We're so excited to be welcoming the Class of 2026 next month at JD Student Orientation.
This year's Orientation Leaders, Jessy Oduro-Kwachie and Emma Good, took the time to reflect on their own first-year experiences, discuss some of their favourite spots around Vancouver, and offer some advice to the incoming Class of 2026.
First-year small group: Curtis
Three words to describe your own Orientation experience: Exciting, eye-opening, enlightening
Three words to describe your first-year experience: brave, a whirlwind, challenging
Favourite first-year memory: The winter formal or the first-year moot
Favorite restaurant in Vancouver: I don’t have one in Vancouver, but I love Haven Kitchen and Bar in Langley
Favorite TV Show Big fan of reality dating TV shows: Love Island, Love is Blind; or any cheesy Netflix Show: Xo Kitty, Never Have I Ever; or K-Dramas (currently watching King the Land)
If you could give your first-year law student self any advice, what would it be?
Be your authentic self while staying true to your core values, and you’ll naturally attract your circle of friends! But also, don’t forget to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. I did exactly that and ended-up loving experiences I never thought I would. In the past years, I used to rely on having friends accompany me to events or panels or skip them if I didn’t know anyone attending. But in first-year, I made a promise to myself to attend events that sounded interesting to me, even if I knew none of my friends were there. Attending those events alone turned out to be fantastic and I made some amazing new connections!
And enjoy the moment. I looked back and found that I was either too stressed or worried about the future that I didn’t stop to enjoy and appreciate the present moment.
You commuted to school from Surrey daily. Do you have any advice for making the most of your commute?
Use your time however you need to. I read sometimes in the morning in preparation for classes and then slept during the ride home. I also used the time to decompress after a long day of classes by listening to music, reading a book or catching up on Netflix shows.
What are you most looking forward to about your second-year of law school?
I’m thrilled to be exploring courses that genuinely interest me! The upper year program offers a wide array of fascinating options. Additionally, I’ll be spending a clinical term at the Rise Women’s Legal Centre in my second semester. Rise provides legal services for women who don’t qualify legal aid but cannot afford a lawyer in the area of family law. Access to justice is a cause close to my heart, and participating in this clinic offers a wonderful opportunity to support these women in our community.
For law students who are new to Vancouver, what’s one spot they should visit before the summer comes to an end?
First-year small group: Proud
Three words to describe your own Orientation experience: exciting, nerve-wracking, whirlwind
Three words to describe your first-year experience: rewarding, challenging, unforgettable
Favorite first-year memory: I absolutely loved the boat cruise! It was so fun dressing up with my friends and cruising around on the water
Favorite restaurant in Vancouver: Dockside Restaurant! It’s lovely for special occasions 😊
Favorite TV Show: I can’t pick just one! Love Island UK, Stranger Things, The Summer I Turned Pretty
Why did you decide to apply for the Assistant Orientation Coordinator position?
I have always loved being involved with Orientation programming. I love that Orientation is about community-building, creating a home-away-from-home for students, and getting them started on the next phase of their journey. These massive life changes can be scary, and I always appreciated older students who would take the time to mentor me and help me to feel more comfortable during these transitions. I hope to be a helpful and comforting presence for all incoming students, and to set the tone for the welcoming, inclusive, and open environment at Allard.
You moved from Belleville, Ontario to Vancouver to attend Allard Law. Do you have any advice for students who have just moved to Vancouver?
My advice is to give yourself time to adjust. It can be hard to move away from home, especially if Vancouver is particularly far from where you live. Have faith that with time you will settle in, and Vancouver will begin to feel like home as well. Take the time to explore your neighbourhood! Find your favourite coffee shop, take a walk in the park, find the beach nearest you. Reach out to the friends you make at school as well! Have a movie night, go out to eat together, explore the city as a group. Not only will you fall in love with the city, but the community you create as well.
What’s your advice for incoming law students to make the most out of Orientation?
Orientation can feel overwhelming and seem scary at first, but my advice is to just breathe! Remember that everybody is in the same boat as you: wanting to make friends, find community, and get prepared for the academic year ahead. Don’t be afraid to turn to the person next to you and introduce yourself, or sit with a new group at lunch. If that seems like too much, that is also okay! Keep in mind that you have a full year ahead to make friends, join clubs, and get used to your new home at Allard. Come out to everything, be yourself, and you’ll be just fine!
What’s one thing you wished you had known about law school before you started your first year?
I wish I had realized just how much Allard would prepare us for everything academic. Academic Success lectures throughout the year help students prepare for making study notes, exam-taking, moot preparation, and more! School can seem daunting at first, but it would have alleviated a lot of my stress to know that those lectures exist, they really do help, and you will do just fine with that preparation.