During opening remarks by retired Vice Adm. James W Houck, interim dean of Penn State Law and School of International Affairs, told the class, “You can only do one thing while you’re here: be the best version of yourself. If you can do that, you can leave law school feeling great about what you’ve done here.”
I encourage you to listen. Many of us are here to help you be the best version of yourself.” Dean Houck wanted the new class to understand that they don’t have to worry about what their peers are doing because it’s irrelevant and that the only competition they need is themselves.
The first day of orientation was rounded out with The Freshman Year Experience: Academic Programs and Resources, lunch, getting involved in student organizations, diversity, equity and inclusion, and a talk from the Office of Career Services on preparing for a legal career.
PERSONAL CARE AND BEYOND
On the second day, in addition to taking professional photos indoors and a class photo on the lawn in front of the Katz building, students sat in on panel discussions about their wellness and taking care of themselves as they progress through the faculty of law.
They also learned to do their part in law school and beyond when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion of Seriashia J. Chatters, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor of Education (CNED), Penn State College of Education, and Director of Inclusion Equity for the State College Area School District. Chatters said, “I felt welcome during orientation. The students were engaged and actively participated. I loved hearing how the students were already applying what they learned.”
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhyaassociate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, Faculty Scholar Samuel Weiss, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Immigrant Rights Clinic at Penn State Law said, “I was honored to welcome the incoming Class of 2025 at Penn State Law. and to discuss the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our law school and legal profession. I was very impressed with the energy, honesty and intellectual curiosity of this group and I look forward to teaching and learning from them.”
GET INVOLVED WITH THE PENN STATE LAW COMMUNITY
The new class of 1L was able to interact with Penn State faculty, staff, and law school during the welcome reception. Penn State Law School mingled with students to talk about law school and what to expect in their classes.
Mary Reilly, a law professor, advised students to eliminate all distractions and focus on their readings before class, class discussions, and reading their notes after class. “The ability to focus intensely on a complex jumble of information for hours on end is an important legal professional skill. Intentionally developing that skill, while being patient with yourself, is job number one for 1L students during the first few weeks of class,” he said.
Another tip came from ben johnson, associate professor of law and faculty member in the College of Information Sciences and Technology and the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts, who encouraged students to seek out mentors. Students can rely on mentors for advice, guidance, and to learn new legal avenues that can inform their future careers.
After two full days of advising, meeting other students, and speaking with their professors, the students were welcomed to Penn State Law at University Park. The newly prepared Juris Doctor class of 2025 began classes on August 22.