Law Maid

Mother. Wife. Law Student.

Month: January, 2017

It’s all about owning it

OK so I was prepared to accept jargons as an inevitable part of joining any professional league. I didn’t particularly look forward to dealing with Latin but then I also accepted this as a fatal part of training for the legal profession. What I didn’t expect was the sheer volume of ordinary words with specific meaning in law. For example, my tutors have on more than one occasion called me out on using what I thought to be innocent words such as “interfere” out of (legal) context. Frustrating.

I suppose using the right words to say what I mean and mean what I say is an essential part of the job. Just like I know I’m not going to develop a legal mind (another elusive professional qualification that I’ve heard so much about) and become a lawyer overnight.  I just hope that I can get through law conversion without feeling like a douche.

Note to self: it’s all about owning it. I recall going through the same thing when I started out in my previous career in a different field. I became more than comfortable in my own skin after five years of living and breathing what became more than just a job. Granted, it was more of a passionate love affair at the end of which I crashed and burned, heartbroken and disillusioned, I hope to have a healthier relationship this time around.

Path to studying the right way

I’m a genius. So it turns out that I’ve been approaching my GDL studying backwards. At BPP Law School, you are meant to read the books, attend the lecture (listen to the recorded lecture if you are doing it by distance learning like I am), prepare your answer for tutorial questions, go through the questions during the tutorial to make sure you’ve learned the material and consolidate. Instead, I rather mysteriously started with the tutorials.

Don’t ask me to explain the logic of my thinking. All I can say is that I made a wrong turn somewhere between missing the orientation session due to work and abandoning school when Esther came down with a nasty case of the flu for two weeks. The fact that they didn’t provide a separate schedule for part-time distance learners didn’t help either.

The good news is that all will be well if I can turn things around and establish a more sensible and logical method of studying during this holiday/reading week. I went on the internet to get advice from people who already did their GDL and found this old blog post (link) by a helpful person named Ashley Connick which gave me some ideas.

Anyway, even before I realized I’ve been going at it backwards I knew my biggest challenge without a doubt will be memorizing case-law. I had pretty decent retention skills back in uni and grad school, but after five years of working and juggling family my memory isn’t what it used to be. I am so distracted all the f*king time. I’m sure all working moms can relate. So I sought advice and found this post (link) on LearnMore by Lawbore to be a helpful starting point. Will see if any of it works for me.

Today I’m revising the Human Rights Act 1998 for Con & Ad which mostly came into force on 2 October 2000. Fascinating stuff.


Five things I learned in my first three months as a part-time law student

So here is what I learned from surviving my first three months as a part-time law student:

  1. At least 20 hours per week should be devoted to studying otherwise you will fall behind on readings, lectures, and tutorials
  2. Mocks are extremely useful but only when you actually fully participate
  3. Legal writing is a skill that needs to be honed with practice
  4. Learning the proper names of case law is not an option, it’s a must

Also, it didn’t take long for me to realize I’ve bitten off more than I can chew by committing to work full-time and parent at the same time. One of them had to go and the choice was obvious.

I am so thankful to have the emotional and economic support of my husband which enabled me to quit my day job and focus on my dream. I know not everyone is so lucky. The way he sees it, having a mom who doesn’t give up on personal development will ultimately be good for our daughter as well. AND I get to spend more time with her as a stay-at-home mom which is definitely a plus for all of us!

I am attempting to catch up on school work over this holiday/reading week which will be painful and challenging as I am behind in almost all subjects: Contact, Tort and Constitution & Administrative Law. The more I fell behind, the more I felt unmotivated to plow through. Things got out of hand and I was miserable, wondering why I’ve done this to myself in the first place. Which brings me to my final lessons learned:

5. Grit is important and don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it

New year, new resolution

People who know me may be surprised to hear this but I’ve been holding myself back. Call it fear of failure, call it imposter syndrome. Whatever. I’m determined that 2017 is the year that I will kick it for good.

It’s not that I have low self-esteem per se. If anything I can sometimes be confident to a fault. My problem, and I need to recognize that I have a problem, is this sense of guilt that I have a hard time ignoring. A humble person would not be so proud. I am proud and therefore I am a lesser person. And so turns the wheel.

I trace it all back to my contradictory upbringing. I was expected to excel but never shine. I was privileged but was constantly told to earn it. There was no┬ásympathy when I made mistakes. I would simply do better next time and get back in everyone’s good graces. I was a people pleaser and was utterly unhappy for it. I know now as an adult that no one could have┬álived up to the expectations with which I was raised. And that’s totally OK.

My New Year’s resolution is to apologize less and be my own advocate. That, and to blog more consistently. Cheers to 2017!