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Not really sure where to go after finishing my degree - March 15th 2014, 10:52 PM

I am 9 months from graduating University with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours. In 3 months, I start my Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (it's compulsory in order to become a practising solicitor/lawyer). So, by the time I turn 22, I'll be a fully qualified lawyer/attorney.

My problem is that I don't know where to go afterwards. I have a fair amount of experience (I'm a Law Clerk at one firm, an intern at the Legal Aid), but I fear it's not enough. I've also done a tonne of extracurricular stuff (one international mock trial, 2 domestic mock trials, and 3 internal - I'm also the mock trial/competitions director in my Law Student Society), but no one really looks on this too highly (so I'm told). I'm also a research assistant to a professor that's writing a series of articles.

But I'm not really sure if I should do something else.

So, I guess my question is, what has helped you decide where you want to go and what you want to do with your life?
   
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Re: Not really sure where to go after finishing my degree - March 17th 2014, 01:21 AM

What has helped me over the years? Giving new experiences a shot, even if I'm not sure whether I'll like them. For example, based on two volunteer experiences (one of them being TeenHelp), I know I enjoy working with teens and want to do that professionally further down the road. =) I am currently interning with two different agencies, and they've taught me some valuable things as well. I know that I don't want to practice alone - I want to be in a collaborative environment, where I get to interact with various professionals on a regular basis. I know that I'd rather get paid less but love my co-workers than get paid more and deal with annoying/selfish/rude people. I know there are various aspects of my profession I don't enjoy... so I'm going to look for job positions that don't have those various aspects in their job descriptions.

It's quite common for people to change their area of specialization, or to try out various jobs/positions over the course of 1-2 decades... so don't panic about having the "perfect" job lined up post-graduation! As you begin to network with people and explore different areas of interest, you'll begin to find opportunities that look more and more desirable... and you'll actually be in a position to obtain those opportunities. =)





   
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Re: Not really sure where to go after finishing my degree - March 17th 2014, 06:44 PM

I am going to echo what Robin said: experience is everything. Determining what you want to do with your life, especially at such a young age, is a very difficult thing to do. The vast majority of young people experience these same difficulties, and unfortunately, no matter how much you try to plan it all out, it's probably best that you take things as they come. I'm a huge planner, and like to plan out every little aspect of my life. When it comes to this, however, I experience great difficulty, and this has led to a lot of stress and anxiety. Don't fall into this trap. This is something that you can't control, to a large degree.

That being said, there are definitely things that you can do to "help" yourself for the future, but it seems like you're already doing them. I'd encourage all university students to get involved - in some way - at their university. Now, I'm not suggesting that a student needs to participate only in activities that "look good". Unfortunately, a lot of students take this approach, and neglect their true passions and interests for the sake of padding their resume for graduate programs and future employment. To me, it seems like you're on the right track in terms of extra-curricular activities. Continue to get involved in things that you're interested in, and the rest will fall into place.

How did I pick my career path? I thought about where I saw myself in ten years, and what goals I had for my life. My life goals: work downtown in a large city, have a nice car, have a nice condo/house, and earn a large salary. I took those goals, and matched them up with interests that I have. I came to a conclusion: business and law, so that's what I'm doing. The thing is, there's no right way to make this decision, and everyone is going to have such a different approach to making this decision. At the end of the day, you need to do what you feel is best for you.

I know it's difficult, because the future is so uncertain. If you're anything like me and need a life plan, believe me when I say that this is something you just can't plan - no matter how much you try. Actually, the harder you try to plan all of this out perfectly, the more different your life will probably turn out. You need to be flexible to these changes that you will face in the future, no matter how well you think you planned your life out. With this, I am a firm believer that things will definitely work out - even if you end up taking a different path than you anticipated. Sometimes, that makes the world of a difference.

Good luck.


Harvey Specter
Don't play the odds, play the man.
   
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