Our graduation took place at the University of Nottingham on December 10th and most of us managed to hang around for a few days to reconnect and reexplore our old hangouts.
Over a month later, I’m still amazed by the culmination of my degree. I can’t quite believe that the months of hard work are over and that I have an authenticated document to prove the fact.
I’ve taken December and January to visit family in Pakistan and am getting ready to return to Vancouver where the job hunt will begin.
I do find myself getting nostalgic about the times I’ve spent at UoN but I’m moreso excited about properly starting my career. I’ve started putting aside the post-apocalyptic novels (courtesy of Margaret Atwood) to concentrate on CV building and googling non-profit organizations. Vancouver is such a great place to work, filled with a multitude of employers in my field of interest. So many opportunities for professional development- I’m excited!
For that, and to get back to my running regimen too. I really went to town on the Pakistani food and the leisure of a chai-sipping, couch-sitting lifestyle but who can resist the temptation of mixed tea? No one, I tell you.
I was particularly excited about the new semester. Although I find the fact that three of my seminars take place on Thursdays fairly cringe-worthy, it does leave me with some spare time to get involved in other activities. Currently, I’m enrolled in basic french lessons, working with the Human Rights Law Centre, representing student views as a course rep and serving as Vice-President of the LLM Society. I never intended on becoming so deeply involved in extra-curricular activities but I don’t regret an instant… especially since some of our professors recently held a talk about careers in human rights law and how there are few and far between. They highlighted the need to stand out among your peers and to do whatever you can to gain skills aside from whatever we learn in the program itself.
As course representative, I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to convince my course mates to engage themselves in societies and voluntary work. Some are more receptive to the idea than others. The excuse I hear most often is that the workload stemming from the LLM is too heavy to consider doing anything other than just that.
I try to counter these excuses with two main arguments: Firstly, that everyone in our program is brilliant and will receive brilliant marks. How can employers distinguish between them without something tangible aside from their thesis topic? Secondly, that added work doesn’t always have to be tedious and boring. Planning a student conference is a great way to develop your team-building skills while having a lot of fun with your peers. Becoming a social secretary for a society allows you to display your event-planning capabilities while meeting new people. As long as you manage your time properly, you can gain a very wholesome university experience that doesn’t come at the cost of sacrificing your personal life. University is one of the only times in our lives when we’ll be given the opportunity to hang out with a large number of people who share the same passion as us. Why not make the most of it?
I’m convinced that the biggest lesson to be learned by students today is to rise above the bipolarity of endless readings and alcohol-fueled nights to find a happy medium that will allow them to work with others in developing their abilities which will, in turn, reflect really well while job hunting. It’s a win-win situation.
I’ve attended a few modules, trying to pin down the perfect fit but they are all so fascinating, I don’t know which ones I want to pick. The downside to this is the copious amounts of readings that are required in order to keep up with the first day of class (which is in seminar format).
So far, the pool I have to choose from is:
International Human Rights Law
Public International Law
International Humanitarian Law
Regional Human Rights
Economic and Social Rights
Rights of the Child
Ultimately, I’ll have to pick four of these and this is proving to be difficult. Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law run for the whole year and we are assessed by a 3 hour long examination.
The course structure comprises of two terms that are both examinable in May. Some modules are assessed with essays while others require you to sit the exam. This narrows my options because, being a social sciences student who is partial to writing papers, exams are distressing to me.
I want to point out that I’m not a law student. While an LL.B. is strongly advised before undertaking an LL.M., it is not a requirement at some schools so long as your degree is in something relevant. For me, this was political science and criminology.
We also have to send in our preliminary decisions for the next semester too. I’m slightly disappointed that they aren’t offering a module specific to women’s rights but I know that it’s a subject that is bound to be covered by the other options. Anyhow, this is what the spring semester looks like…
Religion and International Human Rights
Minorities and International Human Rights Law
Rights, Humans and Other Animals
Imprisonment and Human Rights
United Nations Law
The trickiest part of choosing courses is that while my forte lies with minority rights, my criminological background has developed into a special interest for the justice system and incarceration. I decided to fore-go any of the criminal law classes that were taking place this semester in favour of classes that fit my chosen stream.
I’m also trying to procure a position with the Human Rights Law Centre (UoN has a very good one) as a student research assistant. I know I’d excel at planning their annual student conference but I really want to get out of comfort zone a little bit and branch out by editing their yearbooks and journal. I’m a research fiend so that may help.
They keep telling me to start a blog. They, meaning everyone. From friends to professor to career advisers.
I didn’t want to tell them how many times I’ve failed at creating this blog. My travels, for the moment, are shielded from the eyes of the internet (which isn’t always a bad thing).
Anyhow, they think it’s a great idea.
Perhaps it is, I’ve always visited academic subjects in my personal journals, so why shouldn’t I put it all up on the internet. At best, it’ll serve as motivation for someone else to become interested in the subject matter that I discuss and, at the very least, I’ll be able to review this before my exam.
So basically, I’m going to lay out a few objectives and take it from there.
1. First and foremost, I’m going to describe what I’m learning through my Masters in Law course and, when appropriate, apply it to current events and my own experiences.
2. I’ll talk about my integration into the United Kingdom educational system by examining my university to see what it has to offer myself and other students.
This is the third introduction that I’ve written for this blog. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take at least a little bit of time out of readings to actually write something.