- 1 Tell us a little bit about yourself.
- 2 What made you decide to study law?
- 3 Are you happy with your decision to study law? What has been the most enjoyable part so far?
- 4 We all hate something about law school! What don’t you like about it?
- 5 Describe your normal study routine.
- 6 What else have you been doing during university?
- 7 Where do you want to work when you graduate?
- 8 If you had one piece of advice for other students, what would that be?
- 9 Any final words?
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi everyone! I turned 19 this year and am in my first year of law, and currently studying my Bachelor of Law and Global Studies (double-degree).
I am an Asian girl, if that helps with any visuals. Don’t hold it against me, but I’ve been a private school girl my whole life. >.<
In my family, I am the eldest sister and I have one younger brother (who is way smarter than I am!) I love animals, especially dogs, but have been told by people that I behave like a cat…
I can speak Cantonese fluently (but not Mandarin) and as far as Hanzi goes (written characters), I only know how to write my name and can’t read a menu in Chinese.
Funny story is, when I was in kindergarten the teachers didn’t know what to do with me, so they chucked me into the ESL classes (Even though I already took a test to check my levels before I entered the school?…) At home though, my mum had patiently read books to me every night and helped me already learn my ABCs. So there I was, a young Asian girl, sitting in ESL class with all the other Asian kids and one Caucasian boy, and yelling out the answers to every game that we played together. The other kids either laughed (kindly) or looked confused (because they still hadn’t learnt all their letters of the alphabet yet). The ESL teacher was very kind and I loved her a lot as a kid but looking back, I always wondered why I wasn’t her favourite kid. I guess I exasperated her as she kept on telling me to let other people answer. But nobody else ever knew the answer, so I answered! 😀 After two months, they kicked me out of ESL and I was very confused as to why and a bit disappointed. ESL had been one of my favourite classes and I liked going out of class to join in the fun. I had always wondered what I did wrong to deserve to leave such a fun class…;P I was a weird child. Very confident, sure of myself and…a bit dumb.
I have lived in Australia my whole life but have been overseas before on family holidays to meet my parents’ relatives or friends, who live in China (Hong Kong, specifically) and Macau. I love going to Hong Kong! It’s always exciting and busy and there’s so much to see and try. And the food is great; but you gotta be careful still! I leave it to my parents to choose.
What made you decide to study law?
I love English and was initially planning on studying journalism instead.
I was never interested in law really but in writing and helping others. I am someone who loves social justice and learning about human rights really gets me fired up.
Journalism really appealed to me, as I have always wanted to work for a newspaper or magazine. I wanted to take down people’s stories and really “get-behind-the-scenes” of different lives. Stories are very important to me. I am also very interested in aspects of travel and fashion.
I am a passionate creative writer and have won a few competitions for random work I’ve published. (This has died down a bit over the years as I’ve been super busy with high school and Year 12. I’ve only just started entering into competitions again.)
I guess I almost sort of wanted the whole “The Devil Wears Prada” experience but more toned-down, and a whole lot more enjoyable. Where I would be Meryl Streep but Audrey Hepburn, and minus the divorce and kids.
Nothing sparked my interest in law. That sounds sad but it’s true. I thought it was a stuffy profession full of old people who refused to change.
I only became really invested when I did Legal Studies in Year 11 & Year 12. It was my favourite class by far, and everyone had so much fun. My teacher was also amazing, so shout-out to him for being an inspiration! He combined level cool-headed rationality in his approach to the class learning scenarios, but also challenged us to think of how it all applied to the everyday and the mundane. (I also really appreciated him skipping over boring parts and giving us lots of documentaries instead.)
Honestly, when I put the law course as one of my choices, I was still very unsure. I was swayed by peer pressure and mostly my mum saying I needed to make an income with a “real” job was daunting and wore me down.
I thought that if I really don’t like law then at least I can change. Or I can finish the legal degree and do another or find a job in journalism with my law degree.
It’s a step up, at least. I guessed. I felt like I just had to take a chance. And risk it all. It didn’t seem like a good idea at the time and it doesn’t seem like a good idea right now either.
I couldn’t think of anything else to do but journalism (and apparently, that’s “too hard” and I “can’t make a living”). Couldn’t refute those claims so chose law because it’s still challenging. Yes, it’s also dry but it’s still English.
