By Jessica Chinnadurai • September 05, 2016•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence
Just a few short weeks ago, I started off the beginning of the school year by fulfilling my duties as a Student Ambassador for the law school, which meant that I was involved in 1L orientation. This meant a lot of new introductions to nervous, starry-eyed peers whose shoes I was in just one year ago. I consider it a privilege to offer advice and insights about my personal experiences in a way that I hope prospective and new students can utilize. I’ve always valued that sort of information from others as I begin a new chapter myself, so I consider it a “pay it forward” type of action.
The beginning of the school year also included several welcome back parties and happy hours, to get the 1Ls to mingle with everyone and give the upperclassmen the opportunity to reunite with friends and classmates we hadn’t seen all summer. Inevitably, gossip about everyone and anyone swirled around us, which got me thinking about the different types of people I’ve encountered while in school so far. I was reminded of those articles I see online that are done in list fashion: “The Ten Personality Types you Should Date” or “The Seven Types of People you Meet in College.” So I thought it might be fun to reflect on and make a list of my own.
Here’s “The Five People You Should Befriend in Law School”:
The Advice Giver
It’s probably unsolicited advice that they give, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not useful. Maybe they’re older and feel the need to impart wisdom on you. Or maybe they’ve just been through a lot. Whatever the case, hear them out. They might even be harmlessly looking to hear different perspectives or reactions to what they’re saying, so they can incorporate that into their own life philosophy.
Needless to say, this person is always on top of things. If they’re nice, it’s a win-win: they can be a great friend and resource, especially when it comes to remembering assignments or catching up. And what if they’re mean? Well maybe you don’t need to go out of your way to befriend them. But I will say that it never hurts to be on their good side. Law school is simply not the place to make enemies. Honestly, the overachiever is probably the person in your class who directly or indirectly makes others challenge themselves to be better students – so you get something useful out of them regardless.
The Confusing Character
Maybe this is the person whose desire to become a lawyer is surprising. Or perhaps, this person is oddly quiet and observant in some situations but can also be the life of the party elsewhere. Or they’re just someone whose outer façade doesn’t match their inner personality. Regardless of the specific details, this person is likely someone you simply can’t figure out. They keep you on your toes. In the end, their complexity can teach you more about human psychology. Figuring them out can be a challenge, but once you do, you may know how to better interact with all kinds of people across the board.
The Quirky One
You may call them “nerdy” or maybe even “free spirited.” Striking up a discussion with them can be taking on a huge risk – you never know where the conversation could go, or how long it might last. But what’s good about this type of person is that they are likely passionate about something, and can teach you more about whatever that might be, which can provide for a nice escape or distraction from school. Or you might be inspired to figure out what your own passions are, if you don’t already know. I’ve always found quirky people to be overly optimistic as well, and you can never have too much optimism in law school.
The Plain Jane (or Joe)
Don’t forget about them! These people make the best friends because they are down to earth and help you relax. I think we all tend to underestimate just how much normalcy we crave; that which is familiar is also comfortable. Being around people who make can make us feel at ease is more important than we think. Plus, nobody is really that “plain” in reality; everyone has something special to bring to the table. Someone who is funny helps break the tension of such a competitive environment. Someone who is bubbly reminds everyone to let loose and have a little fun every once in a while.
Of course this list isn’t all inclusive, and it can also apply to people we should befriend in various settings in life. I’ve written in the past about how important relationships and interactions with people are, so that you have a support system you can rely on during good and bad times. I try to live everyday with the notion that you should surround yourself with people who build you up and make you better. I also think it’s essential to be open to making new friends and connections, even if you feel like you are content with who you know now. Lastly, don’t forget that you almost always have a choice regarding who you are around and who you spend the most time with. So choose wisely.