Get Woke: Bursting the University Bubble


Turning the term ‘woke’ on its head I aim to use ‘woke’ in the context of pushing people into being aware of the reality of life after University. I recently got a wakeup call and felt the need to wake some other people up!

University is a bubble of youth culture per Mathew Crawford. It is so predictable that you have a timetable telling you where to be and at what time. Even though we’re all grown and strong independent men and women there is still a fair amount of hand holding done. Which I am deeply grateful for.

This post relates primarily to law because I am a law student. So, I’m writing this from personal experience and for those studying law and want a career in law. Before, I get into the meat of this post, I need to explain a few things. Here goes, there are essentially some key ways to qualifying as a legal professional. Finish University, do the Legal Practice Course and hopefully get a training contract which is as scarce as finding sand in the Antarctic. Although big City firms recruit two years in advance, there is no guarantee you’ll get one until some years have passed. Nevertheless, there are those lucky few who we all aspire to be. Secondly, finish University and do the Bar Professional Training Course which is the necessary link between your degree and pupillage. You also have the Graduate Diploma in Law for those who come from a non-law background. There is the CILEX route to become a qualifying solicitor specialising in one or two areas as opposed to a broad range.

Last week, I volunteered to help at a law fair being held at my University campus in Kent. I met a lot of students who either didn’t know about the CILEX route or how expensive doing the LPC was. This verifies the University bubble and the desperate need to burst it. In 2020 however all these routes to qualifying are changing due to the ‘super exam’. https://www.lawcareers.net/Information/Features/13062017-The-Solicitors-Qualifying-Examination-what-we-know-so-far . The ‘super exam’ comes to squash those routes to qualifying into one, so no law degree necessary, no GDL, no LPC and no training contract. So, what is left? If you really want to know simply do a quick google search or click on the link. Some people think this route will be very expensive, but it seems we must wait at least until next year to find out more about this elite route.

All this goes to show is that you don’t learn about life after University while you’re still there. Per Mathew Crawford, the educational system “is not serving students very well neither as a system of cultivating their minds to for guaranteeing their economic stability”. I spoke to some legal professionals who said, that their University did not prepare them for graduate life, there are so many things you don’t get told whilst at University. My source said University made him a rounder individual but that was pretty much it. University was too laid back thus the leap between University and the real world was large. He mentioned some practical changes which, I think would make a tremendous contribution to bridging the gap between the world of university and the real world.

For instance, perhaps there should be more of a practical approach to modules studied at University, to show students life of a solicitor on their degree course and make it more like the professional life. This is because, according to him the greatest difficulty was finding legal work after University because having experience was mandatory even for entry level roles. He suggested that there should be a compulsory placement during your degree to at least gain practical experience of law boosting your chances after University is over. I agree and think this would be great should it be introduced into University. Even my lecturer expressed his criticism that life at University is not practical, students don’t get taught to do basic things which become essential for life after University. It has been argued by some professionals that the entire system needs a rework, better regulations like that which is evident in the medical profession. There are some fields that you are guaranteed a job, but law is not one of them at least that’s what it looks like. The legal professionals which I spoke to said they wished they had been better educated about the market before choosing their career paths. Therefore, attending career fairs and law fairs are key to dispelling the myth that after uni you’ll get a job.

Law is a great industry to be in, I’m not knocking that however make sure you do your research and know what you’re getting yourself into to avoid any unexpected surprises.

 

I hope this post helped. Let me know your thoughts?

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