Maybe the real treasure was the friends we made along the way

Photo by Ashley Golledge

As a 3L in my final semester, it seems only appropriate that I use my time on this platform to get unabashedly sentimental about my law school experience. My dear friend, Ellen Bertels, has already taken the time to thank the many wonderful professors at KU Law who got us to this point, so I would like to thank a different but equally important group of people in the law school: the friends we made along the way.

It’s best to start with the before times. Before Zoom School of Law and an end to most social activities, law students had an active social calendar. Of course, we never let it interfere with our studies, but favorites such as TGITs (Thank God It’s Thursday), patio drinks at McClain’s, game nights, or trivia offered a good way to blow off steam after a long day trying to figure out the twenty-odd exceptions to the hearsay rule. It was during these times that I really got to know my classmates. Sure, in Green Hall, we all knew each other from our embarrassing cold call answers or from frantically reading in the informal commons five minutes before class, but outside of the law school we began to know and like each other as people. We grew to respect our differences and cherish the things we had in common. With a community of friends around me, the trials and tribulations of law school no longer seemed like life and death. Sure, I might have been stumped by several questions during my first oral argument, but my friends and I were still going to celebrate the experience with a beer.

You may be expecting me to say that everything changed with the pandemic. We’ve all read hundreds of stories now with that exact tagline. But the truth is, the things that mattered didn’t really change at all. Though we were forced to spend more time apart, I never lost touch with my friends. Whether it was through Zoom happy hours early in the pandemic, sly texts making fun of something during Zoom classes, or long walks on a nice day, I was still able to spend time with my dear friends. As it turns out, the people that got me through law school also got me through one of the worst years in recent memory.

It is because of this that I know I’ll never truly leave these people. Sure, we may be headed in different directions all over the country after graduation, but if we were able to stay connected during this pandemic, I know we can survive a bit of distance.

To all my dear friends in Green Hall, thank you. You made these last three years some of the best of my life. 

— By Jake Schmidt, a 3L from Atchison and a KU Law Student Ambassador.