. The competitors were divided into two groups. The start times for the obstacle course was an obstacle in itself, with the first group running the course between sunset and 1 a.m., and the second group running between 1 a.m. and sunrise. I was assigned to the first group, and we were finally allowed inside the gates surrounding the course but only for a demonstration of each obstacle. We were not permitted to attempt or otherwise touch any of the obstacles. After the sun went down, the temperature dropped into the mid-40s. The challenge quickly became to stay warm and loose. The designated warm-up area was equipped with pull-up bars and a vault trampoline; not ideal equipment to stay warm for hours on end. Sleeping bags appeared all around, and many competitors disappeared into them. My turn to run the course came just after 11 p.m. To see how I did, you will have to watch the show, but I can say I was awarded the “Warrior Wipeout of the Day.” Not exactly what I had in mind, but being featured on the show, especially in slow motion, bodes well for making a repeat attempt at the course, which I’m training for now. After all, I have another year of law school, and I need a little competition to get my mind outside the walls of Green Hall. — Zen Mayhugh is a third-year law student at the University of Kansas. He hopes to practice in recreation risk management. You can watch his audition video and the ANW episode in which he was featured on his blog at www.zenmayhugh.blogspot.com. This article first appeared in the November/December issue of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association.Footnotes1. Mark Hamer, Emmanuel Stamatakis, & Andrew Steptoe, Dose response relationship between physical activity and mental health: The Scottish health survey, 42 Brit. J. Sports Med. 238 (2008).2. Stuart J.H. Biddle & Nanette Mutrie Psychology of Phsycial Activity: Determinants, Well-Being and Interventions(2007); Lynette L. Craft & Daniel M. Landers, The effect of exercise on clinical depression and depression resulting from mental illness: A meta-analysis, 20 J. Sport & Exercise Psychol. 339 (1998); Bonita C. Long & Rosemary van Stavel, Effects of exercise training on anxiety: A meta-analysis, 7 J. Applied Sport Psychol. 167 (1995).3. James A. Blumenthal, et al., Effects of exercise training on older patients with major depression, 159 Archives of Internal Med. 2349 (1999).4. C.P. Ransford, A role for amines in the antidepressant effect of exercise, 14 Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1 (1982).5. Lawrence S. Krieger, Institutional Denial About the Dark Side of Law School, and Fresh Empirical guidance for Constructively Breaking the Silence, 52 J. Legal Educ. 112 (2002).6. Id., at 114. 7. Id. 8. Kennon M. Sheldon & Lawrence S. Krieger, Understanding the Negative Effects of Legal Education on Law Students: A Longitudinal Test of Self-Determination Theory, 33 Personality Soc. Psychol. Bull. 883 (2007).9. Krieger, supra note 5, at 114. 10. Alexandra Cheney, How to Beat the “American Ninja Warrior”Obstacle Course, The Wall Street Journal (June 29, 2013), http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/06/29/how-to-beat-the-american-ninja-warrior-obstacle-course/.
Law school, on the other hand, is not so nice.
Over the past year and a half, every time I begin to feel like I know what I’m doing and maybe I’m getting this lawyer thing down, I am pushed to try something new. As a result, I have had a whole host of experiences I would not have expected before starting at KU Law.
1L year was full of these moments because I just had no clue what was happening. In Lawyering, rather than just talk about what oral arguments were, we had to do our own oral argument. Sure, it was only 10 minutes for a mere 10 points in front of the most laid-back professor in the building. Even so, I panicked for days beforehand and my classy/professional look was sullied by some major sweat stains. And yet, I survived, and now I know how to do an oral argument.
Over the summer, I worked at a litigation firm. Midway through the summer, we did an all-day trial practice program. As a 1L, I had not yet taken Evidence; the only trial techniques I knew were the ones I learned from Law & Order SVU. Armed with a few questions I threw together and a vague idea of what I was trying to accomplish, I stumbled my way through a direct examination of a witness. I did not know how to get my witness to go where I wanted him to go. I did not know when or how to object. I literally said at one point, “Uh, I don’t know how to say what I’m trying to say.” IN FRONT OF THESE AMAZING TRIAL ATTORNEYS I WAS TRYING DESPERATELY TO IMPRESS. I was terrified. I sucked. And yet, I survived, and now I know how to do a direct exam.
