Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Recap of San Antonio

Last week, I flew out to San Antonio to check out the campus of St. Mary's University to decide whether to accept the offer of admission. I came back with mixed feelings.

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and picked up my rental car. I requested a sub-compact, and the rental company said ok. They gave me the keys to a PT Cruiser. (Cute car, but definitely not sub-compact. Compared to the little Toyota I drive on a regular basis, the thing drove like a land barge.) I had planned to spend the day touring and exploring the city. However, I wasn't feeling well, so I just went to my hotel and slept. That evening, I ventured out to secure some dinner. (I was sorely tempted to order room service, but I decided that my budget wouldn't permit it.) My room had a microwave and a fridge, so I decided to buy groceries and cook instead of going out. San Antonio felt like a weird foreign land to me, but I noticed a Wal-Mart up the road. I went inside and suddenly felt at home again. (Wal-Mart is like church- it's the same wherever you travel.)

After dinner, I tried to go to bed early, but the time change wasn't helping me because my body thought it was two hours earlier than it was. (The perils of living on the west coast.) I got up the next morning, packed, and checked out of my hotel. I headed to St. Mary's and walked around. I had a meeting with the dean of admissions, and it was great. Everyone there made me feel like I was important. They were helpful and happy to answer my questions. (This is the complete opposite of my old law school, where at new-student orientation, they spent an hour basically telling us that we were lucky to even be there and we shouldn't complain about the school being crummy. That should have been my clue to get off the sinking ship, but I didn't see it at the time.)

I asked some hard questions because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't getting into the same situation as before. I asked about the bar passage rate, the employment statistics, and a few other things. The dean seemed to dance around my question about out-of-state employment prospects for graduates, but she was direct in answering all of my other questions. As I walked around campus, I noticed that the students seemed happy. (As opposed to my old school where everyone was miserable all the time.) I fell in love with the library; it's huge and sunny.

I had a chance to observe a class. It was the second semester of Constitutional Law- my favorite subject. The textbook wasn't a traditional casebook. Instead, it was a compilation of several edited cases with discussion and examples in between. It was very much like my undergraduate law books. I find this to be better than the typical casebook because it doesn't needlessly obscure the law. The professor was interesting and he wasn't trying to hide the ball when students asked him questions.

In all, I came away highly impressed with St. Mary's. I feel I could be happy there, and that I could get a good education there. Many of their graduates, according to the dean, end up on the bench, which is where I would like to be someday. I am still a little concerned about my job prospects because I plan to return to California when I'm done.

I'm not so sure about San Antonio, however. It seemed a bit run-down, although that could have just been the areas I saw. I didn't see as many trees as I would have liked, either. I am amazed at the low housing prices; I could get my own 1 bedroom apartment for the price I'm paying for my portion of a shared apartment here in Fremont.

I think overall, if it comes to it, I'll be able to move to San Antonio, but I'm still hoping that I don't have to uproot my life. I've been rejected from several Bay Area schools, but I haven't yet heard from Santa Clara University (my alma mater), so there's still a chance that I can stay. I also haven't heard from a few other schools, so even if I do move, it may not be to Texas.

I'm grateful that I'll be able to go to law school in the fall, and I know that God will guide me to where He needs me to be.


BeraH said...

I was just cruising through blog posts about san antonio and I came across yours.

I lived there as a kid and still travel up there every now and then. What caught my attention in your post is that you said there weren't as many trees as you would have liked.

I understand your statement about parts seeming run-down. Though when I visit I actually like those parts because it reminds me of my childhood. But anyways, back to the trees. I thought St. Mary's was connected to the Riverwalk and there's a lot of trees there.

Brackenridge Park has trees and I think the S.A. river runs through there. The zoo, the oldest municipal golf course in Texas, a little train, some horse stables, and Kiddie Park (the oldest continuously operated amusement park in the U.S.). Now Kiddie Park is a rundown mess of rust and chipped paint but I still love it. I doubt much has changed since it opened in 1925.

Near the park is the Witte Museum which I think is just beautiful.

I think to the north of the park are some neighborhoods that are hilly and covered in trees. Also some unique homes with magnificent landscaping.

Anyways, it's not like I'm trying to get you to travel all the way back to San Antonio to seek out the beautiful trees.

Just, if you actually do end up going to St.Mary's you shouldn't be discouraged. They may not have Sequoias, but at least it's not the desert.

Keri said...

Thanks for your comment. I should have been more specific. There were plenty of trees on campus, but it was the only place I saw a lot of trees. Just driving around I didn't see many in other areas. I guess I wasn't looking in the right places.

DMI Dave said...

Keri, there are 15 or 20 "national" law schools that give you a boost in any job market, but apart from those elite schools any graduate seeking a law job outside a school's local or state market will have to put out a lot of their own effort to make contacts out of state and follow up. So the Dean's response is not unexpected.

Some positives for law school in San Antonio: cheap housing. And you can learn Spanish while you're there (a significant hiring advangtage for some firms). Good luck!