Welcome back, Barry Law students, faculty, and staff, and Happy New Year! Also, welcome to all of you brand-new 1Ls. You’ve made it through Orientation, and hopefully you’re all looking forward to your first day of law school TODAY, January 12th.
I’ll never forget my first day of law school orientation, what seems like a lifetime ago. I was a January starter as well, at the University of Florida Levin College of Law (before it was even called that). I had just moved into my new Gainesville apartment, the first time I ever truly lived by myself — no family, no roommates, no shared dorm space. I was nervous. Okay, I was terrified. I set my alarm extra-early to get a good parking space and make it to orientation with plenty of time… and my car was gone. Of course, my first thought was that it was stolen, but I soon found out it has been towed overnight! You see, when I moved in two days earlier, they failed to mention that I would need to stick a parking decal to my car, proving I was a resident of that complex. Somehow the previous night’s patrol had passed me by, but for the morning where I really needed my car to be where I had left it, I wasn’t so lucky. I had to call another new 1L whose name I vaguely knew and begged for a ride, and ended up making it with minutes to spare, shaken and stirred, my head most definitely not in the game. (Later than afternoon, a friend drove me to the towing company to retrieve my car, where they very graciously waved the usual fee, like they were doing me a real solid.)
Anyway, I certainly hope you’re all having a much smoother beginning to your law school careers than I did. If you’re new to Orlando, welcome again. I’ve been living here for ten years, and it’s a good place to live — although you’ll be too busy to explore “The City Beautiful” too much, at least right now. And if you’re already familiar with the town, we’re still very happy you’re here. If you need any restaurant recommendations, I’m your man. And you HAVE to eat. Don’t let yourselves get run down, especially with our hot-again, cold-again weather and all kinds of bugs going around. Studying is important, but get plenty of sleep, and take breaks to eat. Healthy food, if possible — at least most of the time. (I know, take it from me, easier said than done.) Oh, hand sanitizer is your friend, especially in the Library!
Here’s something else you need to know, even though my colleague Diana Botluk and I met with most of you during Orientation and explained it last Thursday. Most law school information is hidden on the intranet, at http://weblaw.barry.edu . And when you’re at home, studying at Starbucks, or anywhere else off campus, you will first need to log into http://ezproxy.barry.edu to access it. Log in with your new Barry e-mail address and password, then select “School of Law Intranet,” and that will take you to Weblaw.barry.edu.
Weblaw is where you can download your class syllabi, access reading assignments in your online course reserves, look up information about your professors, search the Library catalog, access all of our electronic research databases (including the “Big Three”: Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law), and a lot more. I know you’re all busy and stressed at the moment, but definitely take some time to familiarize yourselves with all the information on Weblaw. Of course, if you need to find something specific, don’t hesitate to ask us. Any of our friendly Law Library staff — excuse me, YOUR Law Library staff — will be happy to point you in the right direction, now and always.
New 1Ls and transfer students, if you didn’t receive Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law registration information at Orientation on Thursday, find me or Diana immediately, and we’ll get you everything you need to register for all three. You will receive training on all three databases in your first-semester Legal Research and Writing classes, but if you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to ask us.
We also have really terrific 2L and 3L students working for us in the Library. I can’t say enough good things about them, and I would strongly suggest you chat them up, ask them for advice. They’ve been there and done that a lot more recently than I have, and they can give you the “straight dope,” so to speak, about professors’ final exams, about recommended study aids, about common pitfalls to be avoided. We have Stephen Hooper, Arch Tater, Cheryl Davis, Chris Torres, and Crystal Yu behind the Circulation Desk throughout the day, Ashley Gardiner coming and going as the Reference Research Assistant, and Karrie Goldwire-Simmons, Albert Behzadi, and Chase Smith working hard throughout the Library as Technical Services student workers. I’m sure any of them would be happy to talk to you new 1Ls, student-to-student, and lend a sympathetic ear and a helping hand.
That’s a big thing that makes me proud to have worked at Barry for the last six and a half years: the sense of community here. Everyone you’ll meet at Barry is rooting for you to succeed, and we’ll help you however we can. Law school isn’t easy, but your success is our success, and we’re all in this together. I only ever went to large universities — UF for undergrad and law school, and USF for my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. I never felt like I got the personalized, caring attention that Barry students get, and it’s a wonderful thing. Take advantage of it. Make appointments to visit professors during their office hours, and go over your concerns with them. Get to know the good people in Bar Prep, Academic Success, and Career Services. Say hello to us in the Library, the bookstore, the cafe. Make sure you’re friendly with the ladies in the Registrar’s office and all of your dedicated Deans. We’re all here because of you, and for you.
It’s a new semester and a new year. On this first day of school and every day after, I’m hoping for the best of all things for all of us.