When I found out I had been accepted on the Pathways to Law programme, I was incredibly excited. It has been such a valuable experience and I have benefited from it more than I could ever have imagined. More than anything else, Pathways to Law has given me so much self-belief and the confidence to try so many new experiences.
It was through Pathways to Law that I found out about the CMS Bursary Competition. After writing my essay and being invited to interview at the firm’s London offices, I was awarded a £7,500 bursary for my time at university. As part of this, I will also receive mentoring through UCAS from a solicitor at the firm and work experience with the firm at the end of my first term of university – these are all amazing things I would never have known about or had access to without Pathways to Law.
Pathways to Law has given me the opportunity to connect with so many like-minded students, especially at the Warwick Pathways to Law conference where I met students from all over the country, some of whom have now become my best friends despite us all living in different parts of the country. This proved to be valuable in itself when I was invited to Oxford University for an interview as it meant I already knew other students who were there for interview and I had friendly faces to spend the (nerve-wracking) experience with. Similarly, making friends with so many people who are all going through the same experience as you, such as UCAS and completing the LNAT, provides a great support network, which I personally wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else.
Sometimes it can be difficult to manage Pathways to Law activities with schoolwork however I was lucky that my Head of Sixth form was very supportive, encouraging me to attend every event as long as I caught up on schoolwork after – you simply have to be organised.
When I first started Pathways to Law I had little confidence in my abilities and without meaning to sound too cheesy: it has changed my life. In the first year of Pathways to Law alone I did various activities with the Universities themselves, work experience at Nottingham Crown Court and entered the CMS Bursary competition. All of these experiences gave me the confidence to seek my own work experience (a week at the Old Bailey in London shadowing a barrister on a terrorism trial); apply and succeed in getting a place on the UNIQ Law Summer School at Oxford University; and finally applying to and receiving a place at Oxford University. I am the first in my school and my family to do this and it is something I previously thought of as being nearly impossible. Pathways to Law has made me realise that I can achieve anything I want to, and given me self-confidence which I would never have had otherwise.
The Pathways to Law programme also allowed me to develop personal skills such as team working, presentation skills, research and interview techniques and networking, which are all transferable and key to helping you prepare for university life and future career prospects.
My advice to anyone starting Pathways to Law now would be to seize every opportunity available to you and make friends with as many people as you can; it is a great community to be part of and the experience will prove to be invaluable as long as you make the most of it.