A lot of campus organizations offer “big sibling” mentorship programs to help new students adjust to law school and life at Harvard. I took advantage of one as a 1L, signing up to have a big sister with the Women’s Law Association (WLA), and I couldn’t be more glad.
I met my “big sis,” a 2L from the Boston area, for lunch during the first week of school and a few more times each semester when events like exams, class registration, and summer job applications were approaching. From the very beginning, she was a wonderful source of frank advice about professors, classmates, and the ultimate 1L concern of how much a person should study.
She was also very geared toward public interest and happened to work with several activities that interested me, so it was terrific to have her perspective as I decided what to join. Her involvement on two journals allowed for comparisons that helped me choose mine, and her advice about different student practice groups was part of what led me to the Tenant Advocacy Project, a really defining part of my HLS experience. As time went on with that, she shared experiences from her work with the Legal Aid Bureau, helping me feel more confident and prepared as a student advocate.
It was great having so much in common with my “big sis,” but I think anyone who had made it through 1L year would have been a great resource as I found my niche here at Harvard. In a big school where connections beyond your assigned section can take effort, it was great to be paired with someone already eager to help out. That’s why I decided to pay the favor forward and take on a “little sis” of my own this year. It’s been easy to keep in touch so far through e- mails, a frozen yogurt date, a WLA wine and cupcakes party, and some chance encounters on campus. And it feels good to answer her questions about outlines, exams, and jobs, just trying to be the same helpful resource I had last year.
Meanwhile, WLA is not the only group with big siblings. I know the progressive American Constitution Society has mentors, for instance, and two friends of mine are big and little siblings with APALSA, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. So there are many opportunities for the same positive experience as mine.