When Widener University decided to move classes online for the fall semester of 2021, I was beyond stressed. I couldn’t image beginning my first year in law school over Zoom. I feared it would be hard to pay attention, I wouldn’t keep myself accountable, and, as a kinaesthetic learner, I wouldn’t learn as well as I would in a classroom. Additionally, I was supposed to move to Harrisburg from Denver three days after the news was delivered. Luckily, my lease hadn’t started in Harrisburg yet so I decided to stay here in Colorado. With that decision made, I started to stress that being so far removed from campus and other students would make me feel like an outsider, exactly what I did not want my law school career to look like.
When classes began, I was relieved for a variety of reasons. I quickly realized everyone else was in the same boat; they feared online classes, too. Many people stressed about not having a thorough, authentic first year experience, learning remotely, Zoom fatigue, not connecting with fellow class mates, and not having professors be as accessible as they would in person. Everyone was worried about everything.
Turns out, there was no reason to be worried. I cannot speak highly enough of Widener University’s professors, advisors, and selected student body. As a first year student who has still never visited Harrisburg, let alone met my professors or stepped into a classroom, I feel part of the student body. My professors have routinely gone out of their way to check on the class as a whole, to ask me personally how I am doing with remote learning, and to encourage me to just sit and chat with them, even if it isn’t about school. My advisors continuously reach out to touch base and offer time for questions or to offer themselves as outlets for stress and other concerns. The student body is encouraging, supportive, and welcoming. There is such a strong sense of community Widener facilitates which has transcended all the way across five states to me, here, in Denver. I contribute a successful first year to Widener and its excellence in managing classes and relationships for all students, in state and out of state.
I say these words in pursuit of relieving future students’ stress of their first year of law school, regardless of what that may look like. Widener has a unique community which offers individual support to each of its students and that selects a student body with similar, supportive attitudes. The works is hard and draining, don’t get me wrong. But with a supportive environment, it has made the ride significantly more enjoyable than I ever could have imaged.