Somewhere between the studying, the reading, and the stressing I have fallen in love with Loyola Law School. Someone recently asked me why I love Loyola so much and after some time I realized that my answer is simple— because I feel like Loyola loves me. Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that many people reading this believe that it is impossible for an institution to display the human characteristic of love, so let me explain. Everyone and everything at 919 Albany Street is geared towards helping me live up to my full potential in law school. Starting law school can be overwhelming and yet I never feel as if there is something I need that the law school cannot provide.
Monday through Friday, there is little need to leave campus unless you want to and even then there are shuttles that make coming and going as easy as possible. Sonia’s has great food with healthy options, there are refrigerators and microwaves if you want to bring your own, and there are vending machines if you get a junk food craving. There are yoga and dance classes on campus about 3 times a week if you don’t make it to the gym. There is mass on campus weekly that is open to all denominations. The library caters to whatever way you like to study with there being abasement for those who need to silently enclose themselves; study areas with large windows for those who like to remember the sun is shining; even several couches for an occasional nap or to comfortably study.
In addition to the campus conveniences, there is support available at every turn. Before I started law school, the internet had me terrified of professors. My 1L goal was to keep my head down and not say anything stupid out loud. Surprisingly, the questions I felt were stupid were welcomed and shared with the class and used as teaching moments. Once the professors for our section figured out our schedule they actually adjusted their office hours. And if you haven’t mastered your professor’s specific dialect of legalese, there is an official Academic Success department, professional writing tutors, peer tutors from the honors society, and organizational student mentors. There is even a clinical psychologist if you need help with your emotional well-being. It’s almost frustrating because most excuses for falling behind are eliminated.
Most difficult to describe to an outsider is the element of community. When you are on campus you feel emotionally and physically safe despite the notorious curve and the downtown noises you hear. People smile at each other and say hello in passing whether they are measly 1L like me or Dean Gold himself. The staff at Sonia’s remembers that I love tater tots and even stayed open late when our exam went passed closing time. Some professors even host happy hours and dress up on Halloween. Even animals are welcome as evidenced by our two campus cats. My favorite is the grey cat I have affectionately named LoLa (I wanted this to be the nickname of the law school but it hasn’t caught on yet.). Lola will sit close to you if you study outside and never interrupts and if you are walking by carrying too many books, she politely steps out of your way.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not still in the infatuation stage and there are things that I do not like. For example, morning section classes start at 8am and, trust me, in downtown LA that is not as easy as it sounds. Also, Sonia’s denies me tater tots on the weekends (ok, so they’re closed and deny everyone) and to get to Casassa, my most recent study place preference, I have to walk through the library and up several flights of stairs. *sigh* Yet, if I am honest with myself, getting up earlier makes it easier to stay on a consistent study routine, I shouldn’t be eating tater tots everyday, and I really could use the exercise since I’m sitting down so much throughout the day.
I am not surprised if some of you still don’t believe that a school is capable of showing love and that’s all right because law school has taught me that reasonable minds may differ. However, I am sure that I can find more persuasive alumnae to agree with me because Loyola’s love seems to continue after graduation.