What you’re reading now, I wanted to write a long time ago; before I even could. However, over the last year or so, a lot has changed (hence the late blog).
Currently, I’m just over a month away from completing Uni. 4 years. Gone in the blink of an eye. I still remember my first day. I don’t think it’ll properly sink in until after my last exam because right now, I’ve got 6 exams to revise for and a dissertation to complete by the end of May. It’s a lot. At times, law can be a very demanding course. Right now, it’s more demanding than ever before.
Let’s jump right in. On September 3rd 2020, I went to a local brunch place (‘The Dispensary’) for food with some of my closest friends. As we sat down and waited for more of us to arrive, my phone rang – unknown caller. Deep down, I knew what it was, I had been envisioning it for the past 4 years. In that moment, I became deaf to everything being said around me, picked my phone up and walked straight out the restaurant. I answered. As soon as I heard the voice, my thoughts were confirmed. It was a law firm I’d done an internship with in the summer (they don’t ring if you’ve been rejected, a simple email does the job – I know because I’ve been there too). They told me how impressed they’d been during the internship and that they’d like to offer me a training contract.
For all you non law students, the training contract is gold dust. It offers a career in one of the most competitive fields – for me, corporate law. The top 82 Law Firms listed on Chambers Student altogether offer 1,357 training contracts a year. They receive over 70,000 applications for those 1,357 places. That translates to a 2% success rate. This success rate can be further hindered if like me, you’re state school educated and have no lawyers in the family. Oh, plus I’m brown and muslim. Also, not attending a Russell Group Uni can seriously work against you. (I remember I missed my Uni of Leeds offer by 1 grade and I rang the Newcastle Uni law department during clearing. The exact words he said to me, “we don’t think you’d be cut out for law, it’s very demanding”. This lit a fire under me.)
The next 4 years I spent studying law and thriving. I was appointed onto my law school honour roll for being in the top 10% of academic achievers. I was appointed onto the contribution roll for outstanding contribution to the success of the law school. I achieved first class grades in some of the toughest modules we studied. As well as this, I spent over £1000 on train tickets to London to attend various law events at different firms (sometimes subsidised by the firms). The journey from Newcastle to London was horrible. I’d have to wake up at 5am to catch a 6am train that arrived at Kings Cross for 9ish (this was if I didn’t have an early start). When I had an early start, I’d travel from Newcastle to home in Leeds the night before so that I could cut time on the journey the next morning. For my return, I’d get the 8pm train back to Newcastle from Kings Cross and I’d be home by midnight. Sometimes the firms would be kind enough to pay for a night’s accommodation in London. It was hectic, it was busy, but, I loved every moment of it (I was born in Karachi, perhaps one of the busiest and loudest cities in the world – busy keeps me distracted and my mind occupied, I like it). Looking back it was pretty amusing. I only had the 1 suit so I’d have to get to London in my normal clothes (so I didn’t crease the suit sat on a train for 3hrs) and get changed in the toilets at the law firm. When the event would finish, I’d change out of my suit, into my normal clothes and get on a sweaty tube back to Kings Cross to go home. Some days when I was lucky and had time, I’d explore London and go try delicious food places or go shopping.
As I’m reading over this, it seems more and more like a brag post. It’s not, I promise. I want to show you that despite the odds being stacked against me in every aspect, I went out and achieved what I was told was unachievable for someone in my position. I had something to prove. Deep down, I always knew I would do it. My faith in God and the power of prayer was never forgotten. The connection with my true self and my religion was never truly lost.
So, I achieved what I’d set out to achieve. It took me 4 solid years, but, I did it. For you to see what it took, I’ve painted a very little part of the picture, very little. (By the way, the training contract wasn’t a be all and end all. There was/is always more to life.) Post training contract offer, I shared the news with my family and friends. All of my family and most of my friends were genuinely happy for me, they’d been there for the journey and they’d seen the effort that was put into it. Unfortunately, not everyone shares your joy, that’s just the way the world works. It’s something I’ve learned more about over the past year. Who to share with and who not to share with. I pay very close attention to detail so naturally I pick up on more than sometimes I want to. Recently, I’ve took time to reassess who and what matters most to me. At the end of the day, looking after those that matter to me is what brings me fulfilment. To me the training contract is an opportunity for a brighter future where (انشالله) I have the chance to change lives for the better.
This blog I wrote completely off the top of my head, the idea came to me in the shower. It’s unstructured and is really just a mental freestyle. I don’t know if there’s much to take away from it but that doesn’t matter. I write these for me. Self expression is key in my world. After reading back over it, I think I’m gonna title it ‘Reminder’. Sometimes you must remind yourself of where you’ve came from, what you’ve done and what you know you’re capable of doing. You know how the saying “you can do anything you set your mind to” is made fun of? Well, I fully believe it. Realistically, to achieve what I’ve achieved so far, I genuinely don’t think I’ve put all my effort into. So I wonder what will happen when I start to fully apply myself? Do you apply yourself as you should? Would your life be much different if you did? If you don’t, why don’t you? If you do, how do you consistently?