I’ve been dealing with dry intellectual boring stuff my whole life. Why stop now?
Also, my general interest stemmed from searching “so you want to be a lawyer” (literally typed this in Google) and “what does it take to be a lawyer?” I was kind of surprised that so many of the traits matched my own. Like, I could have ticked off 9 out of 10 of those boxes.
I work efficiently under stressful and pressuring deadlines. I’m organised, have great time management (heck, I even helped a friend manage her Year 12 workload once and got her priorities written down in a list to follow!) I’m definitely a people person (an introverted extrovert, don’t ask, my life juice dies down really quick), love writing, a perfectionist, always editing others’ work (when they need help), like to be creative, etc, etc. You get the picture. I was amazed.
So I was just like, whatever, I’ll give it a shot! Since society is telling me to and I don’t know what I want to be or where I want to go.
I just know I want to do something I love out of university and have a job where I can be content, satisfied and fulfilled with helping people, talking to people and socialising every day.
Are you happy with your decision to study law? What has been the most enjoyable part so far?
I’ve only just finished my first semester of law and am now on break. Actually, I finished my first contracts exam today! Yay, no more contracts!
So far, I’ve really enjoyed the history and background to law class because it clicked with me really well and I got high marks in it. I’m considering teaching a Peer-Assisted-Study-Sessions class for it next year.
I love my university and my classes – everyone is simply lovely and though I didn’t choose a prestigious law school and went with a small, local university with lots of people who don’t live near my area – it’s amazing to go somewhere where I’m really, really happy.
It has made my last year of high school totally worth the pain.
I have to be honest again but take it with a grain of salt. I read faster than most of my classmates and more than most people, but I hate reading constitutional cases. I can’t believe I’m even saying this but give me a textbook any day!
The best part about studying law is the people. At the end of the day, law is not done in isolation and you have to be a people person, it’s true.
In my classes, it’s really fun and chill and just nice to be able to chat about different cases with the people sitting next to you. It’s not the case itself – it’s stuff like “How would you argue against that party?” or “Wow, that guy was dumb to sign into a contract!” or “What would you say is the winning side?”
My classes are quite casual compared to other places (not naming any big universities, cough, Sydney, cough). It has been unexpected as I found so many people to bond with who don’t live near me.
It was also unexpected that I would run into so many of the same people in my classes. As I said before, my uni is smaller than others, but even during enrollment, I just didn’t think about it or put the two together; it’s easier seeing it happen than imagining it.
Also, the ratio in my classes of boys to girls is pretty equal, which I was surprised by. I went to a co-ed school, so I really like these classes. There’s still slightly more girls than guys, though – which I think is great!
We’ll all even out the current, unequal ratio in the profession!
We all hate something about law school! What don’t you like about it?
Well…What can I say?
Seriously, I don’t mind trawling through old cases. Google is my friend, so I don’t have to.
But my main feeling isn’t dislike at all, I’m surprised to say.
I’m still feeling very neutral about the whole course and because I haven’t had any experiences yet; I’ll just have to wait and see.
Maybe I can do a reflection for this blog at the end of my degree, like a small post-law interview!
I really didn’t understand Contracts well at all though, so the way I managed this was by getting a mentor (one of my friends is in her 3 /4 year of law and answered my questions) and I also got a study group together the day before the exam and it was fun cramming together. It was also very reassuring with a study group to know everyone’s in the same boat and to answer each other’s questions. This takes the stress away from the actual exam day and leaves you fresh to just concentrate on doing your best, instead of having to theorise what questions will pop up.
Also, going on websites like ‘You’ve entered Law Land’ is very helpful to see how other people have done it before and managed law successfully.
To me, success is finishing the degree and sticking it out for the whole journey. You can make success easier in mindset, I think, and also by surrounding yourself with enthusiastic and positive law students. It makes a world of difference.
Describe your normal study routine.
I normally have to go home to study. My desk is clean but filled with knick-knacks, not ones that distract me, but aid my creativity and inspiration.
I have one side of the desk to put my laptop on, and the other for note-taking or writing or whatever. On that writing side, I have a small notepad always there, where I write down what I need to do next.
My calendar is also there to show the deadlines of events while I’m working and to top it off, I put all my social events in my diary, too. It feels like a reward to get to relax and go out after studying.
