I wanted to share some positive experiences here at TRU and in Kamloops. I know many of you will be deciding now what school to go to. I was accepted at a few schools across Canada, but chose TRU. Why?
1) Its in the province I want to practice
-- It's near the city I want to practice in; so I get to meet these local lawyers and visit to their firms etc (eg Vancouver, Kamloops, Kelowna etc). Whereas if I wanted to practice in Toronto I'd miss out on those opportunities to network (whereas the TO students would have been networking all along).
-- You're learning BC law; If you study in other provinces, you'll learn those laws. This isn't necessarily a career-ending move, its just that it makes it so much easier on you.
-- Its near my family, about a 2-3 hour drive.
That was pretty much my only factor. . .
But now that I've been here nearly a year.. let me tell you about so many more ...
- is that a word? idk. But the students here are really friendly and helpful to each other, at least in my year.
- there are other schools where students care ONLY about their OWN mark and worry that other ppl getting good grades mean they have a lower chance of getting a good grade (bc of the curve)
- luckily most of us believe that if you're THAT worried about getting a bad grade, you probably deserve one. Very few people are like this, but they're pretty easy to identify after 3 or 4 weeks. Beware..
- we are helpful with sending notes, trading CANS (don't you worry, you'll find out what CANS are soon enough little ones)
- there will always come a day that you'll miss a class and need notes. If you dont send yours when others need it, no one will send your theirs. So everyone is really helpful in this way.
- the Prof's also help foster this sense of community because they all want the best for us (because they want the school to succeed, as its the newest in Canada , I'm sure you've heard)
> The building (http://www.marceldion.ca/vii/)
- if you wrote your LSAT in Kamloops you'd have seen the building. Its purdy.
- We study in a building called "Old Main" - its the oldest building on Campus but they reno'd the 3+4 floor - which is entirely law! Most (if not all.. pretty sure all) your classes will be here.
- This is a lovely building. There is a 24h library (accessible by fob) and a 24h reading room (a big quiet room with just desks and couches everywhere, accessible by fob).
- There is a lounge provided by the Society of Law Students (SLS, like the Law student union sort of), with a sink, kettle, keurig, 2 microwaves, toaster, and fridge (don't count on using the fridge... other students leave it in a constant state of f'd up.. ). It also has couches, pingpong table, and foosball. Its a small room but works out well.
- there are plugs in all the classrooms right on the desk where you sit.
- there are projectors, mics, and 2 projector screens in every classroom - you can rent it out to watch a movie, and even sign in on netflix.. or i guess if you like learning you can listen to a guest lecturer who is across the country via video-conference! Pretty cool.
- not to denigrate another school ... but in my decision I did factor this in - I looked at other school's classrooms online (this took a fair bit of web sleuthing, eg at 'events' photo galleries and so on) and there were 1 or 2 schools that looked awful.. akin to my undergrad classrooms built in the 70s with no windows, outlets, decent chairs, etc.. It isn't necessarily a deal breaker but I personally would have felt just a little worse coming into school every day... at TRU you know you have the BEST.
> The classes
- TRU has the most class hours of any law school in canada during 1L. Prepare to be spun on your head. Good luck with it.
- but in reality the teachers are all pretty great in 1L - if you went to a massive undergrad school like I did, it'll be weird when your teachers know your name. Its awesome though.
- There are not many assignments, so its easier to just keep trucking on and not have an entire week f'd up because you spent 4 days doing nothing but one assignment. (Except in Early March - that will happen one week..)
- Exams are basically 100% finals - there is a christmas exam but it doesn't really count (help not hurt).
- there will be about 100 people accepted to your year; this is split into 2 "sections"; you'll have all your classes for 1L with your section. the same 50ish students. So you'll get to know them pretty well. Its nice. Sort of like a fun version of high school. You know everyone. Everyone is nice. Everyone is respectful. Well ... generally...
