Insider: VHS FLETCHERS SOLICITORS

“Ambition is the key to success, persistence is the car you arrive in” – Bill Bradley.

It feels like forever since I last blogged (I apologise), but here I am, back, back again writing about what I have recently been up to. This summer has flown by, and its only sixteen weeks until Christmas, SIXTEEN! I cannot believe it. So, what have I been doing over the last couple of weeks that has kept me so busy?

I have been on work experience at VHS Fletchers Solicitors, which has been great! Whether you are aware or not, getting legal work experience is often difficult to obtain and I have realised that many firms will not even respond to emails querying such thing. Therefore, to be offered two weeks experience was totally fabulous.

VHS Fletchers are an East Midlands based law firm who specialise in criminal defence. (Head over to their website should you wish to read more).

I spent the first week of my experience at the Nottingham office and the second week based at Derby, which I found advantageous because I could go to the courts in both cities and network with plenty of solicitors, barristers and advocates.

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Week 1: Nottingham (14th – 18th August)

Monday: At 8 am I travelled into Nottingham via train which took 30 minutes, I chose to travel via train to avoid extortionate car park fees and long bus journeys. When I arrived at VHS Fletchers Solicitors at Nottingham I waited in the upstairs office for the staff to arrive.  Once everyone had arrived, I was told I would be going to Nottingham Crown Court to shadow a member of staff who was working on a grievously bodily harm (GBH) case. I was quickly briefed on the case before taking a walk down to the court. Read more about the trial here in the Nottingham Post. Upon entering the court, I greeted the barrister for the defence before taking a seat in the public gallery amongst many of the victims and the defendants family members and friends. The trial began once the jury was sworn, and the prosecution began to build his case against the accused. The case went on all day and was due to finish by the end of Wednesday.

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Nottingham Office.

Tuesday: The next morning I went down to Nottingham Crown Court again to follow the trial. Key evidence was presented to the court, including the alleged weapon. Numerous witnesses were called to give their evidence on oath, and the day ended with the prosecution giving his closing speech. This gave the jury a chance to go home and consider everything they had heard before returning in the morning to decide on a verdict based on the evidence. On returning to the office, I discussed the case with staff at VHS and looked through the paperwork including the jury bundle.

Wednesday: On Wednesday I returned to Nottingham Crown Court to hear the defence barristers closing speech. Personally, I think the barrister did an amazing job of defending the case, she was very convincing which left the jury in much doubt (even if I am biased). It was clear that she had a lot of experience which was reflected in her overall contribution to the proceedings. The case was adjourned until after lunch to give the jury time to think. During my lunch hour, I went to Heavenly Desserts with another work experience student (Ifra). I had not been to Heavenly Desserts before so I was very impressed with the quality of the puddings, and I will certainly be returning. If you have not tried it, I would totally recommend!

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Heavenly Desserts: Banoffee pancakes.

After lunch, I returned to the Court and waited for the jury. The jury eventually found the defendant guilty. It was then the defence barrister’s responsibility to mitigate the sentencing, which resulted in 13 years’ imprisonment. Read more about the sentencing which was reported in the news here.

Thursday:  When I got to the office on Thursday morning, a different member of staff from VHS took me down to Nottingham Magistrates Court to shadow her during a bail application. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to sit amongst the other lawyers as opposed to the public gallery. I spent the rest of the day in and out of court rooms in the Magistrates.

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Nottingham Crown Court, Court Three.

 

Friday: On the final day, the courts were very quiet so there was not much to spectate. I spent half the day at Nottingham Crown Court and the other half at the Magistrates Court spectating from the public gallery. Additionally, I sat in on a meeting between a client and his solicitor and barrister in preparation for his appearance before the Crown Court.

Overall my week in Nottingham was very interesting, I spent most of my time in and out of Nottingham Crown Court which I had done three years ago, during my time at college studying law. However, this time was more personal as I was shadowing the defence solicitors in all proceedings.

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Week 2: Derby (29th August – 1st September)

Monday: The 28th of August was a bank holiday Monday, so I did not go into Derby nonetheless, I spent the afternoon ironing my outfits and preparing for a busy week ahead.

