Sunday, August 22, 2010

Orientation/Start of Classes, Round 2 and the Camp Cupcake Award

Eek!  It's been a crazy few weeks since I last posted.  In the last 14 days, I wrapped things up at my summer job, tried to get my life in order to start school again (e.g., organize random stack of mail and paperwork, buy school supplies and books, buy parking pass, buy groceries, starch and iron accumulated pile of washed cotton sundresses, scrub floors because I won't have time to let them see Pinesol again until next summer and the Swiffer Wet-jet only does so much, etc.), and began running around between Darden and the law school like a chicken with my head cut off.

I've gotten a lot of questions lately about "how this whole JD/MBA thing works."  The answer, like many things at Darden, is "it depends."  If, like me, somehow applies to law and business schools concurrently and gets into both, at UVa you get to pick where you start.  I chose to start at Darden because for me, business was what was "new," and I wanted to be able to graduate with one of the classes with which I did my "first" year; since there is no way to do that with any Darden class, I chose to do my 1L year with the class of 2013.  So, I've finished the Darden first year, I'm doing the first year of law school now, and next year and the year after, I'll be taking electives at both schools, sprinting back and forth numerous times during the day.  Most (but not all) folks doing the JD either apply concurrently and choose to start at the law school or apply only to the law school up front and then apply to Darden while a 1L.  I think it really is a personal decision about how you choose to do it, and I think I made the right choice for me, though there may have been some draw-backs. 

So, this past week, I've been doing Orientation, Round 2, which has been an interesting experience. Unlike most of my 1L classmates, I've been in Charlottesville as a graduate student for a year, so I know where things are, how things work, and what the grad student social scene is like.  Unlike my SY Darden classmates, I'm not negotiating class swaps and trying to schedule the least-stressful 4th quarter.  At Darden, they've restructured Orientation this week, so I can't really speak to how that worked out.  I did volunteer to help out at one of the faculty receptions (lots of fun!), and I organized one of the Activity Day trips to a couple local wineries (also lots of fun!).  I also had a couple meetings with incoming first year students.  Over at the law school, I did some community service for Public Service Day, met a bunch of new classmates, attended Section H bonding activities, sat through presentations by a bunch of administrators, and attended my first three days of class.  I generally like the faculty, and the classes (as at Darden during the first semester) were selected for me, but I think they'll be interesting.  I'm taking Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Law this semester, as well as a year-long pass/fail Legal Research & Writing course.   Although my schedule is sort of wonky (bizarre gaps between classes, some M/W, some T/R/F, some M/W/R, etc.), I think it will allow me to get most of my case briefing done during the school day, so I'm going to try to treat this like a 9-to-5 job and not bring work home to the greatest extent that I can manage.  I'm sure there will be some exceptions, but for the sake of my spine, I want to leave my books at school as frequently as possible - they weigh a ton!  On the plus side, this arrangement meant that my homework was done by 5 pm on Friday, and I have actually been able to enjoy my weekend (section H potluck, polo, Darden picnic, winery tours, coffee dates, and catching up with friends - yay!).  We'll see if this trend continues.

On that of my Darden classmates' husband is a 2L at the law school, and he apparently refers to Darden as Camp Cupcake, implying, obviously, that Darden is "easier" than the law school. Apparently, this has been a point of virtually constant (and only quasi-serious) debate between people at both schools for quite some time.  Consequently, I've decided that I'm actually going to issue an "official" verdict on which school has the most difficult first year, as an "objective" party experiencing both.  I'm going to do this by assigning a weekly "Camp Cupcake" award to the school that was "easiest" for that point in the semester.  At the end of the year, the school with the most weekly awards will be officially declared "easier" in my perspective (clearly, this is a very scientific award process).  For the first week of school, Legal MBAyhem's Camp Cupcake Award goes to: UVa Law.  Rationale: no group work, finishing homework at school before dinner, more evening social events, only two days of Orientation, and no recruiting activities. 

Ongoing Cupcake Tracker: Darden 0, UVa Law 1. 


  1. how wonderful that you were able to opt to start with the MBA program! i just finished a JD/MBA (where we had to follow the traditional start with law school route) and graduation was a bit of a lonely affair given that the students i had started with at both the b-school and law school were long gone.

  2. I'm jealous of your "9-5" ... sounds fabulous :-)