Law Student Experience during Covid- 19
Sumayya Anis is a first year PPL student at King's College London. In her post below, she shares her experience as a Law student during the Covid- 19 pandemic.
As a first year Law student, admittedly, I was quite apprehensive about what my first year might be like. Usually, starting university is a change in itself- a new city, new friends, a different structure and so much new information to take in. This, plus COVID meant even further changes. There was no in person lectures and I was inundated with invites to online society events which, before I arrived, I was quite dubious about.
However, having finished my first term, I can wholeheartedly say that my experience has been incredible. Firstly, whilst I pictured lectures would involve me sitting in my room, watching a screen, I am actually able to collaborate with friends and complete lectures together. Lectures being pre-recorded and uploaded online allows there to be much more flexibility in terms of what time you can watch a lecture and the pace you watch it at. I think this made me a lot more productive in terms of scheduling my day (and not having to wake up consistently at 9am). Lecturers and seminar tutors have also been quick to respond to any questions or queries I may have which has definitely been reassuring in terms of support and guidance.
Although all societies have had to be online, they have all adapted amazingly. There have been multiple online events over this period, and I have attended many through the Law Society, Women in Law and Pro Bono society. Whilst it has undoubtedly been difficult to meet new people and build lasting relationships through these online events, they have been an easy way to learn more about different legal pathways from the comfort of your room.
One of the most challenging aspects about being a law student, during the pandemic, is the change in legal work experience. Many firms have had to cancel their usual placements or open days- the latter of which are particularly important for first year students. However, firms have introduced online open days where students can learn more about practice sectors of a firm and ask questions. I recently attended the Macfarlanes Open Day- they used a series of breakout rooms which you could navigate and pick the areas you were interested in. Moreover, I applied to the Aspiring Solicitors Virtual Diversity Law Fair which I found so interesting. I began to recognise the differences between firms and elements that they prioritise which will be of great use when applying to further schemes. So overall, I would certainly say there are opportunities online, you just have to research a little!
I think it is quite easy to feel alone and down due to the impacts of COVID, however, it is important to remember that every single student is experiencing the exact same thing. Reach out to people- social media has been a great way to establish friendships and get to know your course mates a little more.
Overall, despite the pandemic, I really don’t feel like I have missed out immensely. Making friends was easier than I thought and society events have been regular. Whilst it has been tough not meeting my cohort properly or having the complete university experience in regard to being on campus, the situation has been undoubtedly unavoidable. I hope by September things will have reverted back to normality a little!