> The integration with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee's Calls to Action
- it could be better.. But TRU is doing a pretty good job of integrating concepts of Indigenous law into our classes. We definitely talk about indigenous rights pretty much every week.
- you'll have a number of local indigenous leaders (eg scholars, elders) come speak to the classes. Its a pretty great learning experience.
- If you're indigenous yourself, I think you'll find that most students are genuinely interested in your story. It may be uncomfortable to share and there certainly is no pressure. But I find in our classes we often get wonderful input on how old / new laws have impacted reserves / land title claims / hunting rights, etc. It adds a wonderful richness.
- you'll visit the Kamloops Indian Residential School in 1L.. Its pretty cray. A very unique experience. An honour to be given a tour by past students who were forced to go there (and starved, beaten etc while there).. Instead of abandoning / burning it down they bring students in to show us how our laws really trampled their rights and culture back in the day (oh.. today too...)
- there are also field trips for this purpose in both the 2L and 3L but I'm living under a textbook and don't know what they are
> Outdoorsy stuff
- TBH i don't really care about all the wonderful winter activities, but rest assured if you're not a lazy bum like me, you'll love being 20 minutes from an awesome ski hill (SunPeaks), lots of xcountry trails, loads of walking/hiking trails (like right on campus pretty much)
- The scenery is gorgeous here. From any north facing window in the law school you can see the gorgeous mountains that surround us.
- there are lots of clubs at the uni but more specifically in the law school; cribbage club, digital media club, south asian law students, indigenous law students, animal law club, Oral advocacy club (PRO TIP - JOIN ORAL ADVOCACY. It will seriously help you prepare for your 1L moot).
- the list goes on. Its all really accessible and friendly.
- they're always putting on social events - they're first semester heavy but its great to go to all of them if you can.
- there are 5 or 6 upper year moots that count as class credits, so you can practice your skills IRL
- the school sends you to these moots (travel, accomodation etc), which all occur in different cities across canada
- most law schools do this, its just the particular competitions that vary.. dont go to a school if they dont have moots!
- Kamloops rent / gas / groceries etc is reasonably priced
- traffic here is practically non-existent. it might add 3 minutes to your commute. no more. if you're used to a big city (ie traffic adds 1-2 hours) it's cute here
Some less great stuff...
- international partners - only 4 schools for exchange; they're apparently adding schools in Aus and NZ; but international exchanges in law school are much more inconvenient than exchanges in undergrad; most people have no desire to do one anyway, regardless of what schools are involved.
- tuition - sooo high. Tru gets no govt assistance unlike the other BC schools. So we pay a lot.
- parking at school - sucks. But that's pretty much the story at any uninversity.
- kamloops nightlife is poop on a paddle. Your best options are Shark Club (where you'll be lucky if the worse thing you see is some guy licking coke of his hands); Commodore (where the crowd really ranges in age and I feel like i'll be pickpocketed at any moment); Earls / Browns (you'll never get in .. even on Friday at 10am their tables are full). I mean honestly you'll be busy with other stuff so its not a deal breaker. Chances are good you're not a huge party animal if you've got the grades to get into law school.
- similarly, if you love shopping you'll have to make friends with online shopping. There is nothing here. apparenly a sephora is opening.. I'd be surprised if that happens. There's a lulu. A "Bay". A sport chek. Thats it. LOL.
- if you're planning on driving to Van on the weekends all winter long, think again - the highway is a death trap. Multiple ppl die each week driving on it. You probably know this already if you live in Van but its surprising how many students dont realize how bad it is.
- acessibility might bit tough - in Old Main the parkinglot is not cleared / salted very well. So if you use a mobility aid, you might have to Impark (who runs the lits) to pay special attention and ensure its ploughed / salted. Once you're in the building it is much better.
Really the only negative that could be a dealbreaker for some is the tuition cost. But if you're getting loans etc, don't let that stop you if you can. I really love TRU and am proud to go here. It was my first choice school.