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#63 Be. Young, Be. You: The Value Experience

By Erin Gough (Be. Leader 2011)

As Julius Caesar said waaaay back in Ancient Roman Times, "experience is the teacher of all things"

It's that time of year; the weather's getting colder and it's starting to get dark earlier.  University work is piling up so much that if I made a tower out of it, it would be taller than me, and just to rub things in, everytime I log onto Facebook I see yet another friend has posted graduation photos.

These are the times I wonder why most university courses are taught the way they are.  Am I really going to need to know the theories that underpin 'soft law'?  Or Marx's arguments again capitalism?  How will any of this give me the practical skills I need to pursue a career in law?

To be blunt, I don't believe it will.

How am I meant to apply what I've learned in five years of law school when practising law is so different from studying it?

I decided the only solution was to seek out some law-related work experience.  Knowing where to look was a challenge in itself, as most law firms don't just welcome students off the streets!  So instead, I asked someone I knew who worked at the local Community Law Centre if they had any volunteering opportunities available, and voila, they put me in contact with the volunteers co-ordinator who just happened to be looking for volunteers.  Kinda emphasises that "it's who you know, not what you know" saying.

So in a couple of weeks, I will start volunteering as a student caseworker for Canterbury Community Law.  This not only allows the law centre to deal with as many clients as possible, but also give law students the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and work experience.

While studying can be a great way to develop some skills, often the skills most critical to a job are mastered by simply getting out there and doing it.  A person can have all the degrees in the world, but they're not going to get anywhere if they don't have the practical skills to go with them!

There really is no substitute for experience.

So, take some time away from your essays or paperwork or gossip magazines and get experiencing!  I promise you'll be better, and more skilled for it!