Wednesday, March 2, 2016
panel discussion at student's Welcome Day 2016

By Alvin Yau / Photos by Jerome Poon-Ting

A year ago I attended Welcome Day as a newly admitted student to the University of Toronto. On February 19, I was a 1L volunteer at the 2016 Welcome Day for the latest group of newly admitted students to the Faculty of Law. In both cases, I enjoyed every minute of it!

As always, there was a remarkably diverse group of students who brought their passion for the law, their unique experiences, and keen interest in learning more about the law school experience. When I shared lunch with some of the new admits at my table, I had met students who studied science, history, and the fine arts with experiences ranging from work in the non-profit industry, international relations, and dance. I met philosophers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and poets from among the many other diverse qualities that help define the newly admitted students at Welcome Day 2016. They were all proud of their achievements and had the chance to celebrate their acceptance to the Faculty of Law together as a group.

Lunch time crowd at Welcome Day 2016

“I've felt that U of T has really gone the extra mile to create a warm and personal experience,” said Sarah Helmer, a newly admitted student from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who studied dance. “The whole day was packed with information, and was a great atmosphere to get to know some fellow new admits, along with current students and faculty,” she added.

Tamie Dolny, a fellow 1L student, noted how "I still can’t believe how I was here just a year ago!" before continuing to share her law school experience with the newly admitted students at Victoria College. “I remember having so much fun being here last year; in fact, I met some of my classmates and best friends here last year.”

The new admits spent their day alongside faculty, current students, alumni, and staff in a variety of activities. From Professor Ben Alarie’s entertaining and intriguing lecture on contract law to the insightful panels on community, careers, and student life, the incoming students got the opportunity to learn more about their possible future at the Faculty of Law.

"I’m glad we got so much information about the school, the community, and its opportunities for students,” said Hatim Kheir, a cellular biology student from Western University. Kristen Tannas, who studied economics at Queen’s University, mentioned “It’s just been a great opportunity being able to meet everyone else here.”

As the day went on, I took part in the student panel, and helped to answer questions from new admits from as far away as British Columbia, the United States, or Asia, including from mature students with diverse backgrounds. They raised important questions about community life, the academic experience, and the momentous decision they have regarding their future studies. Our panelists offered candid and caring advice with a variety of insight from students in all years of law school. Of course, a common theme was how we all had so much fun at law school throughout the academic semesters whether that meant singing acapella for the Supreme Chords, working with the Downtown Legal Services, or watching Netflix with law school friends after exams.

End of day cocktail reception at Welcome Day 2016

When the Welcome Day came to its conclusion, the newly admitted students mingle with faculty, staff, current students, and alumni over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. “I cannot wait to start the next chapter of my life here,” said Davina Shivratan, a current business student from York University.

I remembered thinking the same thing. A year after my own Welcome Day experience, I thoroughly enjoy every moment of this chapter of my law school life thus far.

Welcome to the Faculty of Law newly admitted students. I, like everyone else here at the University of Toronto community, look forward to seeing you next year.