Kelli Pollock, 2-L | Mogadore, OH
My name is Kelli Pollock. I am a second year law student from the small town of Mogadore, OH. I Studied Criminal Justice at Mount Vernon Nazarene University while playing basketball for the Lady Cougars. This year will be my first year as both the Head Representative for the Barbri bar prep program and the President of the Christian Legal Society here at ONU. I love to meet new people and help out in any way I can, so feel free to hunt me down in the halls or email me if you need anything!
Blog Post 1: Why ONU Law?
Once I had been accepted, I came to visit campus with my parents. It was a great experience! Being from a small hometown and attending a small undergrad university the size of ONU, was very appealing to me. I like the idea of knowing the people around me and being a name, not just a number. Everyone that we met with on our visit was extremely nice. I remember eating lunch with Elizabeth Marrs-Mosser, a 2012 graduate. She was very helpful and answered any questions that we had in a very open and honest manner. When we left campus that day I just knew this was where I was supposed to be. I have not regretted my decision at all. The professors are more than willing to help in any way they can. Their doors are always open and they don’t make you feel like any question is a stupid one. It has been great to develop good relationships with some really wonderful professors.
I have to be honest. Preparation for the LSAT was not fun. In undergrad we had J-term, just like here at ONU, so I only had one class for that month. I got up at 7:30 every morning and went to the library to study for the LSAT until my class at 1:00. After class I had basketball practice and then I’d head back to the library. I also did multiple practice tests the few weeks before. While it was difficult, studying and learning what the test was going to be like was definitely worth it! You don’t want to walk into the LSAT blind. It would be a nightmare! I heard about ONU from a friend at my undergrad. It wasn’t too far away so I decided to apply.
Apply early! I made the mistake of waiting until the February LSAT, so I couldn’t apply until after some of the deadlines had run. I would recommend doing it earlier because that gives you more options. But if you didn’t start early don’t panic! Stick with it. I did, and everything turned out great. Also, don’t ever turn a school down without checking it out first! Go visit and see what they have to offer and how the campus makes you feel. I know that sounds corny, but I strongly recommend it.
I won’t sugar coat it. It’s going to be tough. Probably the hardest thing most of you have ever done. That’s what people told me and I am glad for that honesty. If I had gone in thinking it was easy I never would have made it out alive. That being said, it is more than doable! You just have to learn time management and work hard. Don’t give up when you get frustrated or feel like it’s never going to end. Because you can make it through and, honestly, it will be over before you know it!
Blog Post 2: An Environment Designed for Success
The academics and curriculum at ONU Law are tough. Very tough. There have been many days where I wanted to quit, but my professors, other faculty, and my peers would never let that happen. No matter how hard it seems, or how far away the light at the end of the tunnel appears, you CAN make it. For as many times as I have thought I wouldn’t meet a deadline or wouldn’t pass a test, there are that many more times that someone has taken the time to explain something to me or just share some encouraging words. There is a support system out there to help you get through. It is doable and you can be successful. Just work hard and use the resources that are available to you.
One of my favorite classes was Torts. I liked it because my professor was very upbeat and excited about the material. I also found it was easier for me to understand because it was something I found interesting.
Interaction with the professors is totally what you want it to be. They are more than willing to meet with you outside of class and help in any way they can. They are also interested in you and how things are going outside of class. I have had great one-on-one conversations with almost all of my professors.
It is absolutely easy to receive academic support. Whether it’s your professor or student TA for the class, there is always someone willing to help. During the first semester last year I found out that one of my good friend’s mother was dying. She had asked me to come help her with stuff around the house so I spoke with my professors and they were more than understanding about the chance that I may not be fully prepared for classes that next day. They told me to come to them with any questions I may have after class. Law school is extremely hard and the professors are tough, but they understand that there is life going on outside of the law building and are willing to help you survive the challenge.
Are law students extremely competitive? Yes and no. There are some student’s who are extremely competitive, but for the most part, people are willing to help each other. Personally, I don’t think you can make it on your own. At some point everyone needs help, and people are going to be much more likely to help you, if you are willing to do the same for others.
There are a number of different ways to get help from your peers, whether it is someone else in your class, or an older student that has been through what you are struggling with. Some students develop study groups, or simply attend the TA (tutoring) sessions. Also, most of the older students are willing to help the younger because they have been in their shoes and they know what it feels like to be facing topics/challenges that are completely new.
Blog Post 3: Engagement Outside of the Classroom
There are many organizations available for student’s to take part in on campus. I would say that if there is an area that you are interested in, you could most likely find an organization to join that fits that interest. For example, I am a Christian and coming to law school I was worried about finding other Christians and figuring out how to mix my moral views with ones taught at the school. So, I was extremely relieved to find out that the Christian Legal Society was a student organization that I could join. There are so many other options and things to get involved in and I would recommend checking them all out during the student organization expo day. Odds are you will find something you want to join!
