Zavadil Explains Why Starting in January Worked for Him

It’s hard to believe I started law school almost 10 months ago. Time flies! I distinctly remember the anxiety I felt walking into the building that cold January morning. I didn’t know anyone, and had no idea what I was doing. With the smaller class size of the January start, I quickly made friends with the entire class, and realized we were all in the same boat. Ten months later, my J-section classmates are some of the closest friends in my life. Washburn isn’t just a law school—it’s a community. I’ve found where I belong—at least for the next year and a half.

I decided I wanted to go to law school in May 2012. In scrambling to take the LSAT and gather everything for my application, I realized starting in August 2012 was too soon. But I didn’t want to wait more than a year to start the next chapter of my life either. That was the beauty of Washburn Law’s January start program. I was able to start law school on my timetable, and with the ability to complete the program in two and a half years, I can finish law school on my timetable as well.

Looking back, it’s clear I was supposed to end up in law school as a January start. J-Sectioners face a unique challenge in law school. Your first semester is a trial by fire. Washburn Law’s First Week program is fantastic and prepares you for life in law school. However, nothing can prepare you for the first class with students who have had a semester to figure out what law school entails. You lean on your fellow J-Sectioners, and you quickly figure it out. In your first fall semester, the pace is slower for the incoming 1L class but you’ve had a semester or two to figure out what you need to do. In some ways, adjusting to the slower pace was challenging. However, it’s given me a chance to become more involved on campus– I’m a member of the negotiation competition team, and have been more involved with student organizations. It has also given me more time to work for a law firm in town.

Starting law school in January was a great opportunity. The smaller class size was perfect for me, and the other J-Sectioners are some of my closest friends. The challenging first semester quickly acclimated me to law school life. It’s given me time to focus on extra-curricular activities and work, but still graduate on a timetable that works for me.