This year I have a judicial internship for a district court judge in Kansas City. Even after a year of Lawyering and a summer of legal writing, this internship has been a totally different experience. It’s a whole new ball game when there are real people with real problems involved. The stakes are high when I know my draft order will influence whether a plaintiff can pursue his or her complaint or whether we will dismiss the complaint altogether. Whether it’s an employment discrimination claim or a civil rights action, people trust the courts to give them a fair and just result. The judge and his clerks are counting on me to provide a comprehensive, accurate draft order. Every time I turn something in, I feel nervous and question whether I got it right. And yet again, I have survived, and each week I feel more confident that I can write a good draft order.
Law school has pushed me out of my comfort zone in a big way. KU Law professors and the surrounding employers and mentors understand that the only way to prepare us for practice is to push us into the deep end. They offer us opportunities to safely try new skills with minimal potential for failure. We receive meaningful and constructive feedback so that when the time comes to do all this lawyer stuff for real, we’ll be ready. As terrifying as it can be, they are teaching us how to swim.
— Jordan Carter is a second-year law student and a KU Law Student Ambassador from Topeka, Kansas.
On Oct. 18, law students and friends dressed up, ready for an evening to remember. The reason to put down their casebooks and highlighters and forget about the stress of law school? Public Interest Law Society’s 10th annual Casino Night. The events included poker, blackjack and roulette, as well as food, libations and plenty of music. Upon entering the “casino,” guests were given casino chips to play at the various games. The more chips a person had, the higher their odds of winning prizes at the end of the night. Chips were cashed in at the end of the night for raffle tickets. Guests were then encouraged to place their tickets in the basket corresponding to the prize they wished to win.
For an additional $15 charity donation, guests could enter the prestigious poker tournament overseen by Professor Dennis Prater. One poor player found himself losing all his chips within the first hand dealt. The lucky remaining three players battled for prizes: a 23rd Street Brewery gift card, a $100 Cabela’s gift card and the grand prize of two Big XII Men’s Basketball Tournament tickets to all sessions at the Sprint Center come spring.
This annual event not only encourages students to explore careers and opportunities in public interest law, but also raises money to extend stipends to students who volunteer at public interest law organizations such as Kansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Disability Rights Center, and American Federation of Government Employees. Public interest lawyers rely on grants to work hard for human rights, to represent the underprivileged, and fight for the “little guy.” This year, the PILS executive team is proud to announce that Casino Night raised more than $2,500 to be donated toward the stipend.
— Jacqueline Ratkey is a second-year law student and president of the KU Public Interest Law Society.
Carothers patiently and enthusiastically answered students’ questions. Several were curious about the Foreign Service Officer Test. Her test experience, she shared, was at the time a horrifying one that has now ripened into a funny story. After feeling unsure of how the exam went, she waited anxiously to receive her results, only to receive the letter she had not been hoping for. Shortly after this disappointment, she received another letter informing accepted applicants that a position was open and needed to be filled immediately. Confused, she called to inquire whether she would be able to serve this recently opened position. As it turns out, she was initially sent the wrong letter! She had passed and was accepted as a Foreign Service Officer, but due to a mix-up she had been sent a letter stating just the opposite. From that story, Carothers shared the piece of advice she found most helpful during this process: Live like you won’t be accepted into the Foreign Service. Because there is a large degree of uncertainty as to when a Foreign Service Officer will be leaving and exactly where they will be going, it is best to use those times of waiting to chase after opportunities as though you are unemployed and explore chances you might not have taken otherwise.
