Moving to a different city and away from home for the first time in 19 years for university has been a very mixed experience for me so far, mainly filled with positive memories I will not forget but also a challenging transitioning period to begin with! This blog will entice with things I guarantee will help guide you through law school, based on my time here so far.
What took me by surprise in semester one was the heavy workload we had to deal with straight away. The amount of work required for a single module, which includes watching lectures, completing essential readings, seminar, and workshop preparation, all of this was genuinely more work than required in a week for all three of my A levels back in college! And bearing in mind we have 4 modules at once in law school, this can become very overwhelming at first which is okay! To deal with the workload, efficient time management is necessary to complete the required work whilst not burning yourself out at the same time. It goes without saying that sticking to a structured timetable that labels the work needed in a specific timeframe is useful and can help you set up a routine for the entire semester, a routine that many students think is non-existent.
Efficient note taking during lectures and readings is vital as you do not want to be scrambling for essential information when the exam period comes by, which is the result of skipping through lectures for the sake of completing them rather than processing the information of important cases which you will need to citate and critically analyse for the higher marks. Having achieved a First and a 2:1 grade on my January exam, I can assure myself this was due to my interactive nature in seminars which allowed me to gain and retain important information on content and exam structure. Therefore, trying to prepare for and attend seminars is very beneficial and allows you to revisit and process information received in lectures.
The importance of exploring the various career prospects law offers from an early stage cannot be understated. Law is a very saturated degree and you are essentially competing with thousands of students across the UK for post graduate jobs when the time comes. Therefore, being involved with first year opportunities such as webinars organised by law firms, can be very useful for networking opportunities and finding out about the realities of what to expect when working in law, and the ways in which trainees, associates, and partners manage to achieve such prestigious positions themselves. This will give you an advantage in having an insight into the cultures of different firms, which will help you stand out when applying for vacation schemes/training contracts with these firms. Having attended an insight day at Herbert Smith Freehills in London this year, it gave me a reality check on the vast amount of effort required to put in to work at such a prestigious firm in the future, concluding that the application side of things at law schools must be added when considering time management for course content!
Overall, studying law at Leicester, taking in the academic and social side of things, have been excellent, even exceeding my expectations. Joining different societies has broadened my view and interests on things which has been great, specifically the Insight Project for the Pro Bono Society which has been a great incentive for me to be proactive outside my studies and was an opportunity to meet some great people. In the end game it can be this project which makes me stand out amongst other students when applying for a training contract at a corporate law firm, the main goal I am working towards, which emphasises the importance of joining societies and being involved in extracurricular activities on campus.
On a final note, take each day as a new day to explore opportunities that are out of your comfort zone, stay on track of your work so that you’re as productive as possible, and most importantly, enjoy law school!