Tuesday: I chose to travel via bus into derby this week, arriving at the office for 8:30 am. On arrival, I was greeted by the staff and given a tour around the building and facilities. I sat in the Crown Court department where I was briefed on the case I would be following for the week. Shortly after I walked down to Derby Crown Court with a Crown Court Litigator from VHS to meet the client (before his trial was due to begin). I then sat in on the meeting with the accused advising on likely court proceedings alongside the litigator and barrister who were representing him. The meeting was short, and the case was called to start after twenty minutes. I sat alongside the litigator on the bench behind the barrister for the case. In court, the jury was sworn and the prosecution opened their case. The case was then adjourned to the following morning to allow the defence barrister time to view video footage from the CPS which he was not aware of yet. It was then lunch time, so I went to subway for a quick sandwich before returning to the office. I spent the afternoon reading over the file of the case, looking through interviews and statements of all witnesses.

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Derby Office.

Wednesday: On Wednesday morning, I returned to Derby Crown Court for the trial. On arrival, I went down to the robing room where I greeted barristers and solicitors who were gathered in there. The case was called, however shortly after was adjourned for a later date in the year, due to a failure of the CPS to disclose significant information relevant to the defendant’s case. After this, I moved to another court room for a separate case VHS was representing, after court proceedings I then got to go down to the cells to discuss with the client. This was the first time I had been down to the cells at court because on previous occasions I was told that work experience students were unable to. After a lunch break, I spent the afternoon carrying files from the bottom floor of the office to the third floor where I then sorted them from A-Z before they would be put into archives.

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Files.

Thursday: When I got to the office on Thursday morning I was greeted by a solicitor advocate who had a case in the Crown Court that day. I walked down to Court with the solicitor whilst having a conversation about his career and advice in obtaining a legal position. When we arrived at court, we went down to the robing room to drop our bags off before going to the court room. After a lunch break, another member of staff from VHS took me down to the Magistrates Court where I spectated the proceedings for unpaid fines.

Friday: On my final day in Derby, I was taken to the Crown Court by another member of staff who was also a solicitor advocate. I spectated the sentencing for an armed robbery, which was reported in the Nottingham post here. Following this, I then watched the sentencing for an actual bodily harm (ABH) charge. After court, Siobhan McGuiness (Crown Court Litigator) treated me and another work experience student (Chloe) to lunch on our last day, which was lovely.

In the afternoon, everyone at the office was busy on their laptops doing paperwork etc. Chloe and I went back to the Crown Court to spectate the sentencing of a fraud case which you can read about in the Derbyshire Times here or by the Derbyshire Constabulary here.

By the end of the week, barristers and clerks had noticed my presence and came over to discuss with me where I am with my studies. One barrister joked and said I should have taken the bar to become a barrister instead of training to be a solicitor.

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The experience over the two weeks was invaluable, upon reflection, I can honestly say I really enjoyed my time with VHS. The staff made me feel incredibly welcome, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity I was given. This experience has encouraged me to pursue my dreams and ambitions into a career I always hoped of…which brings me to my next point:

Those of you who have been following my blog will remember me saying that I was going to postpone my Legal Practice Course (LPC) however, after much thought and deliberation I have changed my mind. I will be starting my LPC with masters at Nottingham Law School on the Monday 11th September 2017. Which is only just over a week away, how crazy! I am studying the course full time which is three days a week. I am excited to go back to University to continue my education as I had initially planned to, it is going to be difficult financially because the postgraduate student finance loan does not cover the tuition fees and therefore, I am hoping to find a part time position to fit around my studies.

I am sure you will hear all about it in my future posts…but until then I am up to my eyeballs with pre-reading for my LPC and training contract applications.

Until next time,

Gee x

 

 

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Insider: Nottinghamshire Police

 “Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector’s item” – Isaac Marion.

If you have been following my blog you will know that I spent three days on work experience at Nottinghamshire Police Headquarters, in which I got an invaluable insight into many of the departments and responsibilities of the force. In this blog post, I am going to share with you the activities I got involved with and what I gained from my work experience placement.