Perhaps most interestingly, Carothers prefers to refer to herself as someone who went to law school rather than referring to herself as a lawyer. This isn’t just because she is no longer a member of the Kansas Bar; it is because she is not practicing the law the way people commonly envision. She still reads through statutes and wades through agency regulations, much like a lawyer does. But she doesn't appear in court before a judge, which is what most people think of when they think of lawyers. What her legal education has given her is not a career that people commonly envision. It has given her the ability and comfort level necessary to work through statutes, something that her colleagues who have not been to law school lack. Rather than reading a 15-page manual on how to adhere to a particular regulation, she can read the statue itself. This is how she incorporates her legal training into a career serving her country.
— Story by Kasey Considine, ILS President
Summer in Bangladesh yields scholarship, philanthropy opportunities for students studying garment industry
Overnight, the industry came under fire and the pair’s priorities shifted.
“We wanted to give a new, objective perspective on what the industry is really like now,” Rahman said. “Media perspective was very skewed, and we wanted to provide an objective account of what was going on and what changes were being made.”
Heeren and Rahman tour the slums of Dhaka.To get that inside look, the pair reached out to Bangladesh’s former Minister of Commerce, the chairman of the board of foreign direct investment, business owners and workers. They toured factories and slums and left with a complex view of the industry.
“You look at the news and people think the conditions are so awful and these people are working for such a low wage,” Rahman said. “But it’s provided a lot of jobs for people who otherwise would be on the street begging.”
In the past 10 years, Bangladesh has become the second leading manufacturer of textiles and apparel in the world, behind only China. Demand for inexpensive clothing is immense, and increasing wages could mean layoffs for Bangladesh’s eager workforce.
“Manufacturers come to Bangladesh because it’s cheapest,” Rahman said. “If wages are raised, they would just go to Cambodia or Vietnam.”
While the negative examples capture media attention, Heeren and Rahman toured factories that surpass U.S. safety standards. They witnessed fire training, observed safety codes and examined personnel files documenting workers’ ages and status. The pair acknowledges that these standards are not as widespread as they should be and that “rotten apples” affect perception of the entire industry. Reform is a long, costly and laborious process.
Heeren and Rahman with new KU fans in Bangladesh.“There is a tug-of-war between not raising prices and having safety standards that meet regulations,” Rahman said. “It’s a hard balance.”
While Heeren and Rahman came away with a nuanced view of the garment industry, their commitment to understanding it and improving lives in Bangladesh is stronger than ever. The students are writing a paper about their observations and launched a nonprofit called United Across Borders to provide clothing and assistance to workers. Heeren described the irony of touring factories that churn out millions of garments each day, only to step outside and see people who don’t have adequate clothing. Both students plan to pursue international careers, whether they work in trade, industry or regulation and compliance.
Beyond career ambitions and humanitarian aspirations, the experience affected the duo on a personal level.
“I went shopping the other day and started looking at tags and where clothing is coming from,” Heeren said. “I think of the people doing hard, manual labor. It definitely makes you think.”
The pair is grateful to KU’s International and Comparative Law faculty for giving them the resources and direction to pursue their research.
“This wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t come here: being able to go abroad, doing international legal work, having met Aqmar,” Heeren said. “Everything was all because I came here to KU Law.”
— Story by Emily Sharp
For most Americans, the end of November is defined by cathartic thankfulness, warm feelings of holiday anticipation, and pumpkin-flavored everything coming from nearly every direction. The traditional “Three F’s” — Friends, Family, and Football — are evident all around, affording even the most dysfunctional relatives a seasonal respite of congeniality. For folks from my native Kansas City, no Thanksgiving would be complete without participating in one of the city’s oldest traditions: watching the lighting ceremony at the Country Club Plaza, ushering in the holiday season with tens of thousands of our KC neighbors.
For law students, however, the end of November is defined by significantly less cuddly feelings. Instead of thankfulness and holiday anticipation, we tend to feel crabbiness and exam anxiety, and many of our relatives will be less inclined than ever to sit with us at dinner. The end of November elicits an entirely different series of F’s: Fatigue, Forgetfulness, and Finals (among other F-words, I’m sure). And the only lighting ceremony this Kansas City boy is likely to see will happen in my parent’s basement as I shuffle from one study space to another.
