Ramblings, realisations and my journey into law…
A serious interest in addressing poverty and inequality in the world led me to explore a MSc in Development. I knew I wanted a career that would really make a difference in society, that would meaningful contribute to improving people’s lives, so I thought finding a niche in development work would assist. The reality of ‘getting into development’ had not yet hit home. Despite achieving a distinction in my degree, the employment terrain required field experience and many jobs were dependent on funding. Sure one could head off to refugee camps or support projects in the developing world at one’s own expense, but that option did not lend itself to my circumstances, i.e. having a young family and mortgage. Alas, the dream job of working for an international aid organisation or charity would remain a dream. Something I aspired to but that would always be just outside of my reality. Facing this disappointing prospect brought me face to face with the truth about my reality.
The truth is that dream jobs do only exist in one’s dreams and that I have actually been doing much of what I have been dreaming about already. My passion for helping people and for fighting inequality has been realised since and before leaving high school. First as youth leader in my local community; promoting HIV awareness or talking to young people about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse; volunteering as a visitor to a senior citizen’s home for two weeks; and, much later, I became a fundraiser for charities working to promote education in Southern Africa specifically, running marathons and collecting children’s reading books and school stationary to send abroad. Using my basic social media skills I supported a school in London with their efforts to build a primary school in Senegal. My running efforts contributed to accelerating education for women in South Sudan and at one point I collected at least a hundred Oxford Maths Sets (protractor, ruler, pencils etc.) shipped to KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. A drop in the ocean, but a drop none the less and one that hopefully makes a difference in the future of at least a hundred school learners.
I have not stopped trying to make a difference. I continue to use what I have, working with the opportunities available to me and volunteering once a week to encourage good physical health by leading a beginners running group for UK Athletics during my lunch hour. But there is a niggle at the back of mind – a thought that occasionally reminds me that I am not satisfied with simply arriving at a destination or ticking a box. Marathons have taught me that one can always do more than one thinks one can. And so, I have discovered that every step I take has the potential to lead me in a direction that is aligned to my overall passion for helping people. And this, patient reader, is why I want to become a lawyer. As a final year LLB student I am more excited about the law than I have ever been. Working as a paralegal for the past three years has helped me to gain some insight into legal theory and how it applies in practice. There is much more to learn. On completing my degree my next step is to follow the CILEX Graduate route and to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive, inspired by my principal, a CILEX graduate and one of the most motivating lawyers I know (not dismissing Trevor Sterling who I also look up to). It has taken me a while, but the realisation has finally dawned on me. The journey and the adventure of learning, and every decision in between is what makes the difference. Every decision made in every moment contributes to overall success. And success is not a destination anyway. If anything it serves as an encourager, a motivator or even a nudge to your next step in the right direction. It is what one can do right now that matters, no matter how small a thing it may seem.
Good luck to you on your journey. Be strong. Intentionally seek out supporters and be courageous. Your story may encourage others.