I normally study in the afternoon. Morning is my most productive for assignments, especially on long weekends where I can just write or catch-up on things.
Staying organised isn’t about not procrastinating; it’s about figuring out how to best procrastinate and get everything done on time. Trust me, it works. Think of procrastination as relaxation and reward – you only get it once you’ve done some real work.
I don’t know how many hours a week I spend studying but I even it out with my social and personal chill time. It’s balanced I guess.
Recently over the past few years, I started listening to music while I studied and now it’s a bad habit I haven’t been able to stop. It makes me work faster but concentrate less as I’ve found that it switches my brain off and I think better without the earphones blasting away. Wish I could go back to those days…but the music is addictive!
I have a lot of free time since I stopped being in Year 12 and working in high school, so I think I will find a job soon to fill up the gaps in between. I’m planning on starting up my job search again by the end of this year. (For those who want to know, I used to work at a library for three years during high school and I loved it. That was my first [and only,] proper job.) I want to take up English tutoring sometime soon and like I said before, being a for Peer-Assisted-Study-Sessions leader cause I think I got what it takes to lecture ;D
I study less than I did in high school but much more efficiently in university. Like that famous quote, “Don’t work harder; work smarter.” My study routine has mainly stayed the same throughout my whole life. It was drummed into me by my Asian family.
I always think I should study less but don’t know how to. I don’t know how to chill and have more fun. I’ve always been a nerd and a worry-wart. 😛
What else have you been doing during university?
This question doesn’t relate to me much because like I said, I’ve only had one semester of university my whole life.
But I feel like I should chuck in something, so this is a list of a few of my hobbies & past extra-curriculars:
- Joined my university’s law society
- Participated in the Red Shield Appeal
- Mission Trip (2016 & 2017): In 2016 and 2017, I went on a school mission trip to an indigenous community near Cairns. This involved cultural training, kids’ ministry, team bonding and preparations throughout the year.
- Volunteered regularly to help out with looking after kids at church
I’m planning to get more involved with my law society next year and also pick up some volunteering opportunities, if that comes up.
I also am planning on going abroad; so my resume is going to be padded out well for clerkships pretty soon! (Yes. I know I’m only in first year. Don’t judge me for being enthusiastic or obsessive about getting a job).
About me: My hobbies: I love (you guess it!) reading novels, writing, listening to music, walking outdoors, being in a garden, drawing, taking photos, hanging with my friends and family and being an upcoming socialite (jokes! The last one’s a joke…)
Sports? I don’t do sports. Would like to. Me and my best friend always used to joke and say, “What even is exercise?” or “Too much effort.” Yes, we were those kids in sport. The girls who ran away, flinching from any ball near them.
Sorry for letting down your high expectations. Should have set the bar a bit lower.
Where do you want to work when you graduate?
I don’t know. But let me tell you what I envision. Imagine this…
Me, dressed fashionably chic, getting on a plane to seal another business deal between Australia and China.
Or me, in old clothes, bending down to talk to homeless kids and rushing back to my office to meet would-be parents and then sealing those adoption papers. That would be a joy.
Or meeting refugees and helping them process their papers so they can seek asylum in Australia (the country down-under, which is not so friendly, after all).
Any one of those, or all of those, would be amazing. And of course, I have to throw in the sparkling galas and balls.
Call me delusional or greedy, but it’s my dream alright! I still have to work hard to get there!
Maybe even opening up my own firm in the future… wanna be my partner-in-crime? 😊
If you had one piece of advice for other students, what would that be?
I don’t know what I wish I knew, but I have one advice to give –
Give it your all and don’t pass up any chance that turns your way, because the opportunity might never come again.
Don’t ever, ever doubt yourself – you know you can do it. That’s why you’re thinking about it.
And above all, take each and every day and make it special in some way. Enjoy it to the full and be content with what you have.
I’m a Disney fan so let’s steal Cinderella’s words – “Have courage and be kind.” Let’s make a difference together!
Any final words?
If you read through all of that – my mind and my concerns and worries about the law student life, thank you!
I just blurted everything onto the page, so that was quite a trek you went through and I really appreciate it. I know it was worth it 😉
And also, pretty please leave some nice, encouraging comments 😊