More about Amy
I had decided that I wanted to study law and was looking for a Distance Learning (DL) Degree in the Midlands. Even though it is DL, I like Nottingham (I lived here in the 1990s) and with the tram lines, I realised that if I picked a university within an hour of my home, I would be more likely to take advantage of its facilities and services, and the law firms associated with it. Nottingham Law School has an excellent employability record.
It has been a very circuitous route into professional study! I completed a BA (Studio Arts) at an American university in 1993 and an MA (Art History) at the Open University in 2009. I have worked in the Public Sector in Leicestershire since 2003 (Leicester College, Leicester City Council, Loughborough University and my current employer – which is a group of County and City Councils). I have also worked in retail, in a medical office and as a delivery driver and backpacked around Europe, Australia and the States.
The online learning system (NOW) was quite difficult for a first-timer and it took me at least a month to be confident with it. However, having explored all the nooks and crannies of NOW, I am much happier with it and I love skimming through Westlaw via the library portal. I use NOW all the time. I don’t think you could study this course without being on it regularly. I download all of my course materials from it and print everything. I also access Westlaw through the library portal and order the occasional hard copy book to be posted to me.
The staff at the Disability Services have been really helpful. Even though I do not consider myself disabled, my vision isn’t great and they have helped me to negotiate submitting my papers in a larger font size and getting alternative formats for books. I cannot speak highly enough of this team.
The Employability Team has loads to offer. I have attended the Law Fair, and career workshops with prominent alumni, joined a couple of webinars, and attended one of the Business Leaders lectures. They have also advised me on specific queries about applications.
I think the Boots library is beautiful (especially the roof garden). The library processed me a SCONUL access card, which has given me access to a variety of resources that are more convenient for me.
I am a PA and manager of a small corporate support team. Both study and work require being able to prioritise and the need for attention to detail is highly transferable. I work 37 hours a week so I read some pages every night when I get home from work, and prepare essays on weekends. I have also been known to read cases on my lunch-time walk and always keep a few cases in my bag in case I have a spare moment while I am on the tram or waiting for a train. Even doing some work every day, I find that I am speed reading just before the study weekends. It is manageable; the concepts aren’t difficult, it is just finding enough time to make the most of all the resources. I always read as much of the textbooks, cases and lecturer guidance as possible. I like to draw my own conclusions and find that knowing some of the peculiarities of the cases make them more memorable.
I’m not that far into my career as a professional student but little wins are nice – passing the English Legal Method module warranted a post on Linked In. I joined in with the GDL Mooting Society and had some positive feedback (and they are a tough lot). Nottingham Law School opens doors and I have already been to an assessment at Eversheds Sutherland and have a placement lined up at Browne Jacobson – neither of which I thought would be possible when I started my course. I am hoping that I am able to obtain a training contract in the East Midlands and eventually work locally in a large commercial firm, preferably in their public sector team.
I found out about the Mandarin Scholarship after some information came through in one of the general updates from the university, I then got in touch to see if I was really eligible to apply. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve my language skills and engage in a completely different culture. I had been studying Mandarin in the evenings for a number of years but never really got to a satisfactory state. I could not continue studying alongside my GDL so the month in Beijing is the perfect opportunity to try to pull it all together and I hope to carry on studying Mandarin after I have completed my law studies.
My advice to prospective students is to learn to master NOW from the start and if you get lost in any of the course material, ask someone – the lecturer, the administrator, the course or deputy course leader. If you are a distance learning student, get yourself a SCONUL card, sign up for postal loans and set up an ‘eduroam’ account. Take advantage of the Employment Services webinars (which can be joined on a lunch break) or get out in the evening to their sessions or the Business Lecture series.
Take yourself out of your comfort zone – I joined the GDL Mooting Society (which meets in the evenings); they are hypercritical but preparing for moot forced me to consolidate my learning. The eagerness and sincerity of the group is a contagion for learning. Do any little extra bit, like becoming a class representative – look around at what is available. It adds to your skills and also gives a little extra edge on your applications when looking for vacation schemes and training contracts.