Sometimes it is challenging balancing both school and organization activities, but it is just like everything else in law school; you find a way to work out your schedule and fit everything in. Even being the President of Christian Legal Society and the Head of our Barbri Bar Review, I am able to find time to do my schoolwork and be completely focused and involved in my organizations. I would recommend joining one or two organizations to start and see how you feel and then once you are comfortable with that schedule, maybe you can add more. Just don’t stretch yourself too thin right off the bat or you may get overwhelmed. Just as equally important, , don’t be afraid to get involved because you may not have the time. It is do-able, and it is good to have things outside of your classes to take your focus off of school every once in a while to stay sane.
Of course students spend time together outside of the classroom! While each student is different in how they spend their time outside of school, most everyone I talk to has a group of friends they like to hang out with or a certain day/night of the week they use for a relaxing activity, like going out to eat, having a party or just watching some tv. Personally, I have one or two tv shows that I watch with other students as my “break time.” This gives me something to look forward to and helps to keep me motivated. We also have our Christian Legal Society meetings during the evening as a way to get together outside of the school.
Blog Post 4: The January Term Experience
The purpose of J-Term is to get an entire class completed in one month. Also, I think it is a time for students to have a lighter workload in between the two heavily loaded fall and spring semesters. While students are able take a class or two during the month, they can also choose to take the month off. This would allow time for relaxation, working to gain experience, or to earn money.
My first year we were required to take a course on-campus. It was nice to have a month where I had work to do so I stayed in the “school groove,” but at the same time I was able to relax a lot more than during the full semester.
This year, I was planning on taking a class in January, but when scheduling came around I was extremely stressed from the fall semester and decided to take January off to relax and spend time with my family. I am just returning to Ada from the Christmas and January break as I write this entry and am very happy with my choice to take the month off. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the spring semester.
Blog Post 5: Focus on Academic Success
This semester I am taking a few of the common 2L courses, but there are two courses that I am taking that are somewhat unique. The first is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). We started the class learning how to do mediations and have since gotten the opportunity to actually conduct two mediations on our own. This has been a really neat experience so far. At first I was nervous because actual people’s lives were going to be effected by something I was involved in, but both mediations went well and I am looking forward to the next. This class is really great because instead of just sitting in a classroom and learning about something, we get to learn about it and then learn “on-the-go” through real life experience. The second unique class I am taking is Advanced Legal Research. This is an upper level course that is offered once you have taken Legal Research and Writing. I enjoyed Legal Research and Writing, but after one summer of clerking experience, I realized I wanted and needed to learn more about legal research. After only a few weeks of this course I feel like I have already learned a lot and am looking forward to all of the information that is to come. I would highly recommend taking both of these courses sometime in the 2nd or 3rd year of law school.
I definitely have a few favorite professors, but it is extremely hard to pick just one. I know this is a promotional page, but I am being 100% for real when I say that there are honestly so many amazing professors here! I feel so blessed to learn from people who care so much about all of their students and have great life experiences to share in order to better explain things.
Blog Post 6: Moving On
This summer I will be interning at the Juvenile Division of the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office. I am very excited about this opportunity! Prosecution is not something that I have any prior experience with, but recently became interested in, and I am originally from Summit County and was hoping to find something back home in order to begin making contacts in the area so finding this position was a huge blessing. This will also allow me to move home and spend time with my family for the summer months. It is hard being away from them for practically the entire year, so I am definitely looking forward to spending every spare moment with them while I can.
Career services has assisted me in a number of ways in my internship search. I have had multiple appointments in order to perfect my résumé. They informed me of what things I should or should not include, and the overall format I should use. Also, when I decided that I wanted to intern with a Prosecutor’s office, they advised me of how to go about searching for an opening and gave me books that include all of the Prosecutor’s offices in each state. They are always extremely nice and helpful whenever I pop my head in the office with a quick question and are always willing to set up an appointment for more in depth questions.
Last summer I was fortunate to intern for a small firm in Findlay. This allowed me to experience real legal work for the first time. While we do learn a lot in school, reading books and hearing lectures cannot prepare you to actually practice law, which is why I absolutely recommend doing as many internships/externships as possible during law school. I think that getting the real, hands-on experience will be extremely valuable when I graduate and begin practicing as a lawyer. Through this experience I was able to do things like research legal issues, prepare court documents, correspond with clients, and observe court proceedings. This has been helpful in my legal education because it is somewhat easier to relate to some topics as well explanations or examples from professors. Now, a single internship has not made me an expert by any means! It is impossible to learn everything there is to know about the law. I will be researching and learning new things until the day I retire. What I am trying to say is that any experience you are able to get puts you one step closer to feeling comfortable practicing law and possibly one step closer to getting a real job after graduation.