I applied to do work experience with the police because I wanted to learn more about the different roles within the force to give me an idea of the types of careers I can enter. People are quick to assume that having a law degree means I should become a lawyer, whereas in fact my degree is very versatile and can be utilised in many professions.

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Wednesday 19th July:

On the first day, I left my house bright and early excited for what the day ahead would entail. When I arrived at the Nottinghamshire Police headquarters (HQ) I had to wait at the gates to be let in by the reception staff. Once I was in, I parked up my car and headed over to reception where I was greeted with a visitor card on a lanyard. I was shortly collected by a member of staff (who I am not going to name for confidentiality purposes), who had been an active police community support officer (PCSO) for the last 27 years!

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I was then given a guided tour around the premises discussing all the departments from human resource management to the office of the chief. Whilst finding out about the extensive range of roles at the HQ, I also got to ask questions and to gain a fuller picture of the police as I think this is often distorted by today’s media. We are all aware of Government spending cuts, but seeing first hand what these cuts have caused was very shocking. In fact, Nottinghamshire Police no longer own any horses, therefore, the stables which are located within the woods at the HQ, are empty and are going to waste. Additionally, the police have had to reduce the number of staff, share vehicles with other forces (which includes the helicopter which is used across the whole of the East Midlands!). Furthermore, the cars/vans which are utilised by the police are all leased meaning that the force does not own one vehicle. However, this is advantageous for the police in regards to servicing.

After looking around, I got an insight into the control room and the procedure of 999 calls. Here, I found it shocking how many prank/hoax calls are received daily which waste time and potentially put urgent members of the public at risk. Also, the types of calls which are received often waste police time, for example; “I have a pigeon in my living room, I do not know what to do”. Nottinghamshire police averagely receive 500 genuine emergencies a day thus, the public needs to consider how important their call really is before dialling the emergency services. When calls are received, the police staff will write them up on to a computer system, and colour code in accordance with how quickly a response is required and also what type of officers are required to attend the call (such as dogs, firearms etc). This then allows officers to prioritise attending the more severe calls. What I noticed about the staff in this department was their general attitude towards callers, when receiving an alarming or distressing call they would maintain a calm and collective manner. This is vital to their job role because often those who call are upset and worried.

After a quick lunch break, we looked at how fingerprints are taken and I got to have try taking my own! Let’s just say, I wasn’t particularly good at it and I got ink everywhere nonetheless, I realised there is more to fingerprints than simply sticking your finger in the ink and on to the paper. To be precise you should roll your finger to get a full and clear picture of each individual’s unique whirls and lines. I was then told how the police deal with offenders who believe that wearing gloves prevents fingerprints from being left at crime scenes (which is not true), followed by discussing DNA from hair and skin cells and footprints which are left at crime scenes and how they are utilised in capturing the perpetrator.

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To finish the first day, the PCSO told me about his career and experience with the police which included many of the silly calls he had attended and some life-threatening situations he had been involved with over the years. I was then given an itinerary for the next two days before I finished and drove home.

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Thursday 20th July:

On the second day, I drove to the HQ eager to find out more about the police after having a great first day. Once I had parked and checked in at reception I attended a presentation on the effects of alcohol. The presentation did not provide me with much information that I was not already aware of such as recommended consumption and health detriments. We focused on how alcohol often comes hand in hand with police work and the reasons for this.

Following the alcohol presentation, the crime scene investigator (CSI) unit came in to demonstrate what their work entails followed by an activity allowing me and a group of others to work as a team as if we were called out to a crime scene to take evidence. Obviously, this was not a real investigation, however, the activity required us to act as though it was from using the police radios, bagging up evidence and keeping a detailed log of events. As a group, we concluded that there had been a hit and run type situation by using all of the evidence we were provided with. I found this activity very motivating which I could imagine being an interesting career.

