The last 15 months have been a roller coaster ride. The unremitting drops, loops and turns have left us not knowing whether to laugh, cry or avoid opening our eyes altogether.
Aside from it being unexpected, the lockdown period has meant something entirely different to each and every one of us. I have found it interesting to see how friends, family and colleagues have adapted to this strange, new form of normality.
Through the unexpected turns of my lockdown journey, I decided to upskill and reskill. At the start of 2020, I was in the middle of my post-graduate year, training and performing, with Northern Ballet. As well as this, I was travelling across Europe to attend auditions in the hope of securing a permanent contract or to find freelancing work.
I remember the build-up to the first national lockdown of March 2020, and thereafter of it being an incredibly uncertain time. Some auditions, interviews and assessments were moved online, but most were cancelled. As a result, the opportunities to secure contracts in most industries began to disappear rapidly, and with no sign of returning in the immediate future.
When the nationwide lockdown was imposed, like many other graduates, I had no choice but to move back to my family home. I found this extremely difficult having lived independently for the last 4 years, not to mention the complications of maintaining my ballet training from the living room!
Despite keeping busy with newfound lockdown hobbies, I still found myself unable to fill the time. I decided to apply for part-time jobs with the prospect of gaining new experiences and developing my skills. I began serving customers at my local supermarket alongside numerous other ‘new starters’, many of whom to my surprise were people I had attended secondary school with. The time I spent reconnecting with old friends and familiar faces made a huge difference to my lockdown journey, making it somewhat bearable.
I am grateful to have had this opportunity to work, to serve my community and to socialise throughout this global crisis. Although the slower pace of life has been difficult to adapt to, it has allowed me to stop, reflect and consider how I will move forward. Having been interested in a career in law since being at school and always intending to move into the industry at some stage in my life, I thought, why don’t I get a head start and pursue this passion now?
Over the last 6 months, I have actively concentrated on increasing my knowledge and understanding of law. I have attended virtual insight events, completed a number of online experience programmes, and conducted heaps of independent research; but most recently, I have completed work experience at Mooneerams solicitors.
My virtual work experience with Mooneerams has introduced me to the type of work a lawyer does and has given me the opportunity to learn first-hand from industry professionals. To begin with, I found parts of the work quite difficult, particularly deciphering the terminology and digesting some of the legal documents, which can be quite heavy.
However, with lots of research and the support of my mentor, a solicitor at the firm, this became manageable.
To this point, shifting my attention to law has been a positive change. Everything that I have learnt and worked on has been fascinating and incredibly thought provoking. In particular, studying case law has challenged my perception by demanding that I consider events from several different points of view.
After the invaluable experience that I have had at Mooneerams, I now feel much better prepared to take on the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). After receiving offers from multiple universities, I will go on to study the GDL in September. This is a year-long conversion course for those who studied a non-law degree, and it condenses a three-year LLB degree into one.
However, the qualifications required for a career in law do not stop here. The next step will be deciding between the Law Practice Course (LPC), to become a solicitor, and the Bar Practice Training Course (BPTC), to become a barrister. As of now, I am undecided on the route that I will follow. This last year has shown me the importance of being open minded, embracing every opportunity and most importantly trusting the journey. I look forward to the continued challenge of exploring a career in law.