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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My experience at university so far..

As some of you may know I am currently in my second year of university studying Law. I'd really like to share my experience so far and for anyone else thinking about studying Law at uni, I'd like to give my intake on how I'm finding the course, from the lows to the highs to the good and bad. 

Why did I choose to study Law?
Quick background, before I went to uni I really struggled on what I should study, like a lot of students out there I just couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I originally wanted to study Law, I say originally because I ended up changing my mind because I felt there was no way I could study Law! I remember going to an open day at one of the universities I had applied for and the course leader asked who had studied Law before and over half of the people put their hand up! For some reason I felt really intimidated by this, I had never studied Law before, all I knew was what I saw on TV, I was kidding myself. I decided to change my option and apply to study International Business Management, I studied Business Studies as one of my options for my GCSEs and I went onto studying it in sixth form too. I found it quite interesting and also did quite well in it, so I figured I'd study it in university but I wanted to study International Business specifically. 

So many of my friends and family questioned me studying this, I didn't understand why but they gave me so much support during that time. My mum and dad especially, managed to convince me to go back and change my course to study Law (all of this happened before I even started uni, thankfully lol). I've always been fascinated with Law, there's so much to it and learning about it properly really pushed me to want to study it in uni. I ended up not caring that I hadn't learnt it before, there were bound to be others in the same situation as me. There was no need for me to feel intimidated or doubt myself, I wanted to push myself and prove that I would be just fine. 

When did you settle in?
Well for starters, I wasn't living in the student accommodation. I stayed at home with my mum for multiple reasons but I didn't get the experience of living that 'student life' which definitely took away from building up my social skills and meeting new people. This bothered me a little at first because I could see people forming their own groups and I didn't really fit in anywhere.. It felt like primary and secondary school all over again. The thing is, before I started I told myself I wouldn't let making friends become a priority, at the end of the day I was going there to get my degree and making friends would just be a bonus. I think half way into my first year is when I really began to settle in, since then I've felt more comfortable being around other people (I struggle from social anxiety at times). I've made some wonderful friends, each of them have made such an impact in my life since getting to know them and I couldn't imagine my uni experience without them. 

Don't worry if you don't make friends right away, I'm sure it's a lot more easier when you're living on campus but if you're not then trust that the right people will be brought into your life at the right time.

How are you finding the work load? Any tips?
Well well well.. They're not lying when they say uni is the real deal! I can only really tell you the work load for a law student and as you can imagine, it's a lot. There is so much reading involved, you need to read a lot of cases and legislation and learn how to apply everything! 

It takes practice to get the hang of how you should study and to be honest I'm still getting the hang of it today. A lot of people say a law student doesn't have much of a social life because of how much work we have to do. This is very true but I'd be lying if I said I gave up my social life completely. A tip I'd give that I've been doing is to create a balance between your studies and social life, although your studies should take more priority. I don't want to just pass in this course, I want to do really well and if that's the same for you then you'll know that the more work you put in, the more you'll get out. 

The first year is simply you getting the hang of everything in terms of your studying techniques and the work load. My first year doesn't count to my final year, which is the case for most other universities but this doesn't mean you still shouldn't try your hardest. Second year is when your grades start to count and the work load doubles but you should know how to do things. I'm yet to see how my third year goes, I'm hoping by then I would have mastered the technique in studying lol. 

What's kept you motivated?
Being a student can be so demotivating at times, studying and attending your lectures can all seem like such an effort right? I mean we all slack here and there, although some people tend to have this constant drive to always study! I know for me personally I have had some of my lowest points in life because of university. I want to be as honest as possible, my second year has not been easy at all. I found myself feeling very low at one point and starting to doubt myself again. I questioned whether I could actually do this because it all got a bit too much to handle.. I just felt stressed all the time. Now that I've come out of that, I feel like it's normal to get those moments where you're just filled with self doubt. Not only in regards to uni but life in general. 

I've learned that things make a turn for the better once you fill yourself up with positive thoughts. Instead of saying "I feel stressed" or allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed, replace that with positive thoughts or reading motivational books. Talking to other students also helps too. Another thing that's kept me going, actually this would be the main thing.. is graduating! I'm always picturing myself on my graduation day, in my cap and gown surrounded by my friends and family and receiving my degree as I make my way up on that stage. Even writing this down is bringing a smile on my face lol. Just to experience that moment gives me this drive to just keep on going! Try vision your end goal.. it could even be after you get your degree. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to study Law?
One thing that I feel is absolutely crucial when wanting to study Law is that you need to have an interest in it. If it's not your passion, at least have the interest and you can say this about any other course. At the end of the day you're not going to perform your best if you're not interested in what you're doing. I can't tell you how many people have dropped out of the course since I started. I understand sometimes you never really know if you'll like something until you try it, hence why I say have the interest. I genuinely have an interest in Law and some modules I find so exciting, which resulted in me having my best marks in them.

What are you looking to gain out of studying Law? Of course you want the degree but it's important to look at what you'd want to do with that after your course. You don't have to be a lawyer at the end of it, there are so many other pathways a law degree can take you. 

Prioritize your time. As I mentioned earlier, you need to make sure your studies are your priority if you want to do well. You're going to have to make a lot of sacrifices but it'll be worth it in the end. It's not easy saying no to a day out shopping with your friends but think of how much work you can get done in that time? I'm not saying have no life outside of your course but don't let that overtake your studies.

I hope this helps anyone out there who's looking to study Law or is already studying it. It's nice to hear someone else's perspective of how their experience is going. Don't let the word 'Law' scare you out of studying it, especially if it's what you want to do. Remember there are others who are in the same boat as you, you're all on this journey together so don't feel like you're alone! 

Love Sham x 

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