Faye Duhamel, a GDL student at BPP Law School, feels that studying a subject other than law at undergraduate level has given her a wider range of skills and knowledge.
Name: Faye Duhamel
Undergraduate University: Cardiff University
Undergraduate Degree: English Literature
Why did you decide to do the GDL? The GDL always seemed like the sensible option as it enabled me to study two subjects I am passionate about without having to compromise the other. I was aware that most firms have an equal intake of both law and non-law students so I knew I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage when it came to Training Contract applications. If anything, I feel that studying a subject other than law at undergraduate level has given me a varied education and provided me with possibly a wider range of skills and knowledge.
Why BPP? BPP had been recommended by a number of friends and I was largely influenced by its fantastic reputation. The study groups are focused and small enough to ensure that everyone can fully participate, whilst the structure of learning is particularly impressive as you are well prepared for exams. Furthermore, because all of the lectures and reading materials are online, you can be flexible in your learning and study at your own pace.
Why did you choose London to study in? The prospect of studying in London really appealed to me, as it is a marked difference to the island life that I have been used to whilst living in Jersey. Moving to the capital has always been my dream as it has such so much history and culture, and an incredible potential for work and life experience. There are always new places to go, new people to meet and exciting things to do. I especially felt that it was important to study in the city in order to make sure that this was where I truly wanted to work.
Do you have a training contract/pupillage lined up? No, unfortunately I don’t, but BPP’s brilliant career service has given me advice towards my applications. I do, however, have a year of paralegal work lined up back home in Jersey. Hopefully this will give me some more valuable practical experience and be of assistance when studying the LPC and applying for Training Contracts.
How are you funding the course? Because of my status as a Jersey student, I do not qualify for any UK loans and so have had to fund the GDL myself. Fortunately I have incredibly hardworking parents who have supported me throughout my studies. I have had a number of part time jobs since I was 15 in order to put some money towards helping to fund my studies and living expenses.
How does the GDL differ from your degree? Has it been a steep learning curve? It has definitely been a step up from studying English Literature. The hardest part of the GDL is trying not to think too independently and not giving my own thoughts and opinions. Coming from a Humanities degree to a largely fact-based subject has been testing at times, as I have had to remember how to revise for exams instead of preparing essays, but I have enjoyed the challenge of learning in a new way. The sheer volume of information you’re expected to absorb in such a short space of time is also very demanding, but luckily the course is thoroughly interesting.
What is the social life like? BPP’s social life largely depends on who your classmates are and your own social adeptness. This can be tricky if you don’t get on with your group or if you are somewhat shy. BPP does try its best to organise social events, however, such as a Christmas and Valentines social. I am fortunate to have been placed in a wonderful group, where everyone is friendly and supportive, and who share a love for a few drinks in the pub after seminars on a Friday.
What about pastoral care, such as the careers service? They provide good advice and are readily available. They help tailor application forms and improving C.Vs and even prepare you for placements with law firms by giving you mock interview practice. There are also a number of networking events such as the careers fair, and guest lecturers are often invited to speak. The pro-bono opportunities are also fantastic.
What top tip would you give to someone who is considering applying for the GDL? My main advice is to always keep on top of your workload each week as it will make revision easier at the end of the year; and never be afraid to ask questions and make the most of the help that you are offered. Another thing to bear in mind is getting your vacation scheme and training contract applications sorted before Christmas if you haven’t already secured a place. This makes it easier to concentrate on your coursework and studies, as well as getting ahead of your peers who are rushing to complete them before the deadline in January.