First Year Law Camp - Review by Emma Dowsett
School camps are often characterised by compulsory physically exhausting activities, canned food, sparse showers and exhausted teaching staff eager to impose draconian rules; usually around ‘bed time’. UNSW Law Camp could not be more different.
Designed to help incoming law students get to know their cohort, Law Camp is a chance to party, connect and converse with your peers in a relaxed and fun environment that puts school camps to shame. It is also an opportune time for older law students to school first year students on the social aspects that form a crucial component of any legal education.
Located on a secluded island on the exclusive Hawkesbury River (read: a sports and recreation camp on an island just outside of Sydney – lose all hope of the tropics), Day 1 of Law Camp entailed introductions, the best activities a collection of Law Camp leaders could think up, a trivia night and a bonfire party. Day 2 was a mixture of rain infused sports, a scavenger hunt, BBQ-ing and a horror themed party. Nursing hangovers and helping new found friends piece together the night before, the journey back to UNSW was anecdote filled.
There is a certain mythology that surrounds Law Camp. Students reminisce about it in a way that invokes warm nostalgia for beach bonfires, the smell of UDLs and the beginning of new friendships. The experience is common to nearly all law students and is a great talking point at legal functions and an icebreaker in Foundations of Law classrooms.
In The West Wing, during a fumbling conversation with the object of his desire, Josh Lyman proclaims that, “I studied a lot in school. I studied hard in high school and in law school…I studied all the time…it's like I skipped a year because I never learned what you do after you think you like somebody”. Law Camp is the first step to avoiding the awkward social fate that Lyman suffered. So make sure you’re there!