Thursday, 7 August 2008

Still on the summer break

Still enjoying a break from studying but exceptionally busy with work. Also realising, as the little ones grow less little, just how hard just "being a mum" is.

Take this morning. My little boy (now 4 - starting school in September) trotted into my room and merrily said:

Let's put on our shoes and put on our clothes and go to the shop and buy some nice games

Rubbing my eyes to see the time (6am) I explained that we simply couldn't as the shops weren't open.

He was quiet for a moment and then said.

Ok. Let's put on our shoes and put on our clothes and go into the garden.
And go to the shed and get the axe and go to a shop and smash the window.....

Well. We didn't do that. I think it is a jolly good thing that I am studying law now. If I don't succeed in drumming these ideas out of his head (and where DO these ideas come from???) then at least I can provide him some free legal advice...

Saturday, 28 June 2008


Are out, and I passed year one of the GDL DL. Hoorah. Most pleased with constiadmin - 71 overall, EU was 68, Tort 64 and Contract 59. Not bad, particularly as the research project will be based on constiadmin type stuff.

Only a few days ago I was having significant nightmares of failing so now I can breathe several sighs of relief and start to enjoy the summer.

Fingers crossed for year two now!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Exams looming....

I have just returned from the fourth and final residential weekend of my first year on the GDL by distance learning. Four weeks until exams so well into revision mode now!

I have a beautifully coloured revision timetable on my fridge door, and various law maps all over the house. My poor little ones are going to be having non-stop law stories for the next few weeks.
The little man is quite taken with the United Brands case - we even made up our own words to Bananas in Pyjamas.....the things you do to combine motherhood with law studies!

As the year ends, I am able to reflect a little on what has happened since I began the course last year. I set off for my first weekend last October with no idea of what to expect. I am now quite sad to think that I will not be back at uni for another six months.

Life has changed so much since I began the course. I now work as a legal assistant in commercial litigation which I find really interesting, but I never imagined I would be in this position a few months ago! It has been hard to go to completely full time work - I spend far less time than I would like with my children, but in the long run it will be worth it. And I am benefiting so much from working in a legal environment - it means I have "less hats" to wear now.

It hasn't been easy. Life was busy before and is even more so now, but I feel I am headed in the right direction. My coursework marks have been ok - between 65 aand 70, and now it is all down to the exams.

Revision beckons - I shall update with my progress anon!

Friday, 29 February 2008

Time has flown

I am staggered that more than two months have passed since I last provided an update. That will be the combined effects of studying the GDL by distance learning, raising a pair of troublesome toddlers, and starting a new job....

Well, Christmas came and went and the first assessed piece of coursework (Tort) was handed in. Was pleased to get 65 for that. Then, amongst all the reading and prep for weekend three there was an EU coursework to write (70 for that one).

I was also delighted to start a new job at the start of this month, working as a legal assistant in a litigation department. It means that life is now much more focused on law which makes studying a lot more relevant. It does however mean that I am working full time, as well as my part time teaching and I feel that I am completely neglecting my children. They are growing weary of bedtime stories made up of case law....

It sends them to sleep nicely though!!

At the moment I am busy working on a variety of cases, and also writing up the third assessed coursework - ConstiAdmin this time. There is a music festival locally and lots of my students have been involved so that has kept me occupied - not that I particularly needed any extra stimulation in my life... The other great challenge to surmount at the moment is the planning of my son's "Pirate Party". So far it isn't going well. The one child he actually likes at pre-school is away the weekend of "the party" so he is pretty much heartbroken. To make up for it a little I am determined to hone my creative skills and produce a "parrot pinata" and "baked potato boats" for the big day. And organise a treasure hunt. And devise "pirate-themed games". And make costumes.

Hmmm. I think that I will be reading through the night to prepare for the next weekend. I wonder if anyone has considered legislating for a 30 hour day?

Back to work for now and then a weekend of party-planning. Anyone any good with papier-mache?

Monday, 10 December 2007

Weekend two: I survived!!

The second GDL DL weekend has come and gone which, scarily, means that I am technically half way through year one now. Hit the ground running as usual - straight from a weekend of studying back into work and family life.

It was a really good weekend - and once again I am glad I prepared well, if not as much as I would have done in an ideal world. My favourite subjects were EU Law and Contract Law. Still enjoying Tort but Pure Economic Loss was a bit dull, and ConstiAdmin does nothing at all for me.

I also signed up for an international law summer school, so by the end of July next year I should be knowledgeable about International Commercial Law and the country of Estonia. Even better - my sister has kindly offered to look after the children for that week so I have a whole week off being a "mum".

The weekend was tiring again - travelling all morning Friday before lectures/tutorials until 9.30pm. A bonus was the fact that I had a "newly refurbished" hotel room - quite an improvement on last time! (The food was still horrible though). Saturday started early - 8.30 until 5.15 and Sunday again started early, but we finished a little earlier at 2.45pm this weekend.

Our first tutorials were on EU law - a subject I am really enjoying. We discussed free movement of goods and preliminary references. After that we went back to the hotel and had a few drinks and also chatted to some of the GDL DL year 2 students which was very interesting. A matter of some concern was that they experienced a drop out rate of 40% - that seemed very high to me.

Saturday morning we started off with Law of Tort - once again this was interesting, but psychiatric damage was the most interesting and also led to the most debate and discussion. After a lunch hour spent whizzing round the shops with a couple of other students we spent the afternoon on Contract Law. I really think this is my favourite subject and I never ran out of things to say. This is probably a good thing as no-one else in the group seemed prepared to answer the questions so it was only me contributing for most of the afternoon!