(Although I must admit that my November has seen its fair share of pumpkin-flavored deliciousness; nonfat, no-whip pumpkin spice latte is my lifeblood.)
To be sure (and as is evident from the above), law students have a flair for hyperbole (or as my non-law friends like to describe me: over-dramatic). We are convinced that ours is the most difficult graduate program available, and we like to remind ourselves and others of how much work we still have to do. Indeed, if there is a road less traveled, it is the one that we have chosen, and we are surely hoeing it down with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
In many respects, these attitudes are valid: law school certainly ranks among the hardest things that any of us will do in our lives. But amidst all the stress and time crunch and lack of sleep that accompanies the Finals Countdown, it is easy to forget what this season is really about: gratitude for the good things that exist in your life.
Last week, I posted a status on Facebook asking my classmates to write about “Things to be thankful for at KU Law.” The response was overwhelming: nearly 30 replies within the first half-hour (and I’m not even very popular). The wide response prompted me to open the question to faculty and staff. I figured I might get a reply from one or two of the professors whose offices are near my study desk; surely they would feel guilty having to pass by me so often and would eventually email me back. Again I was surprised: nearly every faculty and staff member I emailed sent me a message. Beyond being shocked at the breadth of the responses, I was moved and encouraged by the substance of the answers I received.
In particular, students were thankful for our “approachable, yet brilliant, professors” who “actually care about how you’re doing outside of the classroom,” who “go to bat for me when I least expect it,” and who “not only give career advice, but who have reassured me many a time that it’s OK — just breathe.” But on top of our professors’ teaching and mentorship capabilities, students were also consistently thankful for “Professor Westerbeke’s apple fritters,” “Professor Rosenberg’s Twitter,” “lunch time with Professor Ware,” “Professor Yuille’s Muncher’s Bakery surprises,” “the ongoing (and endlessly entertaining) Prater/Hecker feud,” and “Leah Terranova: enough said.”
But the onslaught of love toward faculty and staff certainly wasn’t one-sided. Indeed, faculty and staff were thankful for “great students” “who readily participate in class,” for “the opportunity to spend time with future leaders,” for “amazing Lawyering TAs,” and “for thankful students who take time to be thankful” — clearly, students have much to be thankful for. One professor summed up his colleagues nicely, saying, “I'm most thankful for the KU Law students. You all make this the best job in the world. I get up every morning and look forward to going to work. Not very many people can say that. And I don’t care if this sounds cheesy, I mean it.”
I suppose most law students are thankful for their faculty and vice versa. Without law professors, no students could learn Property or Secured Transactions or Civil Procedure. Without law students, professors and administrators wouldn’t have anyone to distribute their knowledge and skills to. And I also suppose that most law students are thankful for the opportunity to chase their dreams and become lawyers especially at a premier law school like KU. Such thankfulness was immediately apparent in the responses I received.
But also apparent, and ultimately much more important, was that KU Law — despite being a training ground for a crop of driven, Type A students in an academic field that drips with pressure and anxiety — has created a community that we are all proud of and truly consider our home. Whether it’s “fourth-floor chit-chatters, students and professors alike,” “great colleagues like everyone — which makes KU Law an especially wonderful place to teach,” or “friends who see you struggling and bring you and your kids dinner twice in one week,” the community at KU Law is special and demonstrates the difference between a good law school and an extraordinary law school. It is something we can all be thankful for.
And because my colleagues in Green Hall are endlessly more eloquent and wise than I can ever hope to be, I can only add that I am thankful for the Holy Trinity that holds me together and gives me hope for the future: Bill Self, Andrew Wiggins, and Dean Mazza. My KU Law experience would not be the same without these men.
Happy holidays. RCJH.
— Jake McMillian, 2L, is a KU Law Student Ambassador from Kansas City, Kan.
The number of activities you can choose to be involved in during law school seem endless. When I started at KU Law, I was overwhelmed asking myself questions like, "Which groups should I join? How many? Which groups will help me handle law school? Do any groups continue after law school?" And, of course, the question I ask myself everyday, "Do I have time?!"