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After lunch, we continued to look at the work of the CSI but paid specific focus on the way evidence is collected and appropriately packaged for use in court. Every item of evidence collected by the police can be crucial to the case therefore, it is essential that each item is packed to avoid contamination and prevent it from becoming misplaced. I got to look at and touch all the different types of packaging from brown paper bags to nylon bags and plastic knife holders. We then contemplated how the police preserve evidence which is wet such as clothing which is stained with blood or semen. Drying cupboards are used on these types of items before they are placed in bags, so that evidence is not lost or soaked up by other items. The thing that surprised me most was the cost of packaging, for instance, the nylon bags cost £100 each and for obvious reasons, they are used once! When you consider how many items are taken for evidence in each case, that soon adds up!

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Friday 20th July:

I was most excited for my final day because as I predicted, I had some fascinating activities planned. To begin the day, I attended a presentation on drugs which sought to educate the impact of drugs and the reason for their classifications. Drugs have circulated the streets of Nottingham for years, in fact, the police are often called to suspected cannabis growths which are illegal (of course) but also very dangerous. They are a hazard because those who grow cannabis often place heat lamps alongside water sprinklers – it does not take a genius to realise that water and electricity do NOT mix. We often hear about drugs in the media, particularly in relation to celebrities (such as Amy Winehouse etc) and those imported and utilised in prison. Drug abusers often refer to drugs as a way of “escaping life” as drugs come in 2 forms: stimulants and sedatives. The problem here is that those who become addicted to one often take the other to level them out, but the most horrifying fact is the consequential health effects upon those who misuse them. During the presentation, we got to hold genuine drugs which were seized from the streets of Nottingham worth a street value of £250,000! Within these drugs were; Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, LSD, Amphetamines, Ecstasy (MDMA), Cannabis (Marijuana), Nitrous Oxide (Laughing gas) and Crack Cocaine. It was so strange holding so many illegal substances which I had never seen before, especially considering how dangerous they are and the prison sentence they carry if you are found in possession of having them.

Following the drugs presentation, we went down to the kennels to see the police dogs and their handlers. I got to walk around the kennels and meet all the dogs before watching the types of work each dog was capable of. Police dogs are super intelligent, they can sniff drugs out of crowds, find dead bodies and detain people until their handler can get to them. Nottinghamshire police have also just taken on a puppy to train so we got to meet him which was cute!

Finally, to end the day but also my three-day experience we went down to the firearm department where some officers take extra training in using firearms. The officers told us about their role and the types of equipment they are trained to use. I tried on the ‘stab vest’ which weighed almost three stone with equipment in, therefore, I struggled to stand straight as I found it rather heavy! I was then given a tour of the police car and the kit in the car which included firearms which were locked in the front of the vehicle, a first aid kit, protection boards and a ‘stinger’ device which is used to deflate tyres. Their job sounded dangerous due to the types of incidents they are responsible for dealing with. Nottingham has seen quite a rise in knife crime over the years so the police have had to take extra precautions.

firearms

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I found the entire experience very interesting, although I have realised that a PCSO role is not for me as I probably would not pass the intensive fitness and strength tests. Although, the other types of roles across the police such as in the Human Resources department and control room which are more admin type roles appeared stimulating.

Perhaps this blog post has inspired you to consider a career in the Police, and maybe you are contemplating some work experience? A little advice from me: pursue every opportunity you are given, you can never have too much experience! Just keep in mind the limitations now placed on these types of experience considering recent events (Ariana Concert, Manchester, May 2017♥) which prevent the police from being allowed to take you out on calls in their cars due to safety precautions.

Until next time,

Gee x

Results: Expectations vs. Reality

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as; improvement, achievement and success have no meaning” – Benjamin Franklin.

If you follow me on social media, then you will already know that on Friday the 7th July the University of Chester released their exam results. For third year students, this meant we would find out our degree classification which we would be graduating with. In my previous blog, I mentioned how nervous I was to receive my results as I had worked so hard and I was hoping that this would be reflected in my grades. When I heard the news that people had found out their results I could not bring myself to open my own. My friends were posting in the group chat their achievements which made me so proud, nonetheless, I could not open my own. I waited in suspense for my mum to return home from work so I could open them with her. When she finally got back I plucked up the courage…the website began loading…and before I knew it, my results were in front of me. I SCREAMED with joy as I read “Bachelor of Laws with Honours, Class two, Division One 2.1”. My mum began crying, I began crying and then my sister too! I’m not usually an emotional person but I was so overwhelmed in the very moment. I had achieved exactly what I wanted, SUCCESS!

