First impressions

A post from our student blogger Nicole

When I wrote my first blog I thought that New Jersey was far from Notre Dame, but when it came to meeting everyone in the program I realized I was completely wrong.  It turns out the 12 hours of driving I struggled with didn’t compare to the 24 plus hours of driving from California or Washington.  I’m also shocked at the different variety of people from mostly coastal states like Maine, Florida, Washington, and California.  This makes it more interesting to learn about everyone especially what their backgrounds were, for example, if they have their PhD or just graduated in May, and what their major was.  There’s quite a variety in this program.

The first week of “classes” aka bootcamp was great.  Yes bootcamp does sound harsh and intense, but it was actually a very informational and fun week!  Art, a retired patent agent, was a great guest speaker and his overview of patent law definitely helped for the first week of classes.  Also, some of the tools Karen showed us, such as, PAIR and the MPEP came in handy for our classes already!  You will hear multiple times that the MPEP is our bible, and so far I believe it!  Aside from learning, there was also some fun.  The South Bend Cubs game we went to was a great bonding experience.  If you ever want to find out if your fellow patent law grads are brave enough to go down onto the field and race with some hopper balls, yes the kind with the handle that’s made for 5 year olds, then a Cubs game is the place to go!  All of us are secretly going to keep those videos we took and use them for blackmail one day if needed.

The first week of actual classes went very well and the teachers are fantastic.  They all have their own sense of humor, which definitely helps you feel comfortable right away.  The classes you take for patent law will be capstone, patent searching, patent law and prosecution, and patent drafting.  I know that all of these classes will be extremely helpful when we become patent agents.  As for the capstone class you take, you will meet a professor on campus that will show you their idea that they want patented.  This will become your capstone project, and you will work on it all year.  You might get something crazy like me and end up working with devices for lab rats!  It’s really fascinating to learn about their ideas and you can sense their passion for their idea when they talk.  You really get to see how brilliant these people are.  By the end of the week I was already feeling like a patent agent.  There was also a new welcome gathering for master’s students that most of us went to at the end of the week.  Graduate students from ESTEEM, ACMS, Global Health, and our program were invited to go.  It was a nice networking experience as well as a fun time.

As for the campus of Notre Dame, it’s huge!  I came from a small campus in New Jersey and walking would get you from one end to the other.  Notre Dame on the other hand, will have you sweating buckets and losing weight by the time you make it to the other side!  Maybe that’s a little drastic, but it sure feels that way.  A bike will help you get everywhere on campus in a significantly shorter time, unless you run into the massive river of people between DeBartolo Hall and O’Shaughnessy Hall.  I was actually surprised to see that many people at once!  So one last thing, you should go to the Compton Ice Rink at least once during your time at Notre Dame.  It’s the building across from the basketball stadium that looks super lonely and separated from the rest of the buildings on campus.  They offer public skating at certain times of the day and there’s a bonus, it’s free for students!  You just have to pay to rent skates which is super cheap; $3 will get you an hour and 20 minutes of enjoyable skating!  So strap on your skates and I’ll see you there!

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