After my first week at UOttawa, I feel extremely confident that it was the right choice for me. Prior to attending, I was a little nervous given the fact that it is the largest law school in Canada.I had read horror stories about how competitive law school is, and was bracing myself for the worst. Nonetheless, after meeting people in my program, I was pretty relieved to discover that the character of the school is very different than I had feared (kudos to the admissions committee). The orientation week was also very effective in helping me meet lots of people in my program and others. It gave me with an opportunity to meet professors and upper year students and get a more comprehensive understanding of the character of the school. As for orientation events, I assume they are similar to those of other schools (BBQs, orientation seminars, semi-formal gala at the court house, and lots of late night socials), but I had an incredible time. There was also a visible presence from big law firms, which gave out a lot of promotional and recruitment materials.
UOttawa is very committed to social justice, which was well demonstrated this past week. The theme for the week was Aboriginal issues, and there were some fantastic speakers on international law, land claims, and residential schools. I actually really enjoyed the theme and focus, but some friends (particularly those from a technology background) pointed out that they wanted to hear more about their interests, like intellectual property or the environment. That said, there are a lot of specialty focuses offered, and I think the orientation did a decent job introducing them. It definitely expanded my interest in some areas I never would have considered before.
Many in my class come from all over Canada, representing extremely diverse backgrounds of interests. As an English-only student, I was a little intimidated by the level of French in the school, but I actually found it a very inclusive atmosphere. For anybody that is concerned about not having an adequate background in French, I’d say there is not much to worry about. If anything, I would say the school goes out of its way to make everyone feel welcome.
Overall, I had a great week and am looking forward to starting classes on Monday (already have some readings and an assignment).