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To celebrate, my mum and I went to pizza express for dinner which went down a treat (if you know me, pizza is always a good idea!). It was a busy evening for my family as it was also the night of my sister’s prom. Over the following week, I received numerous congratulations cards and gifts from my family and friends, the support has been amazing and I could not be happier with my achievement. I am looking forward to graduating in October with the rest of my friends who have all done amazing!

 

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Pizza Express, Nottingham.

 

After finding out my results, I knew it was time to start searching and applying for jobs (this is where the expectation part comes in to play). So, after hearing “a law degree will open many doors for you” I did not think it would be such a problem, but oh gee I was so wrong. Finding employment is super hard! In fact, applying for jobs is like a full-time job itself after filling out the 20 pages of details about myself repetitively.

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Originally, I planned to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) alongside a legal research masters at Nottingham Trent University this upcoming September. However, after moving back home reality has struck me and I have now decided that I do not want to take another student loan on top of the one I borrowed for my undergraduate Law degree. The LPC is a one year programme which costs a total of £12,600 and for me right now it would not be financially practical. Unless I win the lottery before September I must postpone this plan for now. I am gutted as I had hoped on entering a legal career, and without the LPC I am limited in the legal sector. Additionally, most paralegal positions require extensive legal experience, something which I am short of.

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I have looked at all my potential options and have now decided that I am going to enter straight into full-time employment. Perhaps by this time next year or in a few years from now, I will consider the LPC again. Alternatively, this gives me chance to gain invaluable legal experience or pursue another type of career. Furthermore, I have also kept in mind that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have confirmed that the LPC will be scrapped by 2020 and will be replaced by a ‘solicitor super exam’. Therefore, in my opinion, perhaps it will be better to wait and explore other options for now.

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Anyway, finding employment has not been easy at all! I have researched graduate schemes and applied for hundreds of positions and I am still unemployed!!! Every day I apply for more and more jobs, I just hope that something will come from my applications soon. I am not the type of person who can do nothing all day, I like to keep myself occupied and I enjoy being busy so the last few weeks have been tedious, to say the least.

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On a more positive note, I have three days work experience scheduled with the Police beginning tomorrow which will give me a slight break from all my job applications if not anything else.

Please follow my blog if you want to keep up to date with my journey. And always remember; sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life ♥.

Until next time,

Gee x

What will PROM be like in 100 years?

 “Life is a party, dress like it” – Audrey Hepburn.

I am sure you are aware, it is currently prom season here in the UK. Therefore, all those who have finished their GCSE’s at secondary school are awarded a one-night event where they can dress in suits and elegant dresses. Additionally, participants will hire limos and sports cars for their arrival at the venue and spend a fortune on makeup and accessories!

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Milly Collins, 2017.

Where did prom originate from? Prom originally began in America in the 1800’s as a semi-informal dance at the end of high school for its students. Originally the ‘prom’ was known as a dance but has now become so much more.

Today, prom is treated as a milestone in life and therefore, it is heavily documented like a wedding day. Other regions around the globe slowly began to hold similar events including much of Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Each country holds the event slightly differently, and will refer to the occasion as a “ball”, “school formal”, or simply “prom”. Nonetheless, the term “prom” has become ever increasingly popular in the UK and Canada due to American films and TV shows such as; Hannah Montana, Glee and High School Musical.

Most secondary schools across England and Wales now host a prom at the end of the five-year period of compulsory education which usually involves the hiring of a hotel or extravagant function room to hold the occasion. As you may have guessed, the event is not cheap. In fact, the parents of teenagers often spend up to £500 on their sons and daughters for just one night!

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What is Prom like today in the UK? As mentioned, prom has become a very popular occasion in the UK in which the final year students of secondary school spend lots of time planning and preparing for the evening. Besides dancing, prom includes a sit down three-course meal and an awards ceremony.

