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Loving Law: My First Weeks at Law School

Stack of books

My perspective on being a law student could be said to be fairly unique. At 51 years old and with a 30-year career in nursing/midwifery behind me, the notion of “starting all over again” was questioned by some of my friends and family.

I believe that life is about having the ability to re-invent yourself over and over again. But why choose law? That’s what they all wanted to know at any rate.

I had fallen for the idea of studying law when I was forced to represent myself in court some years ago. In doing my research I found myself straying from what I really needed to know and becoming engrossed in the whole concept of law. I loved reading law, but couldn’t really put my finger on the reason why.

Then I attended my first tutorial, and the tutor said something that resonated with me instantly. He said, “You have to have a love of the English language to study law”. This was my “ah ha” moment. I knew right then that I had found my reason.

There are numerous advantages to commencing law as a mature student. I’d like to think that my nursing background gives me unique insight to the feelings and fears of those around me. Advocating for those who are obviously in some degree of strife but too uncomfortable to say so, is second nature to me. I do find that the age difference stimulates my maternal instinct.

Confidence in one’s ability to negotiate life in general is already well defined at my age. Or at least I thought so until late one night last week after the above mentioned law tutorial.

I had to find my way back to another campus to pick up my car. I decided to be smart and not ask anyone for directions. I suspected that the correct thing to do would be to get back on the bus right where we had all gotten off earlier.

I used my default “University Navigation” system i.e. “follow the young people!” Turns out my system suffered from a major flaw: the young people were going to the pub. And why not, I thought. They had obviously had enough for one day, as had I. But by the time I realised it, it was too late. We were miles from the bus stop, and I was mildly lost.

Being somewhat unfamiliar with the area I was left in a confused state, consulting my iPhone GPS to get an indication of the direction I should take. It worked well, except that I forgot to tell it that I wasn’t a car, so it took me on a 4.7km route back to my car - avoiding all the one-way streets and effectively doubling the distance I needed to walk! In the meantime of course, the rain had started to pour down.

I’m not sure if there’s a moral to the story. If there is, I suppose it has to do with being an individual and not following the flock. I guess at 51 and doing what I’m doing, it’s fairly obvious I’m not much of a flock person.

What delights me most of all, though, is the people that I have met in my first few weeks of law school. I have to say that I am honoured, humbled and delightedly excited to be a part of a discipline that offers a surprising (to me) and refreshingly lovely diversity of human nature, opportunity and, dare I say it, fun! I’m so glad to be here!

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