Once you start your degree, there is no denying that most of us come to feel chained to the expected graduation date our universities give us. Semester 2, 2015 sits alongside my name in my student admin account as the time I should get ready to pose with my framed certificate, but I can guarantee this won’t be happening. The reason for that is simply because this semester I have decided to study part-time.
Part time? But what are you going to do with the rest of your time? Oh I don’t know, probably twiddle my thumbs, take up underwater basket weaving, stare at everyone enrolled in four subjects… the possibilities are endless! I thought I’d outline the benefits of a part time semester and why there’s nothing wrong with taking a scenic route to graduation through work experience, volunteering, working more to earn that extra dollar, and just sorting your life out in general.
After returning from a six-month exchange in the UK where I finished my Arts degree, I had little desire to do many of the elective courses offered by my law school for this semester. There was only one subject that made my heart skip a beat and the remaining electives for the semester mostly revolved around the corporate world and didn’t really catch my academic desire. At the end of the day, we only have limited time at university and I didn’t want to waste it studying a subject I knew I wouldn’t enjoy, and most likely fail. Slogging through a good three years of compulsory law subjects, I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to actually do subjects of my choosing, and for now this has meant not choosing subjects.
The second factor behind my part time semester was the need to get some more volunteering and work experience up my sleeve. It’s been a relatively successful plan and I feel I now have a better idea of what I might want to do once I graduate. With the pressure of final year subjects looming, I wanted to take the opportunity to just have some time to do some simple career research, help out with some social justice organisations, do some volunteer research and hunt for some sort of work experience or placement in a legal office.
It’s also been great to have more time for things I’d normally be rushing in between assignment deadlines, dance class and my part-time job. While at the start of my semester I felt a little left out of the loop as my fellow law students were tackling the usual pile of assignments and lecture recordings, and feeling frustrated with the ‘oh, looks like someone’s become a bit lazy’ looks, I’m now really glad that I gave myself the opportunity to gain some more practical experience, explore career options, engage with my subjects, and actually read a novel in a season other than summer.
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