The “right choice”

The challenge of trying to pick the right college course while still in secondary school

Illustration: Caroline McKeon

What are the characteristics that spring to mind when you think of a law student? A brilliant debater, a confident public speaker, an avid reader. Someone who spends their life in the library. A person who is capable of learning off vast amounts of facts, case names, and dates.

What are my characteristics? Someone who, despite performing in musicals, singing in choirs, and doing multiple dance shows, hates public speaking. An individual who cannot argue for the life of her, and instead hides in a corner if someone says she’s wrong. A girl who somehow got through Leaving Cert History with an A1 but can’t remember (or get) a single date if she tried.

Yet somehow, I’m in law, and somehow, I’ve made it through to Hilary Term of second year without throwing myself off a bridge.

It’s not surprising that I feel completely out of place in my course. My closest friends were winners of the Junior Mock Trial. Multiple people in my course partake in the European Youth Parliament, or Model United Nations – both known to develop some pretty hefty debating skills. I have friends who do multiple internships, or travel the world working for charity. I know people who, no matter how little research they claimed to do or how late they started their essay, get firsts on every single assignment.

Then there’s me. I have no experience in debating and I despise politics; EYP and MUN are a no-go so not a single place will take me for an internship. Not to mention, I’m barely scraping a 2:1 in my assignments, even though I work extremely hard on them.

In an ideal world, I would be a famous YouTuber who travels the world, getting brand deals left, right, and centre. Or, I would be an actress, with people pretending to be my friends to grasp onto my fame (because I’d be that famous). Or a singer who tours the world with thousands of fans in the crowd screaming back my songs. Are these the career goals I had when I was thirteen? Yes. Should I still be thinking in this mindset? Absolutely.

After all I’ve said, it seems I’m totally unsuited to be in law. The problem with being a law student is that we don’t all fit the stereotype. Let’s put it this way – if you were to watch a show like Suits, or How to Get Away with Murder, you’d absolutely want to live that life because there’s so much drama and juicy gossip. Although those shows are the inaccurate depictions of law, they are intriguing.

That’s the feeling I get when I’m in my classes. The cases that I learnt in Criminal Law were so outrageous that they almost seem made up. The fundamental rights I learnt in Constitutional Law gave me an insight into what problems some minorities will deal with. It’s a reality check.

There’s obviously a lot more to law than just the course itself. The people I’m surrounded with are the wildest, craziest bunch of people I have ever met. I was so surprised when I saw how many people in law love to go on the sesh all the time. They’ll come in at 9am to be in the library, go to their nine hours of lectures a week, go back to the library, then head out. Then they’ll do it all over again. Mad ones.

Speaking of sleep, law has definitely resulted in my body relying on nothing less than nine  hours of sleep though. We have not got a single 9am (yeah, be jealous), and all of our lectures start in the afternoon. So I get to sleep in every single day and although I didn’t expect this from law, I am certainly not complaining.

I don’t want to become a lawyer.

“But why did you study law if you don’t want to become a lawyer?”

Because, even though I am not the stereotypical law student, and would rather travel and achieve fame, I enjoy it. And in my opinion, that’s the most important part of college.