Last week, my younger sister had her school prom which I couldn’t help but notice was so different to mine only just five years ago, but why? I felt that my sister and her friends put a lot more time and effort into their prom preparation as you will soon see…

My sister spent the whole day getting ready for the event, and even the few days before in the lead up to the day. My sister wanted every detail to be perfect for prom so her checklist was huge ranging from finding the ‘perfect’ dress to getting the correct tan shade. I felt like her personal assistant taking her from one appointment to the next, but it was lovely to be part of her special day. I’d be here forever if went into every detail, but let’s just say she looked beautiful when she was ready!

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Milly, all ready to go to prom, 2017.

My sister; Milly had decided on a grey/silver theme when she chose her dress. The dress picking may have been the hardest part as she tried on hundreds of dresses in many different styles and colours before finding the right one. Once she had decided on her dress, it was time to find a coordinating pair of heels and a clutch bag. My sister is quite tall so she did not want any six-inch heels as she would have towered over her friends therefore, she wanted something with a small heel so she did not feel left out. She chose a pair of metallic silver heels from Kurt Geiger and a sequined clutch bag. Furthermore, to complement her look she had her makeup done including semi-permanent false eyelashes, hair styled, a spray tan and painted nails and toes. To finish her overall look, she added a pair of my late nana’s earrings.

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Milly and her friends at the prom venues entrance (Morley Hayes Golf Club), 2017.

On the day, my sister was so excited as she could not wait to see all her friends. As there was such a big group of them, they decided to hire a red double decker bus to travel to the venue in. This was such a good idea as it meant they could all stay together. My sister like most of her friends wanted lots of pictures to remember the night, so I took plenty! They all had a fabulous night which was nice considering all the effort which had gone into the event especially the dresses, which were amazing!

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Milly and her friends, 2017.

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What was it like 5 years ago? For me, my prom seemed so different! When it came to dress selecting I was not sure on what I wanted, I’m quite short so I opted for a short length dress and higher heels. I also went for a silver dress however, mine had a black lace detail as opposed to the glitter and sequins my sister had. I had my hair curled and pinned up and I was not fussed about having a tan or any makeup on, although I did have my nails done. At the time, I did not wear makeup to school so I was not really fussed about wearing any. This was also apparent within my friendship group as only a few had spray tans and we all wore minimal makeup. My friends and I booked a classic black stretched limo to arrive in as there was just six of us. If I could do prom again, I would do EVERYTHING different, although at the time it was exactly what I had wanted.

Overall, I feel that prom is taken way more seriously today than it was just five years ago. Sixteen-year-old girls tend to wear far more makeup than my friends and I ever did. At my prom, I was not fussed about having hundreds of photos because I just wanted to enjoy the night with my friends, something which was also very different at this year’s prom.

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My friends and I at prom, 2012.

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What does the future hold? Considering the changes in the last five years, I wonder what prom will be like in the future. One hundred years from now prom may be far beyond what the occasion is today. Studies have suggested that parents are prepared to spend more on their children in creating their prom look than ever before. Considering that prom began as a small dance where students would dress-up to celebrate the end of education, today appears very different. Young girls are now seen to be competing with one another for the best dress or finest sports car to arrive in, which is not what prom was ever about. Appearance has been taken to another level with girls paying up to £100 just for an application of makeup! One major concern is that prom should not be viewed as a rivalry to secure awards such as “prom queen” and “prom king” but should focus on a celebration amongst friends for finishing school.

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So, what are the top 5 things to consider for prom?

1)      Time and organisation – Ensure you have enough time to sort out every detail. Book all your appointments in advance to avoid disappointment!

2)      Outfit – shop around to make sure you pick the one which is best for you and not what your mum likes best or your friends have chosen! Do not hesitate to try on a range of styles and colours, as often clothes look better once you have tried them on. Also, you may be surprised by certain colours which compliment your skin tone and figure.

3)      Accessories – this includes your jewellery, clutch and heels. I suggest you find your outfit first before worrying about the accessories. When it comes to purchasing accessories don’t go overboard sometimes the simplest of items will allow more attention to be placed upon your dress.

