Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Reading week over – did you go back to class?

So last week was reading week, and yes, I did do some reading. But not as much as I was hoping to, which left me feeling nervous about being back at class. Have a done enough? Will I feel like I am drowning? By the time I got to class I had worked myself up to such a state, I was thinking I better not go to class as I need to do much more to be ready. I got to the lecture a bit early to prepare myself for what was coming, the lecture started…..and I understood everything! Then it was time for the Seminar, which I was even more nervous about, as that is where we are asked questions about our reading and we prepare answers before each seminar. But more often than not the Seminar tutor will deviate from the prepared questions and just randomly fire questions to start up discussions. Which normally I love, but was feeling the pressure a bit last night.

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and went to the seminar. To my surprise, I enjoyed it as much as I always do. We had some great discussions, and again I kept up with what was being discussed (which was PACE and Admissibility of confessions). After class I was perplexed as to how I had worked it up to such a huge thing in my mind, when actually all I needed to do was just need to remember the reason why I started studying law in the first place. Which is because I love to learn, and I love reading case law and finding out the reasoning behind decisions as well as the decisions that are made. I love the debate, the different viewpoints, the freedom to think outside the norm, outside everyday life.

So I chatted to some of class mates after the seminar, and explained what I had been feeling before, and to my surprise they had been feeling exactly the same! We had a good laugh at ourselves for feeling so nervous about coming back to class after a week off. I just hope that anyone else who was feeling like we did, did not choose not to come, as that would have been a real shame. We have a tendency to blow things up in our mind to such an extent that they seem like an absolute mountain to climb, when in actual fact, it is not that at all.

As always, comments are welcome. Hope you enjoyed reading. Till next time.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Reading week….or re-organising week….?

Well this week is reading week at university, which means we have no lectures and no seminars this week. Which means for the first time since Christmas I actually have the whole week of evenings to myself. This is so that we can catch up on all of the reading we might have slipped behind on. Which is GREAT, only the temptation to get your life back into order is very high. There are so many little odd bits and bobs that have been left to the side or put off because lectures and seminars are more important to get to and those other little things can wait till you have that magic spare moment…! Which of course never comes around.

I thought about going to check out the gym down the road from where I live, as I haven’t had the chance to do it yet. Thought about re-arranging my study area….as it is a bit messy at the moment. Even thought about maybe going to do a quick bit of shopping. All things that I just don’t seem to have the time to do when I’m studying, but all things that are just as important, but not as urgent. Things I keep thinking can wait till the summer. Then we are granted this magic “Reading Week” and all these thoughts of things you could actually do with a whole week of evenings free, possibly even catch up with friends I haven’t seen since before Christmas.

Then I come back to reality with a bump, I still can’t do all of those things, as I need to get on top of my reading. This is the perfect opportunity to sit in at home and just read, read, read and read some more. The feeling of accomplishment when you have done all you need to do, and are up to date with everything, is like a rush of serotonin…and a weight being lifted off your shoulders.

So after debating with myself over what do with the “Reading week” I have been given…I think the answer is obvious….catch up on my reading!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Overwhelmed? Fears of failure?

Whilst chatting to some of my law student mates at class, I discovered that there are a lot of fears and so in this blog, I would like to address a couple of them.

The first one is, if you miss a class, or get behind on your reading it is not the end of the world. Don’t give up at this point, you can come back from it. All you need to do is set some time aside to catch that reading up, and chat to your class mates about the lecture you missed. Luckily the university I go to (Birkbeck Law School) records and posts their lectures online, which is really handy for catching up when you have missed something. If your university does not do this, just ask a mate if you can borrow their class notes, or email the lecturer directly. They are often very understanding and only want to see you pass. There is a lot of support, don’t let the feeling of being behind overwhelm you and cause you to give up all together. All it takes a bit of structure and a bit of discipline. If you have Friday night drinks, give those a miss and head home a bit early to catch up on an hour or so reading. Figure out where your priorities lie.

Is this degree going to be your future career? Is this future career what you are desperately trying to get into? When you look at things from a wider perspective, you will see that missing those drinks on a Friday night for a few weeks is not going to be a great sacrifice compared with the reward of completing a degree in something you love! Also, remember your reasons for signing up in the first place. These will help you get through the tough times when you are questioning why you are putting yourself though this.

I hope this gives you some confidence that it really can be done. Remember, don’t let things get on top of you, just those extra couple of hours here and there will make all the difference between a pass and a fail, between feeling overwhelmed and feeling like you have accomplished something.

As always, any thoughts or comments are welcome at the bottom!

Until next time…..

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Solicitor or Barrister - that is the question....

When you start out as a Law student, one of the first things you do whilst studying is question where your degree will take you, what future you have in store once you have completed that LLB or whichever qualifying law degree you are doing. In this particular article, I plan to explore the thoughts that have gone through my mind about which path to take, and what conclusions I have come to.

One of the first questions that enters any law students mind, particularly when you’re living the student life and every penny counts is, which career is going to bring me the most money? Shallow, I know, but at the same I would like to see any law student deny that thought passing through their mind at one stage or another. Once you have recovered from the shallowness of that thought, you focus more on what actually interests you and where your strengths lie.

For me, before deciding what to specialise in, I wanted to decide whether to be a Solicitor or a Barrister. There are pros and cons for both, and it is a tough decision. Being a Barrister appealed to me, so I enrolled with my university to join a mooting competition to find out whether I was any good at it. I would recommend this for anyone thinking about following the Barrister route. I had so much fun, but it was a lot of hard work and I had to give up several weekends to take part in the competition. From what I understand, it is much harder to qualify as a Barrister than it is a Solicitor, but this is just pure conjecture, as I do not know in fact if that is true. The mooting competition enforced my desire to become a Barrister, but as yet, I have not settled on that as my chosen path.

One of the reasons for holding off on the decision is, I am still only in my first year of Law, and still have plenty of time to decide, the other is, being a Barrister means a lot more fierce competition, where as a Solicitor is a much safer option in that there is much wider scope in terms of career options. I am open to comments and thoughts from others. I will continue to blog my journey, and see where we end up in four years, should be an interesting journey, stick around.