@caffeinatedlawstudent: On seizing opportunities in life
“Time is priceless, but it’s Free. You can't own it, you can use it. You can spend it. But you can't keep it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” ― Audrey Niffenegger
For me time has always been at the heart of everything. My greatest advice for anyone – law and non-law alike – make sure you use the time you have well and to the fullest extent. In every aspect of life, we will constantly be questioned on how we used our time and why we decided to use it in that way. It is all about balance and being at peace with yourself no matter how cliché that sounds (I am cringing just reading my own words). A constant battle of mine has always been balancing the craziness of the life I have chosen to live and taking some time to sit and ponder in self-reflection.
(image taken from instagram; caffeinatedlawstudent)
I am just an average second year law student with the ambition of one day making it as a barrister (still undecided on area of specialty, but that is a discussion for another day). My university journey so far has been somewhat successful; I am the President of two societies on campus, have undertaken two leadership courses, planned and hosted a wide range of events and have undertaken three mini-pupillages. However, these crucial ‘Unique CV beautifying’ achievements do not define who I am or what I stand for. I haven’t been born into a family of excessive wealth or a line of connections (or any legal connections for that matter), every opportunity I have had during university and every connection I have made is because one day I decided to say yes.
It is still an ongoing process this new feeling of boldness to seize the opportunities that life presents to us. During my whole academic life before university I did not utter a word in classrooms, public speaking was a definite no go area and I had no sense of self value. This new sense of worth that I found in staying focused on my dream to be a barrister has truly been freeing and has made me realise that I have a voice and I deserve to use it – so I do! This shift in thinking is something I try to help my colleagues in law school feel also, as this way of thinking allows you to develop a sense of responsibility – everything you do impacts people somehow. Simple. So, by saying yes to opportunities which will help to develop yourself as a well-rounded individual will help others without you realising. For me this is of the utmost importance as I have always felt like I have a lot to give and part of the problem in my past of not valuing myself has hindered this, as in order to give you must first realise your own potential.
It would also be wrong for me to say that law school is all singing and dancing. This past semester I have been dealing with what one of my Professors calls ‘imposter syndrome’. Most days there has been a constant feeling of self-doubt and labelling myself as a fraud. Yet, the only person saying this was myself and it does all come down to how you see yourself. I am thankfully back in a positive position now, but it is in these experiences that help us grow and will make us damn good lawyers or to excel in the alternative careers that we may pursue. It is important not to get caught up with the false impressions of what a law student should be or look like – you are you and that is incredible. For me, I recognise that I have good days and bad days – like everyone! On good days I may make a picnic and spend 15 hours in the library fully focused and immersed in my studies. However, on bad days I may drown myself in Flat whites, eat Ben and Jerrys and stay in bed with a film (probably ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ‘The Terminal’ or ‘The Other Guys’) or read yet another book. But that is okay! It is in this acceptance of yourself and acknowledgement of your limits that we grow. It is important to be able to step out of the room and see our lives in perspective until we are ready to re-enter.
Right now, I am having a rest day, two days before my second year exams start, and this is important because rest is not valued enough in modern society – If you have worked hard all semester long then you have time to take rest days and relax! This current global pandemic has made me respect this more. Rest doesn’t mean you have to sit down and watch the day pass (I would be insane if I did that), so two weeks into lockdown I decided to sign up for a half marathon later on in the year and have been training for that as well as reading many non-law books to fully relax.
Going back to how I started – time is important, and you should hold yourself accountable to how you spend your time. Respecting the balance that life needs – academia, career, relationships, self-growth, hobbies, etc. The life you dream of exists if you just say yes! It may be hard but if you engage it, it is possible – my life is crazy, tough at times and completely on the edge of whimsy, but I would not change it for lesser. In fact, over the next few years I would like to enter a whole new spectrum of madness because I dream of a big life and will not stop until I have succeeded.
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