Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Reflections after my first year of law

So, I have survived my first year of law school. It is hard to describe how I feel. Elated and excited, but at the same time disappointed and stressed. It's that realisation that no matter how much harder or more dedicated I am, I will not transform from an academically good student into an academically brilliant student.

But despite that, I am slowly make new friends, I have developed contacts with many people and have been given a chance to learn so much more about the world I look in. I know what thing I will not be saying at the end of this journey, is that I wished I tried more things. It may be that I would say, I wish I hadn't take on so much on board. It's been a hard balancing act, and I having taken further responsibilities on board for next year, I know it's going to be even tougher and an even greater emotional roller-coaster.

But that's in the future. For now, I am travelling, and trying to not think about the amount of debt I am collecting in order to do so. I do feel this is the right thing. Next year will be the year for placements and clerkships, and the year after that, hopefully finding work. This is the summer break in which to travel.

Not solely travelling. I am doing a few small volunteering things. I have signed up with a group called Un techo para mi pais, or in english, a roof for my country. Tomorrow night I will go away with them to build emergency shelter somewhere in Lima, in a district called Villa Maria Del Trifuno. I have absolutely no idea what to expect, save for some youtube videos showing how the houses are built and some clips of previous projects. They've recruited 300 volunteers, so it's huge. Things to bring includes sleeping bag and hat.... both which I didn't pack. Buying a cap is fine, so I just need to find a sleeping bag within the next 20 odd hours.

This trip is important in two ways which are contradictory. There's the selfish CV padding, something that I can talk about and distinguish myself. The second may be more important. It's to remind myself of why I decided to go and study law. It is so easy to get caught up in the commercial aspects of law, the more superficial competition for the attention of the big law firms. I am no longer dismissive of them, as I was when I started. But at the same time, I fear becoming the type of lawyer that I said I will not be. I do not want my ambition and desire to succeed obscure the fact that I am studying law because I want my life to be defined by positive changes I make in the lives of others.