Enjoying Student Life during the Pandemic

by Jiayi Deng, ’21 LL.M.


Hi everyone!


My name is Jiayi Deng and I am an LL.M. student from Guangzhou, China. 


Joining CLS during the pandemic probably has been the bravest decision of my life (as you can imagine, my life is not the most exciting one in town). Before I came here, I moved a lot because of work after I got an LL.B. at Wuhan University. In the last four years, I moved from Wuhan (now everyone knows where that is for reasons I won’t repeat here…) to Beijing, then further to Hong Kong, then Shanghai, back to Hong Kong and then to Tokyo. Thanks to the rotation system at my firm, I acquired the skills for adapting to new environments super quickly.


It didn’t take me long to get used to my new home here in NYC. As expected, it was quite hard at the beginning! In the first few weeks, I was extremely cautious about COVID and didn’t join any big events. I felt a bit isolated because I didn’t see many of my classmates, but things have moved on and I have had a lot of fun in the past two months during my time here.


My sources of happiness from CLS and NYC these days include:


STUDY GROUP – I formed a WhatsApp study group with three other LL.M. students at the beginning of this semester. Two of us are in NYC and the other two classmates are not in the city yet. We chat almost every single day, sharing tips for studies sometimes, making jokes in class probably too often, and inducing one other with snack choices all the time. I also like sharing photos I take with the group so that the other two classmates can do virtual sightseeing even though they are far from the city now.



REALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITY – When I hang out with my CLS friends, we easily find each of us to be from different countries (or continents!). It has been really eye-opening to hear other people’s stories. Because of our different backgrounds, we have very different perspectives on even small matters. 


ZOOM ACTIVITIES – I do some stretching exercises or yoga with my friends over Zoom before I go to sleep. We also keep finding fun things to do online. For example, to celebrate Halloween this year, I made some cookies with my friends back in Japan and in China. Thanks to the Internet, they could order me the costume on Amazon U.S. and I could buy them costumes on Amazon JP/CN, and we had a Zoom party making cookies with the Halloween costumes on.


OUTDOOR EXERCISE – Since I came to New York, I’ve spent the majority of my time at home. As a break from studying, I really like wandering in Riverside Park. Recently, I started using the shared bikes to cycle in Central Park and also along the Hudson River with my classmates. As a reward for exercise, we normally enjoy a good meal at the end.



We have been very brave in starting/continuing our studies this year, and we are now part of history (congrats!!!). Imagine how proud we’ll be when we tell others many years from now how we earned our degrees from CLS in one of the most difficult times (what fighters)!


I hope we continue to enjoy more and more about our school life here. I am looking forward to getting to know more of my classmates during my time at CLS!