Photo: My friend Natalie from the BPTC (we stopped to daydream on the way to our Qualifying session!)
Okay, I should have the hang of things now. Let’s see how Week 5 goes…
Working on an opinion for Opinion Writing on Wednesday. This is the first time I’ve ever had to produce a full written opinion so I am spending quite a bit of time going over the opinion manual. Everything is mostly making sense so I hope the actual drafting bit isn’t too horrible.
I find it so weird how much of the BPTC is theoretical. I’ve been reading up on the theory behind drafting an opinion for about two hours now.
So that took way longer than anticipated. I never even got to the actual writing bit. I’ve scheduled Tuesday night to finish this work. I have a pupillage event beforehand so it’ll be a long day. I’d really hoped to not have to do any work past 7pm next week. Alas, no.
No more work for me tonight. I’m going to grab some food and go to sleep. I’m getting up very early tomorrow to do some work before a careers appointment at 9:30. I have a qualifying session tomorrow night as well so it’ll be a long, long day.
Woke up nice and early this morning to start on civil litigation work. For the life of me I don’t understand why I’m five weeks in and am still surprised at how long this will take to finish. I’ve taken some advice I got from my tutor and people who have completed this course and spent time reading through all of the questions before I began trying to read and answer them. I have to leave in a moment for my careers appointment but will have 1.5 hours later to finish this work off.
My careers appointment left me feeling both inspired and kind of sad. I find having to present myself as a ‘winner’ and the whole pupillage competition exhausting. Anyway, I’m going to focus on pushing myself ahead of application season to stay positive and back myself. I’m looking forward to applying the feedback I was given and putting together my applications. I recommend that you book yourself in for these appointments before your application deadlines start so you can get an idea of what you need to work on and the way you need to frame your applications.
Okay friends, so maybe my appointment earlier affected me a bit more than I had thought. My brain is spaghetti. I’m going to have to finesse as much of civil lit as I can ahead of the class. I don’t recommend that you replicate what I am doing right now because it’s just too stressful. Do your work before class and give yourself good time to complete it.
I’m in the Inner Temple library right now doing Criminal Evidence work with my BPTC Bae Natalie. It’s Black History Month and she’s from Ghana so we’ve enjoyed reading all the profiles of Inner members from the past and present who have made a place for themselves at the Bar. We feel encouraged and like we belong. Right, back to work!
Maybe it’s the three glasses of Inner Temple wine talking but I am full of a lot of love right now. Qualifying session number three was wonderful and I got to see a really good friend SMASH IT in his Moot. On top of that, I had possibly the best series of pep talks from my friends on the BPTC this evening and they have all reminded me who I am, what I’m here for and that I’m going to be a brilliant barrister. What a wonderful evening. Now, it’s time to watch Netflix and sleep.
I was up at 7am to do some work for Criminal Advocacy. It only took me 45 minutes so now i’m mad that I got up so early. Sleep is so precious and yet, so rare. I’m all prepared for Evidence later this morning so I’m going to have a quick snooze and leave in a couple of hours.
Just to be clear, I love Advocacy class and my tutor is the BEST.
Today was a good day but I definitely felt a bit off. I’m trying to think about a lot of things at once and I rarely have time to rest and recover. That’s fine though because I am looking forward to reading week. The first 5 weeks have been a whirlwind but I have more or less a clear idea of what it is I should be doing. There have been quite a few chances to complete SBAs and MCQs in class and lectures and there aren’t any terribly big gaps in my knowledge. I am relying a lot upon my ability to deduce the right answer by cancelling out false options. That’s what we’ve been practicing in classes like Evidence and Civil Lit. I love these kinds of questions because logical deduction is my thing. The teachers are exceptionally good at encouraging us to think like we’re in the assessment way before we get there so we aren’t surprised by the format of the questions.
The tricky bit is time. I’ve been experimenting with a few different schedules – this week rather than late nights I’m doing early mornings from about 7am. That, with a little extra prep work here and there in the evenings should theoretically give me the balance I need to add the other commitments on top (applications, my work at Advocate, my other Pro Bono work…). So long as the BPTC is under control, all will be fine.
