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!

Monday, 1 October 2007

All set for weekend one!

This Friday I should be setting off on the first of 4 residential study weekends. I am pleased to announce that I have completed all of the required preparation, despite the best efforts of my two little monsters.

I say "should" as I now have a problem....I have to leave home at 5.30am, my sister doesn't get round to look after the children until 5.30pm. This is an issue. I DID have baby sitting arranged but it fell through and now I am quite concerned as to my best course of action. Children eh, if they aren't scribbling over your law notes, they are causing an organisational nightmare in terms of their care! I shall continue to work through the problem and hopefully find a solution (before 5.30am on Friday...)

Nothing has confused me too much yet - another good sign. The modules I am studying this year are:
English Legal Method
Constitutional and Administrative Law (enjoying so far!)
Law of Tort (enjoying this too..)
Law of Contract (hmmm)
European Union Law (the less said the better!)

On Friday I had a really good interview with a local law company who may offer me a job as a paralegal which would be great - just waiting to hear now and getting butterflies just thinking about it!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Do i sense sponsorship?

After managing to get myself into a bit of a worry regarding paying my fees for the GDL, decided to write to all the local lawyers asking if they wanted to sponsor me. To date I have received 4 very friendly letters saying that they don't offer such schemes, but wishing me luck nonetheless. Then, a few days ago, I received an email from a large company's HR manager, asking me to call her. I did so, and she basically said that she was really impressed with my CV, and wanted to forward my details to the partners as i was exactly the kind of candidate they are interested in. It could be that rather than just paying my fees they may actually give me a job as well.

Fingers are well and truly crossed!!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Heading for a brush with the law...

Hmmm...if things continue the way they are, then I may well find myself actively involved with the law a little sooner than intended (or desired). I have discovered a truly horrific combination of objects and circumstances which must NEVER again be allowed to come together.

Felt tip pens
Learning texts
Lack of supervision

I only went to peel some potatoes for dinner (my attempt at being a "real mum" and actually making proper mashed potato for the little monsters). It was as simple and innocent as that.

Five minutes later I return to a scene of carnage. My carefully prepared notes are barely readable, my learning texts are entirely decorated. Well, those that I can see are, anyway. My living room looks like it has been hit by a tornado. My papers are everywhere. Everywhere except where they are meant to be.

My voice leapt up a couple of octaves as I tried to deal with the situation. "You are both VERY naughty. You are both going on the naughty step RIGHT NOW"

So that's where they went. Both screaming their heads off. I tried to gather together my work - it took about 15 minutes to get things straight, all the while the two monsters are yelling (where do children get that capacity for endless wailing from?).

Then I gave them their tea. They didn't even really enjoy their mashed potato very much.

Well last night I carried on with Law of Tort....all but page 19/20 anyway. I have no idea where THAT ended up (methinks the little lady monster may have eaten it). So if anyone has a copy of Nottingham Law School's Learning text on Law of Tort and fancies giving me a precis of that particular page I would be most grateful.

And if the situation repeats itself I am a little worried that I may find myself on the receiving end of a visit from social services following concerned calls from neighbours regarding the amount of crying coming from my house. It won't be the children though. It will be me. Curled up in a ball on the floor whilst the two little monsters decorate me and my notes with felt tip pens...

Monday, 10 September 2007

Feeling satisfied

Well the weekend has come and gone. The major success to report is that both I and my two children (aged nearly 2 and 3) have all got some degree of understanding about Constitutional and Administrative law. At this rate my children are going to become mini-genii of the law world. They are both into the "what does that word say Mummy" stage at the moment, so I figured it was just easier to read aloud from my books. Well, it keeps them amused and enables me to get on with studying so we all win!

Well, we won on Saturday anyway. Unfortunately on Sunday, AF (absent father) decided he was suddenly terribly ill so cancelled his time with the children. The sun was out and they were determined not to spend their time inside being lectured on the European Convention on Human Rights so we spent most of the day out in the garden, trimming back (well more like attacking with a hacksaw) the hedges. I got some sun and the brain had a rest. I had great intentions for an evening of study once they were in bed, but NB (neglected boyfriend) was insistent on spending some time with me for a change, so once again, the study didn't happen.

It was nice to spend some time with NB but I did feel a bit guilty about the lack of time I had put into my studies. I think there are a few too many demands on my time. Made up for it this morning though. After dropping little man to pre-school I sat my daughter down in front of C-Beebies (yes the guilt issues of allowing the t.v. to entertain my child were there) and got on with studying. Am pleased to report that I have now finished preparing Constitutional Law and English Legal Method and have made a good start on the Law of Tort. Only European Law and Law of Contract to sort and I will be all set for the first residential weekend.

Fingers crossed for children who sleep like angels, an AF who actually takes the children out next weekend and an understanding NB who lets me get on with some studying this week!!!

Friday, 7 September 2007

On my way at last

Patting myself on the back. After "thinking about law" for years, but instead getting married, having children and getting divorced, my time has finally come and I am officially a student of Nottingham Law School.

I am studying the GDL by distance learning - the only feasible option with two very small children - and looking forward to it (yes I can hear the muffled laughs and yes I am aware that I sound super-naive). So far, the journey has been relatively straightforward - got an immediate unconditional offer from the Law School for the course, and got an award from Middle Temple. But now of course, reality has hit somewhat.

"It is expected that students will commit 15 hours of study per week to the course".

Hmmmm.....I already work 30 hours at my main job, teach music 20 hours a week and tutor french at an evening class 2 hours a week. And I am completing an HNC in Construction this year. And I am desperately trying to be a "good mum" to my two small children! I really really need a few more hours in each day...

Anyway, I think I can safely say that for the next two years I will have NO free time whatsoever - right now I am looking at the sunshine and grimly facing up to the fact that I will see none of it this weekend. Instead, I shall be trying to get my head around Constitutional and Administrative Law. Oh, and apply for a whole bunch of "mini-pupillages".

It will, I am sure, be worth it in the end.