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Starting a Career in Academia

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This time last year I was applying for summer clerkships. I didn’t know what area of law I wanted to practice in, but I was sure that I would be able to spend the summer being a corporate ‘lawyer’. When I missed out on a clerkship, it was a bit of a wake up call. I realised that I didn’t want to work in corporate law… but was I going to do next?

Luckily, I spent my final semester writing my Honours thesis on an area that I was passionate about: Internet laws in authoritarian governments. I really enjoyed the writing and research and I got to meet a lot of interesting people throughout Australia that shared this same interest and passion. These people that I met were all academics.

After networking with these academics I was offered part-time tutoring work in semester one. The deadlines got a little crazy during semester (marking 60 assignments within 10 days while working part-time as a paralegal and completing my GDLP), but I enjoyed that I was constantly learning and researching. Also, there is something very satisfying about watching a student’s progress over the semester and seeing students become passionate about a topic that you taught them.

So this week I start my new job working full time as an academic. The opportunities that have arisen are far beyond any experience I would have gained in a summer clerkship. Not only am I teaching law subjects, I have also branched out into politics and critical analysis subjects. Everyday I meet people that love their job and are so passionate about the areas they teach in.

Some may be horrified at the thought of being a full time researcher, having to lecture every week and be the horrible person that has to mark students’ work, but if you are passionate about a particular area of law (or even an aspect of your second degree), don’t dismiss working as an academic. As an academic you get the opportunity to write in academic journals and have flexible working hours, but most importantly you will be educating the young minds of today.

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