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Saturday Night Basketball

M.H., 2L

This past Saturday night, a group of about 20 of us got together to have a barbecue and watch the Final Four basketball games.  After the games, 8 of us hung around to play cards and relax late into the night.  When I was first considering coming to YLS, I wasn’t sure if nights like this would be possible here.  Coming from a small-town public high school and a state university, I wasn’t sure what kind of people I’d find at an Ivy League school, and I wasn’t sure that I’d fit in.  Besides, I didn’t know if I (or anyone else here) would ever have the time to dedicate an entire Saturday to watching basketball.

I was very pleasantly surprised on these counts.  While it seems that everyone here is motivated enough to take on an impressive list of activities on top of their regular course load, people are equally good at managing their time and making time to relax.  (The people that I was with last night are no exception.  Included in the group were several people with some of the most time-consuming leadership positions on the Yale Law Journal, a moot court finalist who has an upcoming oral argument in front of Justice Alito, and the leaders of two public interest groups within the law school.)  Yale’s relaxed grading system and liberal class selection policy also make it possible to prioritize classes and activities that are most important without worrying about an adverse impact on GPA or class rank.

What has been more impressive to me has been the nature of my classmates.  I have gotten to know some truly amazing people who have an earnest desire to make a difference in the world.  I know some people who have started non-profit organizations and others who have held high positions in presidential campaigns.  In spite of their success and ambition, people here have been remarkably friendly and down to earth.  The friendships that I’ve made here have not been the strictly professional “networking” relationships that I feared they would be when I entered an Ivy League law school.  They have been personal relationships with people whose own ambitions and altruistic motivations have inspired- and humbled- me to an extent that I could never have imagined.

Someday, when we all graduate, I have no doubt that many of my classmates will go on to hold positions of great responsibility.  Hopefully, they will go out to change the world and make a difference in the lives of people.  But, I feel confident in saying that no matter what they go on to do, when I think of my classmates in the future, I will not think of their professional endeavors.  I will think of them as friends with whom I sat and talked about football games and our personal lives just as much as we discussed law and politics.