I hope everyone is well, I am currently preparing for final exams that are coming up (I still can't get over how fast this year is going by, where did the first three months go?!). I finally submitted all my coursework and now I am revising for my final three exams. I finally beat procrastination and it feels amazing (which wasn't easy, but it helps remembering that this year counts for 80% of my degree !!)
Over the past few months I have received questions about what students that wish to become lawyers later on should study during GCSEs and A Levels. I never did A Levels, but when it came to taking the BGCSE (Bahamas) I picked classes that I was generally interested in because I knew I would need to have an interest in it in order to devote time and effort to do well in it. It is hard to focus on something that you really have no interest in.
When you apply for a position on the LLB (Bachelors of Law, the academic stage requirement to becoming a lawyer) they ask for your results. When you apply for a position on the LPC (to become a Solicitor) or the BPTC (to become a Barrister), they will ask for your results. You will yet again be asked for these results (along with others, of course) when applying for jobs.
I really want to emphasise that along with taking classes you are interested in, get into the habit of reading large amounts of material. Studying law requires research and reading large cases, statutes, books, articles, etc. Many of these materials are complex and require mulling over and over in order to fully understand.
Also it is a great idea to start thinking about getting work experience and volunteering. It does not have to be law-related yet, but getting work experience highlights your ability to handle responsibilities, manage your time, your commercial awareness, and the list goes on and goes on about these skills that employers will be looking for. Besides, that's extra spending money in your pocket.
Apart from mini-pupillage in the summer, I have become the queen of juggling. Along with my studies, I work as an awesome student ambassador and at the Student Union shop on Kingston Hill. During the school year, my law-related volunteering activities include working as a support worker with the Kingston Citizens Advice Bureau and as a student adviser with the Kingston Community Legal Advice Centre. There are a lot of opportunities out there, it just takes determination to go out and get it.
If you want to be super proactive, it would be great to get into the habit of staying up-to-date on fields that you are interested in. This is essentially what commercial awareness is, and every employer is looking for that in their candidates. It does not mean you have to know everything relating to the business, or other field(s) you are interested in, but at least a basic understanding can go a long way. I try to keep up-to-date by subscribing to certain newsletters and conducting research on the fields that I am interested in. It also helps you to get an idea as to what field you would want to get into.
I hope this is of help to all you future solicitors and barristers! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
So I've finally finished all of my coursework for the year and am ready to start revising for exams! Exams are six weeks away and I'm actually feeling quietly confident about this set - I've enjoyed most of my modules this year and I've been able to use some of my base knowledge from my old job at the hospital in some of my assignments.
Last year I found revising hard but this year I seem to be embracing it - I have found the methods that work for me. I have to have background noise - I can't be in complete silence and I can't have headphones on! Normally I stick the TV on in the background - last year I watched all eight seasons of House during my revision period and during the exam period a question came up where I thought "That was on House!" So I concluded that my TV theory works and I'm thinking I might watch ER this year!
Study breaks are a must - you can't revise for hours and hours because nothing will go in. Stretch your legs, watch TV for a minute or just do something that isn't revising!
I also find that I have to write things out and that answering questions helps me learn. In the back of science textbooks there are normally questions relating to that chapter and also, our lecturers are very good at giving us questions to answer over the year. I've bought an A4 notebook for each module and am writing everything in those so that when it comes to the day of the exam I can carry it on my commute into Uni.
I also make sure I leave at least two trains before the one I have to be on in case of delays-that also gives me enough time to get a coffee and revise for a while when I get to Kingston. I always triple check I've got the right equipment and my ID card as well!
Apart from exams I'm looking forward to a busy and exciting summer-I am involved in the running of a 6000 person Scout camp in June, I have a trip planned to see my friends in Canada, I'm going to a fabulous ball with my sister and I'm even going to Disneyland Paris as well!
Just remember - try not to stress too much and you'll be fine! You can only write what you know and what's done is done at the end of the day.
We all have heroes when we're younger, and I'm no exception. But there was a subtle difference with my hero - she couldn't fly, she couldn't melt things with laser vision. Her superpower was kept in her head, and later in a notebook from Wilkinson's.
Her name was Jaqueline Wilson.
Meeting one's hero is a slightly dodgy moment - so many times they could be a total letdown, grumpier than you thought they'd be, or just not as charismatic. Thankfully, last Wednesday when I actually MET JAQUELINE WILSON!!! It wasn't a let down at all. It was pretty brilliant actually.
She came to Kingston to talk to us on behalf of the Kingston Writing School, about what it's like being a children's author. Not just any children's author I hasten to add, but THE children's author. She's currently editing her 100th book, and spent several years as Britain's Children's Laureate. Her books defined my generation in the same way as Harry Potter did - and characters like Tracy Beaker, Andie, Ellie, the Twins from 'Double Act' and Elsa, The Bed & Breakfast Star, were my constant companions through a decidedly awkward childhood that I'm not quite sure I've grown out of...
It was an honour to meet her in the flesh, and as well as telling us all about how to become the next big thing in Children's Literature, she also shared some wonderful anecdotes from her own life that translates into excellent advice for anyone, especially someone who is about to make a big decision like whether or not to go to university; advice which I'm going to share with you lot now, because I'm nice like that.
1. She took up writing because of an influential English teacher, much the same reason I chose to pursue a degree in English Lit and Drama.
So advice the first: study something you love. Don't listen to anyone who tries to convince you to study something that will get you into a high paying job that you loathe. If you like photography, study photography. You'll regret paying uni fees a lot less if you're loving every minute of what you're studying.
2. Whilst in her late teens she was offered the chance to move to Scotland to work as a journalist, something she described as 'utterly terrifying' because she was moving to the other end of the country, to a city where she knew no one. Her mother made her stay in a catholic girls' hostel, so she knew her daughter wouldnt be getting into any mischief.
This brings me to advice the second: take risks. Don't be scared of leaving your comfort zone on a quest for something better - it may be the best decision you ever make! When I moved down to London three years ago I was nineteen years old, I'd lived in the same house all my life and I went to the same school and sixth form with the same group of friends. I made a massive leap of faith leaving County Durham but I've never looked back, and even now I'm getting ready to graduate I have no plans to leave.
3. Finally, she got paid three pounds for the first piece of work she ever had published. It may not sound like much, but she maintains to this day that no money she's earned has ever meant so much to her as that first three pounds.
So lastly, advice the third: Learn to appreciate the little things.
As a student you're going to be very poor - there is no escaping it. But having no money does not equal having no fun. London is possibly the most expensive place to live in England but there's still a ridiculous amount of free things to do - museums, parks, concerts. Even drinking cheap wine on the riverside with some good friends and a disposable camera.
It was an utterly amazing experience hearing Jaqueline talk and it's moments like last Wednesday that make me ridiculously grateful for all of the things being at Kingston has given me.
So if you're on the cusp of deciding which university you pledge your soul to for the next three years -or even if you want to pledge your soul to anyone at all - don't just think of the course, think of everything else that goes along with it. The location, the clubs, the nightlife and the people are all factors worth considering because you want to choose somewhere you'll be happy.
I did, and I truly truly am.
(Follow @SkintLondon on twitter to keep up to date on the best free and cheap outings about town.)
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