Mastering study-life balance during your LLB
Caitlin Alexander is an LLB student at the University of Glasgow. She has a particular interest in human rights, charity work and voluntary work and is moving to Oslo in August to participate in an Erasmus year.
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist” – Jack London.
Okay, so that might be totally cliché but bear with me.
I am now finished my second year and about to start my third year abroad studying at the University of Oslo so I know how time-consuming and sometimes unbearable the LLB is, even before going into Honours!
I spent the first two years at uni with my eyes glued to a textbook, wondering what a social life is and if it will ever grace me with its presence. The bottom line is that you really need to get the right balance between making the most of the opportunities that you are given and crying over the law of delict (I still get nightmares). During term time it’s important to focus mainly on doing as well as you can at uni, but summer is when you get free reign over what you do.
I’ve been accused of being a bit of a part-timer at university, based solely on the fact that we get about a four-month holiday. Therefore, I strongly advise taking advantage of this extended break.
By all means get a part-time job and pay off some of that student debt, but why not tick off some of those countries on your bucket list or work at something that you have always wanted to do? Now is the time to do it.
During my first year at university, I was given the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro to raise money for Childreach International. I have always been told that law firms tend to look for people that can tick all the boxes and any kind of experience in the pro bono side is great.
Now this wasn’t at all my motivation for participating and I also had no incentive to try to assuage any guilt I had for being more “privileged”. I simply like to help people and that’s where my love of human rights emerges from.
University is full of fantastic chances get involved in things that you are passionate about so this is the best time to jump at every opportunity. Climbing Kilimanjaro was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, not just physically but it was also difficult to balance fundraising almost £3,000 with university commitments, however it was also very rewarding.
We got the chance to visit a school that the charity had renovated and seeing the smiles on the children’s faces was beyond anything I have ever experienced – without a doubt the best day of my life.
By writing this post, my intention is to get across how important it is not to just waste those four months on things that you don’t want to do. I know what it’s like to be doing something that’s just a means to an end so I took up some other opportunities this summer.
I am attending a summer school in Holland, doing a course that coincides with my interests. I did some work experience at Shepherd and Wedderburn and also at the Procurator Fiscal’s Office in the town that I live in. I got volunteer jobs at the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation and Citizens Advice and I pursued my love of writing by taking up a more political role within the newspaper that I write for. I also write a blog.
These are things that genuinely interest me and I haven’t taken them up solely to impress law firms or enhance my CV.
You have around four months every summer so do the summer internships and the front of house jobs, but also learn that instrument that you’ve always wanted to take up or teach yourself conversational Swahili. Just because you can. You might just look back and wish you’d said “yes” to more things.