Throughout high school I was never one heavily involved in school spirit. I never went out of my way to attend school events or involve myself in activities. In year 10 (9th grade), we had a swimming sports day where we all had to wear house colors, competitively race and support others. My friends and I decided after around one hour to sneak out and hide in the arts room the entire day, listening to music, drinking Coke and generally misbehaving. I was in the choir and heavily involved in drama, but never wanted a leadership position. I never contemplated applying for Head Girl. And although I became involved in volunteer activities, that was only because I was required to complete 50 hours of service to receive the IB Diploma.
In college however, I got a bit more involved in extracurricular activities. I was on the Wellington Youth Choir Committee, I took notes for students with disabilities (and was later the Team Leader for the law faculty) and organized the 2011 RNZFB Red Puppy Appeal, coordinating over 100 volunteers to collect donations over 3 days. My first few years of law school I abhored all law school related activities. As you can tell, I loved to volunteer in non-law school related activities, but refused to attend any law school events, be that orientation week, T-shirt night, competitions and even the law school ball. But in my 4th year, I decided to run for the Administrative Vice President position of VUWLSS (the VUW Law Students’ Association). And I won. From then on, I became heavily involved in all aspects of law school life. I promoted activities and became your typical “Go team go” type of girl. I became this upbeat “law school is wonderful” kind of person.
And now that I am in San Diego, I am taking it further. Despite my Vice President position, I never got involved in other activities at university. But here, I am all for it. I find that the best way to meet people is through exposure to different types of activities and organizations. That way you expose yourself to all types of people. I have become very proactive in volunteering for all types of activities. I figure that as part of my 6 month reinvention, I should give the peppy “go school go” personality a go. And secretly, just secretly, I quite enjoy it.
On Friday night, I was initiated into Phi Alpha Delta, a co-ed law fraternity at CWSL. It is the largest legal fraternity in the United States and it also operates on a worldwide level. Throw away all preconceptions of fraternity and sorority initiations – there was no hazing here. Instead we dressed professionally, and had a candlelit initiation ceremony in the beautiful moot room of CWSL. Following this, we met our Big Sister (or Brother) and being introduced to the rest of our family within the fraternity. I was lucky enough to have the Justice (equivalent of the President) of CWSL PAD as my Big Sister. And as she has 6 Little Sisters in all, I gained 5 sisters that night.
We had dinner, shared laughs and stories and then continued onto a rooftop bar at the W Hotel to have the signature PAD cocktail (it was purple, like the color of Phi Alpha Delta, and very very strong!). The bar was pretty swish, and had an interesting art display of red chairs on fire. It allowed for more networking and an ability to meet more members, both new one initiated that night and those who were Bigs for us Littles.
Then, despite being out until 2am, I woke at 5:30 Saturday morning before the sun had even contemplated rising to volunteer at Race Judicata, a 5km race organized by CWSL to raise money for XONR8 (the student branch of the California Innocence Project). Along with 4 other girls, I set up a water stand around the 4km mark, handed water out and cheered on the runners. We jumped up and down, yelled and whooped and gave words of encouragement. It was at this point when I definitely realized I had become a “go team go” type of girl. All I needed were some pom poms. Cheering was followed by a huge group breakfast with a live band, and a few of us taking home huge casserole dishes full of leftover food. Go law school go!
After a few hours rest, I was up and going again to watch my first College Football game with Lauren, a fellow Phi Alpha Delta who I had met at the W the previous night. We didn’t attend the game, it was on TV (as it was in Ohio), but it was still the first college game I have ever watched. Lucky for Lauren and Kyle, I had a crash course on American Football given to me two years ago, so they did not have to explain the rules to me or what was going on every 5 seconds. We headed to Gaslamp Tavern, enjoyed a bloody mary and game food, and cheered on Ohio State (I even wore red, their team color).
One would have thought after watching an entire football game, I’d had enough of sports for one weekend. But no, I am all about school spirit remember? Taking every opportunity possible, even if it leads me to a state of exhaustion (which Saturday night, it did!). A group of PAD members were heading to the Padres baseball game, and my big sister could not believe I had never been to a baseball game before. I was instructed that I had to attend! So after meeting everyone at school and heading out for a pre-game drink at The Local, we headed down to PETCO stadium around 5:30. There was a nice large group of us, as you can see we block the entire pitch in the group photo:
And this afternoon just highlighted my love for the weather of San Diego. It has been so warm and sunny every day I have been here (it is currently 29 degrees C/85 F outside as I write this!). It was fabulous being able to attend a baseball game starting at 5:45 when it was bright and sunny and still be out at 9pm in shorts and a t-shirt. That would NEVER happen back in New Zealand. We would have brought blankets, layers and be shivering as the night went on. And despite the huge stadium, our seats were perfect – nice and close to the pitch, and the right side of the stadium to see the sun set in the distance. Gorgeous.
And everyone was so sweet and made sure I had the best baseball experience – answering my questions, telling me the lingo and making sure that I had a hot dog, got popcorn and peanuts, and stood behind home base for a while watching from that point of view. The Padres haven’t had a great season, although on Saturday we had several home runs (where they set off loud music, fire, and other fun celebratory things) and we even won!! And I learned that here, a baseball game is so much more than just a baseball game. It is an entire experience. For one, they show random YouTube clips between innings, and one of the refs went all out dancing on the pitch after the 3rd. Then they played “Ganham Style” by Psy where the crowd went absolutely wild dancing. I only just discovered this song last week, but it is a hit here. The TV crew found the most hilarious people to show on the big screen, for our viewing pleasure. So even though the game itself wasn’t all that exciting, it was a fun night. I can definitely see myself attending a few more. And in 2 weeks time I will attend my first NFL game, ticking a few more things off my America bucket list. I need to start adding things to it so I don’t run out of activities!!
- SoCal Girl (jenhowes.wordpress.com)
- Life at a ‘Real’ Law School (jenhowes.wordpress.com)
- San Deigo One Week Down (jenhowes.wordpress.com)