When I was admitted to study law in Bangladesh, I decided to become a barrister. After completing my LLB in 2013, I came to know that I would need a further qualification, which I could acquire from the University of London via distance learning. Within a very short period, after my admission, I got married.
Everything was new to me! A new university, a new educational system and my new family life with my husband! This was a huge amount to take on. Everything sent by the university excited me. Their email, their welcome videos and the other ways they kept in touch made me happy and emotional.
In a short space of time, a lot of unfortunate events happened in my life, one after the other. This series of events started with my aunt’s death in January 2017, and ended with the sudden and tragic death of my father-in-law in April 2019. I came to think of 2017 as a “Year of Hospital Admission”, because, in 2017, all but one of my family members were admitted to hospital. It was demoralising and hard to bear.
After this, I ran into financial difficulties which resulted in me having to borrow a lot of money to pay for my exam fees. This had a detrimental effect on my family life too. As a wife and mother, I felt so much guilt because of having to pay tuition fees while my family was struggling.
I didn’t know what to do – if I stopped, all the money I invested would have been wasted, but it was almost impossible to continue. I decided to continue. However, in between family and work, I didn’t have much time to study.
My first exam was in public law. It was the worst experience. The day before the exam, I was away from home for a long time to do some urgent tasks. After returning home, I studied almost all night. The exam was in the morning session. As I was awake all night, I was sleepy, and had a severe headache. All the students started writing, but I could not! I couldn’t understand a single question. After an hour and a half, I was able to write my first line. I answered my 4 questions in 11 pages. After completing the examination, I was crying, as I was absolutely sure I would fail the module with very poor marks.
To my astonishment, I scored 62 marks in Public Law! I still don’t know how it was possible in such difficult circumstances! And it was the same story with my other three modules. Today, after three years of study, I have been able to complete my first year, and now have a Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law. It is the story of my life, not just my University of London life. Through my studies, I have learned how to read, how to follow my passion, how to persevere, how to survive, and how to stand up with dignity when things fall apart.
After all my sorrows and difficulties, I have moved a step closer to achieving my dream. If I hadn’t studied with the university, I wouldn’t have had this formative experience, or learned how to wipe away the tears and hold a dream again. You taught me about life, as well as the law! With my heart full of love and emotion, I would like to say thank you to the University of London.
Maria is studying the LLB in Bangladesh.