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As one chapter ends, another begins

A little over two years ago I shared with you my joy at being accepted into the Master of Laws (LLM) program at the University of Sydney. I’m happy to report that a little over a week ago I received notification that I had completed my final subject, meaning all things going well I should graduate in the next ceremony later this year. Woooohooooo!

The LLM is the main reason I’ve been particularly quiet on here the last couple of years, as outside of work and exercise I was doing very little apart from studying. I like to think all the hard work paid off, as the lowest mark I received was 79, and my average mark across all subjects was just under 84:

LLM subject results

LLM results

Was the LLM as enjoyable as I thought it would be? Absolutely, although it wasn’t without its challenges.

On the plus side I loved the selection of subjects (some 150 in total) that the University of Sydney offers to LLM students (and if that isn’t enough to satisfy you there is always the option of cross-institutional study). The quality of lecturers was first-class, and the class sizes small enough that I found them really interactive and engaging. On the negative side, and this is more of a personal thing, I felt a lot of stress, pressure and anxiety to perform well, and to perform consistently across all my subjects. Part of this is simply wanting to do my best and push myself, but in the back of my mind there was always the realisation that the graduate lawyer market in Australia is very competitive at the moment and that if I wanted to have any chance of getting a job in law I would need to do well.

Have I done enough to secure a job in law? Have all the years of study, stress and pressure been worth it? I don’t know, as it will only be in the next couple of months that I begin to seriously look for a new job in the hope of following my passion and changing careers, so watch this space! 🙂

To assist in my job-hunting prospects I recently became an accredited mediator. For those who aren’t familiar, mediation is a largely informal process in which an independent third-party (the mediator) assists parties to identify issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives and (hopefully) reach agreement. Mediation is great because it empowers parties to resolve their own disputes, and is generally far less expensive, time-consuming or stressful for parties compared to going to court.

I decided to become an accredited mediator because mediation is increasingly becoming a mandatory part of many pre-trial procedures, meaning that before you even step foot in a courtroom you must have made a genuine attempt at resolving your dispute through mediation (or some other form of alternative dispute resolution).

Becoming an accredited mediator is not a particularly difficult process (a 5-day workshop followed by a video assessment), and the skills that you develop can be used across a wide variety of disputes, not just those that would otherwise end up in court! For further information on mediation or becoming an accredited mediator please see this website. A great book on interests-based negotiating (central to the mediation process) is ‘Getting to Yes‘ by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton.

That’s about it for now. What will I be doing with all my free time now that I’m not studying? Well for a start I’ll be spending a lot of time reading for personal enjoyment. Over the past two years I’ve collated a list of about 100 books I want to read (here for those curious). Other than that I’m looking forward to exercising more and importantly getting back into photography – just wandering the streets, documenting the world as it unfolds in front of me, and of course sharing the results on here! 🙂

Mum

Mum came down from Queensland on Thursday for my 30th Birthday. I don’t like making a big song and dance about my Birthday so let’s just keep that one between you & I 😉  Back in my younger years there were many times, she says, where she didn’t even think I’d make it to 30. Well Mum, here I am!

Mum

Mum

Saw a couple of characters on the way to dinner and just had to capture that mo!

What a mo

What a mo

Followed by some snapshots in front of the Christmas tree at Martin Place and also in the QVB on Pitt St (which is where this shot was taken).

Reindeer

Reindeer

I’m a big believer in celebrating the milestones, just as we did earlier in the year with Mum’s 60th. I’m glad she was here to help me celebrate.

🙂

Mum’s 60th Birthday Trip – Thailand


I think it is extremely important to celebrate life’s milestones and so we went to Thailand recently for Mum’s 60th Birthday.

Mum wanted to go somewhere where she could shop, but also relax on a few nice beaches, so we ended up flying to Bangkok for three nights to do the shopping side of things, and then down to Koh Samui for a week to relax at the beach.

Overall the holiday was a great experience (Mum said it was the best holiday she’s ever had :)) and I would definitely recommend Thailand as a holiday destination – the people are so welcoming, the food is delicious (just watch out for the chillies!), climate is great – and with the Australian dollar where it is, everything is relatively inexpensive!

In Koh Samui we stayed at Sandalwood Luxury Villas and if you’re looking for somehwere luxurious with great service close to Chaweng, look no further! The views from the hillside are breathtaking and the staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome. We would not hesitate to book and stay there again in future.

Overall it was a great holiday, you can view the entire slideshow here and a quick video below.

The main thing is that Mum had a great time and she was able to celebrate her 60th Birthday in style – Happy Birthday Mum!