I feel like I have been floating on a cloud the last few months. There have been so many incredible new beginnings, challenging changes, disappointing moments and life changing accomplishments.
In October last year my friends and I gave a massive sigh of relief as we walked out of our final law exam together. It was an unbelievable feeling.
I walked into university life very young (straight out of school) with no real idea of what to expect. Everyone had always told me that “uni is a breeze,” “If you have made it through year 12 you can do anything,” “uni days are some of the best days of your life.” Well they were right about one thing, it really was one of the best times of my life. However, I am not going to lie and say that the experience was a walk in the park because it definitely was not. I feel like we hit the ground sprinting in trimester one of first year and didn’t pump the breaks until October of our fifth year.
I remember dad driving me to Burwood for O-Week. I was so excited to get started and the idea of being a law student like Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde’ made me beam with pride that I actually got into the course. Dad asked if I wanted him to walk me upstairs to my first lecture and I responded saying, “dad I am an independent woman now I can do this by myself.” After two minutes of independent life I rang my dad saying, “please come save me, I’m all alone and I have no idea where I am going.” I am so glad he left me alone and let me fend for myself because I did eventually find my bearings (That ‘lost on campus’ app is a blessing). I managed to navigate my way around the campus and found a couple of friends as well.
The first law subjects we had to do were Contract Law and Legal Principles and Skills. Sounded simple enough. Wrong again. I remember looking at my friends and thinking “what on earth did we sign up for?!” Let’s just say that the content we covered in two weeks pretty much summed up the entire of our year 12 syllabus. I felt like all I was ever doing was reading. I would walk around with my giant textbooks and a highlighter and every spare chance I got I would read. That carried on for five years. I was always that girl that brought my textbook and laptop everywhere. I would study on my breaks at work, on the tram, while I ate, as soon as I got up and right before bed. Let’s just say that the last four months have been such a holiday for my brain and so good for my mental health. To have no uni responsibility has been unreal.
Now this is not to say that it was all dull. If that was my whole life I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this article. Uni life opened doors to so many incredible opportunities that I would not have otherwise gotten. By far one of the greatest experiences for me was being able to travel and study overseas. Going to Delaware, US, in 2015 was such a turning point for me. It was the first time in my life that I really felt like a young adult that was capable of making my own decisions. It opened my eyes to new careers, different cultures, new ways to learn and a lot of great friendships. It also was a great platform for me to start being a mentor in the business and law faculty.
I loved being a mentor. I loved being able to share my thoughts, tips and experiences with others. I loved being a friend for people that were coming to university for the first time (sometimes even Australia for the first time). All I wanted out of that was to be able to help others and make their transition to university as smooth as possible.
During my studies I was very fortunate to be taught by some of the most inspirational and intelligent people I have ever met. Being a person with a thirst for knowledge, I soaked up everything these incredible lecturers said…. most of the time (let’s be honest I was sleep deprived a lot of the time). I genuinely appreciate the lecturers that cared for us and really wanted us to excel in our studies. Sam was by far our favourite lecturer. He was an Italian man that just beamed with passion for the law. He would go over concepts and legislation over and over until we caught his drift.
My family and friends were so loving, patient and supportive for the duration of the degree. There were so many times when I was really stressed and just felt like I was in over my head. They brought me back down to earth and reassured me that everything would be okay. They were understanding of my study schedule and went above and beyond to help me where they could. I can’t thank them enough for reading my assignments, taking photos for me, being my videographer or just keeping me company while I referenced (Australian Guide to Legal Citation – I will not miss you).
Now I need to talk about these incredible girls that I graduated with and all the other people I met along the way that have already graduated or are pushing through in their final trimester. Without the support of these motivated and kind hearted people there is no way we would have all finished. I can’t imagine uni without the storytelling, ranting, coffee breaks (Special thanks to Kenny the barista at Sage) and INTENSE cramming. I can’t count the amount of times we would say “oh good you haven’t started either,” “they uploaded the assignment, I didn’t even know we had one yet,” “I’m 2000 words over the word count.” I’ll never forget the night in second year when it was 2:30am and I was babysitting for my zia. I was on the phone to my friend Deana because our assignment was due in a few hours and we both were well over the word count. Zia came home and said “who are you on the phone with at this hour?”, I replied with “my friend Deana we’re cutting our assignment together, it’s due tomorrow and probably should have started this earlier.”
What I did learn from leaving everything to the last minute (literally, it was 11:58 and it was due at 11:59) was that if you want something enough it will just happen. No matter how impossible the task ahead looked, we could push through and it would get done. It gave me faith and belief in myself that I could accomplish anything if I set my mind to it.
Standing on stage at graduation was so surreal. I was shaking like a leaf when they called my name. After five years I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours. This is definitely one of my greatest accomplishments and something I will always look back on with pride and gratitude.