My W&L: Jackie Yarbro '15

There was no way I could have anticipated the sense of community that comes from attending a small school like Washington and Lee. When I first stepped foot on campus and everyone greeted me with a smile and "hello," I knew that I had found a place that I could call my home. My love for W&L and its community grew even more when I decided to join our mock trial program. When I walked into our first practice, a boisterous and friendly crowd of individuals eagerly began to explain the nuances of college mock trial to me. I was swept away by the excitement and enthusiastically committed to be part of the team. It is strange to think that I found my closest friends in a group of people who pretend to be lawyers and witnesses on the weekends. W&L has certainly taught me to expect the unexpected in a community of unique individuals. I have laughed so hard that I have cried, travelled to places I never thought I would see, and competed alongside my 20 best friends over the past three years. I love every moment of the journey. My time at Washington and Lee has passed like a whirlwind and I attribute much of the fun that I have had to the wonderful friends I found in my mock trial team.

My experience with mock trial has given me more than a family. It has also provided me with the skills that I need to pursue a career in the legal field. By competing up and down the East Coast against other prestigious universities, I have become a better advocate and critical thinker. The skills that I have learned as a W&L mock trial competitor have helped me in all arenas of my life. The thought of speaking my mind in class or doing a presentation no longer gives me butterflies, but rather fills me with excitement. My experience with mock trial has also helped me to improve as a learner. I never thought I could discover so much about my strengths and weaknesses by leading and listening to my team. But I have, and I am so happy that I found my home away from home at Washington and Lee.