Joining Phi Alpha Delta was the solution. Phi Alpha Delta (P.A.D.) is an international law fraternity that provides benefits both while in law school and once you are out in the professional world. P.A.D. has a large network of student and alumni chapters and allows members to be involved as much or as little as they choose. One of the main things that drew me to join P.A.D. was the ability to provide through just one organization the many things I knew would be hard to keep up with while in law school: philanthropic activities, social events, leadership involvement, and professional development.
P.A.D. seeks to advance integrity, compassion and courage through service to the student, the school, the profession, and the community. The KU Law chapter of P.A.D. has a lot of exciting things planned this upcoming school year. We recently completed our first outline advice meeting, and will be holding a finals advice meeting later this month. P.A.D. also is planning an upcoming social event after the 1Ls finish their last open memos. In the spring semester, P.A.D. will host a powder puff football tournament, participate in Relay for Life, hold a session with interview preparation tips, and much more. Our social, philanthropy, alumni relations, and academic committees are a great way to get involved without having to dedicate too much of your much-needed study time.
New members are welcome to join P.A.D. anytime, and there will be an initiation early next spring. Above all, the best thing about P.A.D. is that everything we do involves spending time with some really great law students, who quickly have become my best friends in law school.
— Genni Hursh is president of the KU Law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta.
Aside from my short stint as a Grandview Gator, I have been a Wildcat since middle school. The mascots of both my middle school and high school were of the feline persuasion, and I attended Kansas State University, home of the Wildcats!
I was raised to be Wildcat.
It didn’t hurt that I come from a family of K-State graduates. (Aside from my mom, who graduated from KU’s nursing program. However, that was never spoken of and ultimately ignored for the greater good of family peace and harmony.) My dad dressed me in purple from the moment I was born, and my kid brother got the same treatment. From the moment we moved to Kansas, we attended almost every home football game, every bowl game, and every K-State event in between. My aunts, uncles, and cousins all followed in the same tradition, and we were a unit of purple-wearing, wildcat-loving, alma mater-cheering K-State fans.
If you’re not from Kansas, it is important that I note here the rivalry between K-State and KU. My parents raised me to be a kind, caring, accepting person, but made sure I knew I could throw all of those qualities out the window if I ran into smack-talking KU fan. This was my childhood. This was our tradition. The good-natured fun of the rivalry was something I grew up loving and having fun with.
Then, the unthinkable happened: I decided to attend the University of Kansas School of Law.
When I was making the choice between law schools, my family was (mostly) supportive. They knew KU was the best law school in the area for me. So much so, that during the decision-making process they constantly stood in KU’s corner and advocated for me to enroll here. My dad even publically acknowledged his pride in me being accepted to KU. (Notice the profile picture that has not changed since he created his Facebook account).
(That’s as much of an endorsement as KU will ever get from him.)
Fast-forward to present: I am smack dab in the middle of my law school career at the University of Kansas, and I could not be happier with my choice. Outside of the law school, Lawrence holds so much charm and is so different from any other town I’ve ever visited in Kansas. It’s such a unique place to live, and I’m lucky to get to experience it.
Inside the law school, I’ve never stopped wearing my purple. I might be teased by a few friends, but the thing I enjoy the most about KU Law is how accepting both students and faculty are of all different personalities and backgrounds. It is truly a melting pot of all types of people from all over the United States. I’m lucky enough to work and learn in an atmosphere where the real treasure is the people I’m learning with and from. The professors are genuine (and loyal KU fans, I might add) and the students are open-minded and friendly.
I’m still rocking my K-State swag, along with my other classmates who are representing their own alma maters. We all give Green Hall a little piece of where we come from. There is camaraderie in what we’re doing here, and I couldn’t have picked a better community to do it in.
I’m still a wildcat, but KU doesn’t mind. In fact, I think they appreciate the diversity. Ultimately, KU was the best choice for me, and I have no regrets.
— Ashlyn Lindskog is a 2L and KU Law Student Ambassador.