Prologue

Hello! I suppose some introductions are in order. The basics: My name is Alyanna. I am a sixth year lawyer starting an LLM in Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Welcome to this blog, or as we Filipinos like to say, “Mabuhay!” You may have found this blog via LLMGuide, which has engaged me for the academic year to bring the LLM experience closer to you. While my primary purpose for this blog is to document my year in the city, I also hope to help our any LLM hopefuls with a first hand account of my own journey here and getting here.

As of writing, I have been in Washington, DC for a little over a week. The past days have been spent setting up bank accounts and mobile plans, hunting for an apartment, and everything in the general business of acclimation to a new environment. As I haven’t started classes or seen the sights yet, what I can talk about today is everything before DC.

I had not always wanted to do an LLM. The idea of it was something I played with, but did not seriously look into it until around this time last year. I decided in July 2021 that I would finally go for it, funnily enough, because I had an expiring TOEFL score from when I took it during the early months of Covid-19, and I didn’t want to let that go to waste. In sharing my timeline and process, I’d like to preface that in talking to friends and colleagues who had done their LLMs before me, I found that everyone had a different way of doing things, and they all ended up where they were supposed to be!

In my case, I spent July and August informing myself as much as I could about the different schools, programs, and the application process. I scoured the law school’s websites and talked to as many kind and helpful Filipino alumni and current students as I could from the schools I was targeting. I had already made an LSAC account and taken the TOEFL previously, so I didn’t have to consider them anymore. Towards the end of August, I began processing the documents needed from my schools. In September, I overhauled my CV and started to fill out application forms. In October, I asked for letters of recommendation. It was also around this time that I sat down and took a first crack at my essays, although I had spent the past months casually but also anxiously brainstorming during quiet moments. In November, I submitted my first applications (coincidentally, the very first school I submitted my application for was Georgetown). I spent the rest of the month and early December fine-tuning my applications for other schools. By Christmas 2021, I had finished applying to all my top choice schools but (because I had low self-confidence, which you should not!), I continued to apply to a couple more for good measure. I could talk more about every step in more detail as it truly was an uphill battle, and in my case, not one where I had one definitive guide, as I had to pull from the wisdom of those who had gone before me, including some close friends and some total strangers. I feel like even just the process of choosing which schools to apply to could be the subject of another post altogether, but that is what we have all year for! However, at the risk of redundancy, I’d like to again say that different strokes for different folks and I am just one person. Lol.

For now, I will leave you with a photo taken from outside the National Archives building while waiting for my bus home yesterday! What is past is prologue.

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