It has been many years in the making but I finally had my graduation on Friday night in the Great Hall at the University of Sydney, a beautiful building some 150 years old. The Great Hall really did help give the ceremony a sense of occasion. My Grandmother, Mother and Father all flew down from Queensland for the ceremony, and I’m glad they were there to see me graduate.
For anyone considering studying law I can highly recommend the Legal Profession Admission Board’s Diploma in Law course. It offers an accessible legal education (at about 50% of the cost of a traditional University law degree) and a flexible means of entry into the legal profession.
A lot of people may be surprised, but I never finished high school. I was bored a lot of the time and wanted to be anywhere but the classroom, so I pursued a traineeship in Information Technology in year 11 and have worked my way up the ladder since. At the time of my decision I weighed up where I would be in 5 years if I finished high school and went to University (at that time pursuing something like computer science) vs. completing the traineeship and getting practical, hands-on experience. I thought about future employers and wondered what they would value more – a recent graduate or someone with experience in the technology sector? I chose the latter and my assumptions turned out to be largely true.
Even though I was (and still am) happy in I.T., there was always a part of me that wasn’t satisfied. Not having graduated from high school bugged me, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish something, whilst at the same time challenging myself mentally. I’d always been interested in the law and helping others, so studying law was a natural fit.
Underlying everything I wanted to make my parents proud of me.
If I’m not pushing myself physically and mentally then I don’t feel as though i’m being the best person I can be – whether that be as a son, a friend, a colleague etc… My parents, and particularly my mum, sacrificed a lot and put up with a lot while I was growing up and the least that I can do is work hard and achieve something; be someone.
I don’t push myself to the exclusion of being a good person, or of having a kind heart. I think it’s more important that I have, and express, fundamental values of love, kindness, honesty, compassion and treat others with respect before anything else, and my parents should value and be proud of me for who I am and not necessarily what I’ve achieved. But I’m glad that (hopefully) in the near future they’ll be able to say their son is a lawyer.
I don’t feel any different now that I’m a law graduate instead of a law student. I just have a nice piece of paper that is getting framed and will sit on the wall for years to come.
I’m not sure what I expected to feel to be honest – just different.
There was all the pomp and ceremony, the speeches by distinguished guests (the President of the NSW Court of Appeal, Justice Allsop), many current lecturers at the University, friends and family etc… and it was a lovely evening. Maybe it’s because I’m still at the College of Law and there are a few hurdles remaining before I can be admitted to practice as a solicitor… The finish line is in sight but I’m not there… yet.
I have many people to thank for helping me get to this stage of my life but I will save that for another post.