Sean G - The road to university
After a month of worry-free, post-exam holidaying, the realisation that I am now only two weeks from finding out where I'm going to university has begun to set in. In order to avoid this feeling of impending doom, I thought I’d explain why I want to study law – and I’ll try and keep it as far from a personal statement as possible – God knows I had enough fun writing that!
It all began in the summer of 2010: year 10 work experience was fast approaching and I had no idea what I wanted to do. Originally, I had planned to find some at Arsenal FC with my friend, but there were no spaces. This then led to frantic looking at whatever I could find and then deem more interesting than stacking shelves, which I assumed was the extent of the ‘work’ you do on work experience. The idea of working in a law firm was not mine, nor was it something I sought; in fact, I only did work experience there because my mum knew someone who worked at the firm and could get me a place at short notice. Law seemed like a challenging and respectable profession to me (and the pay isn’t bad either), so I went into work experience with an open mind.
I enjoyed watching court cases and travelling with a solicitor, but I had still not decided whether studying law was definitely for me. After all, you don’t need to study a law degree to become a lawyer, as every university open day was keen to drill home. Ultimately, the repetitiveness of college made me want to study law – I enjoyed all of my subjects, but just not enough to carry on doing one of them for the next three years. I wanted a new challenge and by the end of year 12 (when trundling around universities became the usual weekend pastime), I decided to look at law open days to see if it was right for me. Reading law would be something completely different to what I’d been studying previously, so making sure that it wouldn’t be completely alien or impossible for me to grasp was the main thing that I wanted to establish. Also, I wanted to make sure a law degree would be interesting enough to keep me occupied for three years.
After the first few open days, I realised that they were essentially all saying the same thing; "pick us! pick us!" and, "you shouldn’t do law just because your parents do it" (is that the main reason people study law?). The organisers of the first open day I went to bleated this message, then plonked some current students in front of a room of eagle-eyed parents and slightly more nonchalant prospective students to give a "frank and honest" account of what studying law was like and why they chose to do it. All they had to do was say anything except "because my parents told me to", yet these five students all said something along the lines of, "I didn’t want to, but my great-great granddad was a lawyer and my parents said I should do it, so I did". I began to wonder whether the ability to study law was genetically inherited and the courage to apply to study it was induced by severe parental arm prodding. Then I remembered, my mum technically got me into it, so I should be fine!