Gurkamal Dhaliwal – The Insight Project Team Member
As a Canadian student in my final year, I have realized many different things from my first year. The most significant change is being in-person rather than online, and how many advantages and disadvantages this change has brought. I am also sad that my final semester at law school is ending, as well as my experiences in the UK. While trying to soak all of it in, I still have many moments where I wish to experience this with my friends and family from back home.
Some of the advantages/changes that have come about in my final year are having all my lectures, tutorials, and workshops in-person. This helps me have fewer distractions and increased concentration and feel like I am getting the real, personalized law school experience that prevents me from falling behind. I am also able to join so many extracurriculars such as societies and be a part of opportunities like mooting, volunteering with the Sikh Society and much more which I couldn’t do online last year. I can build stronger, deeper, and more meaningful connections with my professors and peers, making me feel far more connected to law school. This further encourages me to leave my comfort zone and increases my sense of well-being, belonging and comfort. Most importantly, this change has brought upon a structure and routine which I strictly follow as I balance both school and outside-school activities in this short amount of time.
On the other hand, some disadvantages are being away from all my loved ones. I can have a much stricter structure and routine here, but with the time difference, it’s always such a short amount of time that I get to talk to everyone from back home. I feel like I am living my life but somehow guilty at the same time for not doing it with them. I often find myself feeling guilty living abroad while my parents and siblings continue to live the same life, while I miss my loved ones’ birthdays or significant accomplishments in life. Also, it was much easier back home to have that extra help with groceries or making food on a busy day. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the independent activities I carry out alone.
All in all, the benefits, and drawbacks of completing semesters in-person or online depend on many factors. It took me a while to slowly adjust to my new lifestyle and see how the advantages took over the disadvantages. Sometimes, I am living a double life where one of them is on pause. I feel blessed for this experience of living abroad, but I also miss the one I left behind. It’s a very mixed set of emotions, but I am grateful for all of it.