I’ve really been relying upon Wunderlist to track all the tasks that I want to do but keep having to shave off because of time restraints. Things like flashcards I want to make for cases we are told to learn by name and drawing infographics setting out timelines for Civil Lit etc. The GDL made me the queen of exam prep so I’m not concerned about those at all (what a relief!). My main issue is having a firm grip on things now so that when it comes to revision, I have well-made materials to revise from.
Anyway, I was supposed to work a bit on my Opinion for two hours this evening but I was getting a pep talk from Mum instead. I’m either going to just go to bed now and get up one hour earlier at 6am or I will try and stay up for an extra hour or two now and have about the same amount of sleep. I don’t mind, the pep talk was definitely worth it though!
Up and at ’em! I have an opinion to write! Ps, how is it already Wednesday?!?!
Detailed and logical case analysis is really important. I haven’t started drafting yet though…I wanted to really understand how the law was applied to the facts and the evidence was weighed up for each element. I hope that doesn’t end up being a wrong turn!!
Woooo, it’s drafting time! I definitely should have done that careful case analysis on Sunday rather than reading all those book chapters. Oh well.
YES MY OPINION IS DRAFTED. No word of a lie that took me at least 5 hours. Anyway, it’s fine now and I made it out of the house and to my bus with 2 mins to spare. I also think I’m enjoying this early wake up and work life. I need free evenings and it’s either I do the work early or risk sacking off my work in the evenings to the detriment of my studies. Plus, I have no issues concentrating in the morning but after about 7pm I am #useless.
Anyway, today is shaping up to be a success. I got my work done, don’t appear to be running late for class and I even ate a banana. Sadly I didn’t make it to my Pilates class this morning, left my water bottle at home and didn’t get to do my ADR large group prep. But who cares?! The sun is shining and I’ve been up since 7:30am. Yay!
Ran home after work and made it to a body step class to make up for missing Pilates this morning. My thighs are very grateful. Now I just have teeny bit of work to do for the Pro Bono Project and then it’s Netflix and sleep!! I only have classes Monday – Wednesday so tomorrow it’s off to Advocate (formerly known as the Bar Pro Bono Unit) for my Caseworker job. I love it because I get to help people access justice and it helps contextualise a lot of the procedural matters we learn on the BPTC. It’s a good week.
I apologise for the lack updates yesterday. Thursdays are generally uneventful as I go to work and try and avoid BPTC work like the plague. It does mean however that my weekends (including Fridays) are full of work. My boyfriend lives in Paris and my best friends are all working super hard like me so it’s rare that I actually have plans on the weekend (sad, I know). It does however mean that the weekends are a good time for me to work late.
This morning began with some work for the family business. I do ongoing admin work for them like drafting documents, proofing letters and so on. My family have paid a lot for me to go to Law School so I enjoy being able to do my part for the business and also put my skills into practice.
I’ve booked a Zumba class for 11:45am as I have not done enough exercise this week. I will spend 1 hour reading over the cases papers for my opinion writing hand-in due on Monday. Then I’ll go to Zumba and then study some more until a drinks reception I have this evening. I was going to go to Inner Temple to study but it’s all a bit serious and silent over there and I feel like dancing in my bedroom as I work today. It gets the brain going.
I should make it clear that the opinion due on Monday is going to be marked as a real assessment would be marked. Does that make sense? It means that the opinion I prepared for class on Wednesday needs to be followed up with a mock opinion for the next Monday. That’s at least 11 hours of work in one week for only one subject. Just so you can have an idea of the madness that is the BPTC workload. But do I complain? No! I work hard.
It’s been a very busy weekend. Between my Pro Bono Project work and my horrible hangover on Saturday I did not get as much work done as I wanted. Sometimes your body and brain say no and you have no choice to listen. Luckily my friends and I decided to divide and conquer this weekend so I am only doing a fraction of the reading for my classes this week and we’ll put our notes together.
Overall the past week was good. As you can see so much happens in one week and I didn’t even cover everything with you guys. It’s a big balancing act – trying to eat well, sleep well, exercise on top of the BPTC workload and applications. But as I am proving now for the fifth week in a row, it can be done!
My main concerns right now is that I DESPERATELY need to consolidate my knowledge. I am looking forward to finding a nice corner of Inner Temple’s library to sit in next week (reading week) and make my notes and flashcards. I’ll definitely do another update post-reading week to discuss how I got on top of things and the strategies I recommend.
Thank you for supporting me by reading and sharing. I appreciate you.
Until next time,