If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you may have come across me mentioning my education on a number of occasions. For those of you that do not know, I have both an undergraduate degree and a masters in law.
From a young age I was interested in the law and had always envisioned myself having a career within the legal profession.
As you may be aware I do not work in the legal profession as I decided it was not for me.
I thought I would share my story with you and tell you that it’s okay if you change your mind about your degree. Just because you thought your life was heading in one direction, doesn’t mean you can’t change it.
My undergraduate degree in Law –
In short, I absolutely loved my undergraduate degree. I had an amazing three years learning about the academic aspect of the law. I was surrounded with like-minded people and I was excelling in all of my classes. If I’m completely honest I felt on top of the world and I had my entire future mapped out ahead of me.
I worked in a law firm on and off during my three years at University. It was a small firm and I really enjoyed the work. I was quickly made to feel like one of the team and I was thrilled to eventually be given the title of paralegal.
The degree was a lot of hard work and incredibly stressful, however I enjoyed it and so it made it all worthwhile. I found lectures fun, you couldn’t keep me quiet in classes and I had a thirst for more knowledge. I was in my element.
Eventually I graduated with 2.1
This is where I began to waiver a little bit as I contemplated doing my Legal Practice Course and Masters. All I had to do was complete one more year, find myself a training contract and then I could look in the mirror and see a trainee solicitor looking back at me. Doubt was starting to creep in, however I had no other plans for my future, I was already on a certain path and so I decided to follow it and enrolled to complete my LPC and LLM.
LPC and LLM (Masters) –
I can quite honestly say that I hated this year.
This year was focused on the practical side of the law and something about it just didn’t click with me. I was studying in London and found the general environment and my fellow students to be incredibly corporate. The atmosphere was competitive and you knew that behind every smile was a snarl. I had a handful of genuine friends but other than that nobody else was worth wasting time on.
I still enjoyed some aspects of the law, however my attitude towards it was changing. I’m not a very corporate person, nor do I want to spend every evening out ‘networking’. I began realising that my hopes for the future were changing but I didn’t know what to do.
I carried on studying as I watched my mental health begin to deteriorate under the stress of living a lie. When people asked me what area of law I wanted to specialise in the usual spiel would tumble out of my mouth without me even having to try – at this point I was completely detached from the future I once had planned.
I kept telling myself that once I was in a job things would be better and I would enjoy it.
I graduated with a commendation in both my LPC and my LLM. I had refrained from applying for training contracts thinking that I would paralegal for a while and my passion for the profession would return.
I began applying for jobs and was successful with two of my applications. However, it wasn’t until I began those jobs that I realised just how much my mental health had suffered over the previous year. I left both jobs quite quickly and took a month off to look after myself.
Once I felt a little better in myself I decided to apply for some temping paralegal roles, thinking this would help me get back on my feet.
I eventually landed a role that most people would have been incredibly envious of. I was working at a prestigious firm in Chelsea and the pay was amazing. Despite having such a lucky break I absolutely hated the job and as a temp I felt isolated from my colleagues. I would come home crying every night because I was so unhappy.
I stuck it out for about 6 months until my dad was invovled in a traumatic accident (you can read about that here – I discuss it in February and March). Dad’s accident left me with some post traumatic stress and also made me realise that life is too short and precious to be as unhappy as I was. I handed my notice in at work and at the end of the week I left. I can still remember how happy I felt as I left the building and walked down to the station – I truly had a spring in my step.
After leaving that temping job I knew that the likelihood of me going back into the legal profession was very slim. Since then my mental health has deteriorated to such an extent that finding an employed job is currently impossible. Instead, I have been attempting to forge a career as a freelance writer, whilst I work on my mental health. I have come to realise that writing is where my heart lies.
I’ve always been a keen reader and I’ve loved writing stories since I was a child. Words are such an amazing tool to conjure up incredible images within our minds and I want to share my words with the world. I hope I can achieve this dream, I’m sure I’ll keep you updated.
I may not be making as much money as I was in my temping job, however I no longer get in bed and cry of a night at how unhappy I am.
It’s never too late to decide that you want to change your future!
Let me know if you’ve had a similar experience.