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Extra-Curricular Activities: Should I Bother?

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On top of the usual semester workload of case readings, textbooks, lectures and tutorials, most of us need to keep up a part time job to pay for the fun things like rent and highlighters. Faced with this mess of commitments, most would scoff at the idea of extra-curricular activities, but many employers are looking for more than just good grades or a solid work history, and a regular activity can be a great escape from study and work.

There are plenty of activities you can try in law school and many also provide some great experience that can help in your future career. Before hunting for new and exciting hobbies, stop to think about the career path you want to take, what your strengths are and where you could improve. Want to be a barrister? Look for debating societies, speech clubs and mooting competitions.

If you’re more about finding the middle ground, speak to the law students’ society about client interviewing and negotiation competitions. Or if you’re more of a future-scholar, track down some law essay competitions or student-run law journals and start getting published early. It really is a case of look and you will find. Beyond your university there are tons of community-groups that take on student volunteers.

I’m interested in humanitarian law and criminal law so naturally I am drawn to advocacy, mooting and charity work. Time can be a bit short in the semester so I tend to stick to one off competition rounds and focus on volunteering for the public interest law clearing house in my state.

Of course there are moments when I wish I could spend more time at home eating ice cream and watching Bones, but extra-curricular activities are worth it! The people I have met, the contacts gained and the experiences I have had are unbelievable. These experiences can also be helpful in job-hunting as they show that you’re willing to try new things, can work in a team and manage your time.

So start this semester of with a promise to try and get involved in more activities. I admit that it’s not always easy for students who work full time, have children or live ridiculously far away from campus. It’s important to know your limits before you get involved, but extra-curricular activities provide amazing experiences and a (very) welcome break from those weekly readings.

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