Saturday night the law school had laid on a christmas meal and disco for us. Far, far, far too much alcohol was consumed by all leaving Sunday something of a blur..... Thank goodness the next weekend is in February when there will be no need for excess drinking.

I was nominated student-staff rep for my group and had a great meeting with other student reps and staff members on the Saturday - I was surprised that it lasted nearly 2 hours but we had some good discussions.

We were given not only all of our pieces of assessed coursework but also our exam timetable for next May which has left me feeling a little daunted, but also quite motivated now to work as hard as possible. Hooray for a little time off over Christmas!

Still waiting to hear from the law seems meeting deadlines (at least where I am concerned) is not a priority so for now all I can do is keep my fingers crossed.

Early night ahead and then tomorrow I shall continue my studies with renewed enthusiasm!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

So little time...

Just realised I haven't written anything here for over a month. That would be because I am actually drowning in work, practice assigments, module reading, children, nappies, new pets, functions.......far too much to do and far too few hours in every day.

Yesterday for example. Took my son to pre-school (46 minutes late - I swear my children are as hopeless as I am at getting up in the morning), took my daughter to my mum's house so i could use the computer there. Oh yes. I spilled wine on my laptop and now it is dead. Which does not really help much. Anyway, went to my mum's, did some work on my assignment. Interspersed with my daughter insisting on watching clips of "The Night Garden" on youtube. Sure I will end up mentioning iggle piggle in an exam or essay as he is now so closely entwined with direct effects in my brain. So after that collected the son from pre-school (danced a jig because he didn't have an "accident" - toilet training working at last), children to my mum then I went to work. Stacks to do there, rushed home to teach. That took me to half six. Then I had a chance to do some work and completed my assignment on EU law. Then attacked the Law of Contract reading. Book went down at 11.45pm.

I didn't actually stop or sit down and chill at all yesterday and today will be much the same.

I had a boost because I passed the English Legal Method assignment with some really good comments (my answers for q's 1-4 were exemplary, apparently) but it is still somewhat overwhelming at times. So much studying on top of family and working life.

The fact is that I really do enjoy the subject, well apart from ConstiAdmin. I just wish I had more time to devote to my studies. I didn't realise how easy it was at university when I just had my degree and the odd bit of part time work to contend with. Add 60 hours of work a week, two young children, 2 animals and a house to look after into the equation and the study has to battle for attention.

Anyway, here is my progress to date:

ELM - passed - nothing else to do. Hurrah!

ConstiAdmin - thought about the practise assignment. Haven't written it. Haven't started the reading for the next weekend.

Contract - really enjoying it, nearly completed the assignment. Finished the reading for the next weekend.

Tort - loving it. Done the assignment, nearly completed the reading.

EU Law - also really enjoying this. Completed assignment, reading yet to do.

Other achievements of note:
my son is at last toilet trained (cue the Hallelujah Chorus)
My new cat is now litter-tray trained (cue as above)
My children have done no lasting damage to any assignments/reading/notes
My son knows what precedent is
My daughter knows about res ipsa loquitur.
I know a lot more than I did.
Oh and very excitingly I should be getting a formal offer from big legal company in a few days!


Have exceeded the allocated time for this blog and I am now intruding onto Consti time. With regret I must get on with that.

Will update soon - next study weekend is 2 and a half weeks away so serious study hat will need to be worn.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

The first weekend

Well, I am back home after a quite exhausting weekend of lectures and tutorials for the GDL. Am pleased to report that it was actually very enjoyable!!! The accomodation we were allocated was fairly dire, and the food was .....well it wasn't really food.

The first day was particuarly tiring as we studied until 9.15pm - making it a very long day. That covered English Legal Method and generally was interesting, although there was a tendency in our tutorial group to digress somewhat.

Saturday was much better - another long day of non-stop tutorials from 9 til 5 in Law of Tort and European Law. I really enjoyed both, though was rather concerned when a tutor asked if we knew our left from our right - flashback to primary school moment there!!

The highlight for me was the Law of Contract tutorials - fab tutor and really engaging debate as a group. This could become my favourite subject which I really wasn't expecting.

Overall I think that all of us realised just how challenging it is to study the GDL by distance learning. As well as having to cope with full time work and families, we also have to commit a lot of time to personal study and have very limited contact with the tutors.

Another highlight was Saturday evening when 7 of us decided to pretend to be "real" students and explore our university town. We had a wonderful conversation in a lovely little pub based around the Donoghue Stevenson case which led to one person's comment - "what if Nobby's Nuts negligently filled a pack with scorpions, but the scorpions actually whispered out of the packet we aren't nuts, we're scorpions" the following debate was very interesting, if slightly coloured by the fact we had all consumed a rather large amount of beer.

Unfortunately I was still somewhat under the influence for the law of contract tutorial but still managed to come up with some succinct and relevant arguments - hey if I can do that inebriated I have high hopes for my sober contributions.

All in all, have met some very interesting people from all over the world, all of whom are approaching the GDL from different backgrounds and with different plans for their future careers. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Can't wait for our second weekend now which is, unfortunately, not until December. Until then, head in the books, English Legal Method assignment to complete and 4 "practise" courseworks.....think the next venture into beer drinking will probably be when I am back at uni!