The moment that solidified my desire to study Law was when I attended a conference at the House of Commons. A speech was given by Lord Digby Jones leading him to end with: “…It is the decisions we make that ultimately show who we are’. This speech helped me ground my belief in one of my favourite quotes, “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”- JK Rowling
After my GCSE’s, I had decided to travel, take up paid employment, legal placements and voluntary work. At the age of 19, instead of taking the traditional ‘A-level’ route to university, I undertook an Access Course (a year) in Social Sciences and studied modules such as Communication skills, International Law and Politics and Sociology. I wrote essays just like those doing ‘A-levels’; took part in group presentations and debates, and completed an independent project.
I was able to step into university without having to study for two years. Compared to fellow ‘A level’ students, I was able to develop my skills and knowledge without feeling the pressure in which those students around me were feeling. This pathway gave me the understanding and confidence to take on a degree. The requirement of having to be the age of 19 when joining this course helped me to communicate with determined, mature students. Having now finished my degree, I can see the similarity between the two as this course I feel, is a mini taster of what the first year of a university establishment is.
Nevertheless, this shortcut to university did come with its difficulties. During my studies, I had applied to many firms and chambers for experience, however, as I did not have ‘A levels’ under my belt, I was overlooked. Being resilient, I submitted two to three applications each day and finally had the opportunity to take part in a six-week training at a London firm. I still experienced being out of place, as I was the only one with no ‘A levels’ compared to other students on the training programme.
Despite the above, I still encourage one to do the Access Course but bring to attention that as it is not a ‘traditional’ route and does carry many hurdles which through being resilient, patient and determined, one can succeed. It is never too late to achieve your goals as I was still able to enter university with real knowledge and skills. Although I may not have had two years of experience in essay and exam practice, being level-headed, determined and emulating those who did ‘A levels’, allowed me to attain my Law degree.
By achieving an outstanding classification, I am no longer feeling judged for not being the conventional ‘A-level’ student. Those who are at the age of 19 and above, want a quick route into university and determined, an Access Course is a fantastic route.