We, as humans, always seek to challenge ourselves; to exceed our thresholds in the hope of becoming better; to make a difference or simply to chase a dream.
When I embarked upon my journey to study the LLB programme at the University of London, my first thoughts were: ‘Finally, after completing a foundational degree in Business Management and dedicating myself to my daughter, it was time to reward myself; it was time to focus on my dreams.’
If only it were that simple. The first year was daunting and I felt overwhelmed with the different approach to the modules as well as the material. I did all the ground-work (notes, researched the cases, completed the activities and read) yet I felt unprepared and unfortunately gave into my fears. Exams deferred!
My second attempt was considerably better – I threw away everything, relaxed and started over with the essentials. Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. If you are doing what you truly love then success will inevitably follow! This time I did not focus on the destination at the end of the road, but rather chose to value the journey and the moment. I read to understand rather than memorise and have been successful at all my exams thus far.
Simultaneously, I chose to challenge myself in another form by learning to drive a manual van. Similar to the LLB programme I felt I was fulfilling my life’s dream. I dived into it and purchased the van before I could even get it out of a parking position. The best lessons are learned from the most challenging situations!
After four days of one-and-a-half hour driving practice sessions, I decided it was time to take the training wheels off. My first attempt at driving the van was an absolute failure. Every time I tried to drive the van up a (in hindsight) minute incline on the road, it stalled at each attempt. In the true spirit of defeat I did what any broken person would do: I cried and allowed myself this one time to feel sorry for myself.
Then I made another attempt – this time successful. What I have learned is that, similar to driving a manual van, the LLB programme requires your undivided attention, you must be mindful of its intricacies, you are always learning something new and you can never quit – you have to own it.
With that being said, the similarity becomes apparent because as soon as you accept ownership, the journey gets simpler. You can relax and enjoy the ride. Learning is supposed to be fun, you may not always get the grades you would like but you are still learning.
According to the American actress Viola Davies: ‘The happily ever after comes after you’ve done the work’. What seemed to be a major hurdle at the start seems somewhat trivial towards the end. Just remember to keep focused and maintain your positivity.
Josanne studies our LLB in Trinidad and Tobago.