4)      Makeup and hairstyle – you may decide to look natural or you may want to go all out (it is a once in a lifetime event after all), either way, consider many styles and looks on the internet before your appointment and perhaps consider getting a trial to guarantee you like the look you have chosen.

5)      Arrival – you will need to choose what type of vehicle you want to arrive in, but make sure you reserve it soon before they are fully booked. Most people decide to stick with their friends for prom which means you can hire a limo and it will not be expensive to split the cost between you. However, perhaps you would want to try something different like a sports car or even a tractor (as I saw someone arrive in this year).

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Is it your prom soon? or can you remember your school prom just a few years ago? Either way, you’ll know the significance of the event and how important the day has become.

Until next time,

Gee x

Gee’s Degree.

Hundreds of textbooks read, numerous hours spent in the universities library and a serious lack of sleep, but after three years I can say I have finished my degree! Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past three years, then you are probably aware that I studied law at the University of Chester.

Prior to beginning my journey at Chester, I spent months deliberating what I wanted out of my future. At first, I considered an apprenticeship so that I could get straight into a job after completing two years of college, however, after months of searching I could not find anything suitable for me. My college teacher prompted me to contemplate University, so I began researching courses and universities. My initial intention was to study nursing however this soon changed when I began looking at the vast range of degrees you can study, with law being my key focus. After dragging my mum on several open days, I had decided that the University of Chester was my favourite, particularly because of the comforting feeling I got from the institution itself, the layout of the law degree and the beautiful location. Also, the fact that my mum said it was the nicest we had looked at, and mums always know best, right? So, that following week I wrote my personal statement and applied through UCAS. Within weeks I was thrilled to receive my unconditional offer which I accepted and I began preparing over the summer to move out on the 23rd September 2014.

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The day soon arrived, that morning I drove up to Chester bright and early to collect my keys to my student accommodation. My mum followed behind with most of my stuff because my little Fiat could not hold even the half of it. On the day, I was filled with mixed emotions, I was leaving my family behind where I would have to live independently for the first time, I was nervous about meeting everyone and after reading bad reviews on student accommodation, I was not sure what to expect.

For me, Chester is just over a two-hour drive from my family home so that was perfect, as it meant that I was not close to home but I was never too far away if I wanted to come home for a weekend. I certainly took advantage of this as I drove home every other weekend in the first year to see my family and friends. Additionally, this meant I could bring my washing home for my mum instead of paying £5 per wash on campus! Let’s just say she wasn’t the most impressed with this, on the other hand, she was happy to have me home frequently so it worked well.

Anyway…when I arrived in Chester, I was designated room 114 on the first floor of Kingsley Lodge. Initially, I thought that meant there would be over a hundred of us within the building, however to my surprise the accommodation only housed 35 students. As I opened my door I was shocked at how small my room was but I assumed everyone’s would be the same. Oh, I was wrong…I was given one of the smallest rooms in the building nonetheless, it soon became cosy once I filled it with my belongings. The strange thing about Kingsley Lodge was that no two rooms were the same, some had ensuites, others just toilets and some had just a random sink. My room had a separate bathroom to the room with a toilet and sink and I used the communal shower which I shared with four other people in my hallway. The building itself was quite dated with rumours suggesting it was once a care home, whether that’s true I do not know. The location of the accommodation was ideal for walking into town and to university, each taking no more than ten minutes.

1st year room
Room 114

Within twenty-four hours of being in Chester, I had made friends which I am still close to today. After the first week, I had completely settled in and unpacked my belongings. Time flew by, and before I knew it the first term was over and we were all going back home for the Christmas holidays. I never thought I would feel the way I did, but I missed my little room, I missed Chester, I missed my friends. After returning from the Christmas break, the next few months also whizzed by. For me, I remember having such much fun and ‘banter’ every day between and after lectures. In fact, the first year was such a breeze in comparison to second and third year! On results day, I was so happy to have passed which meant I would be commencing on to the second year of my degree.

clique x

For the second year, I had to move out of university student halls, which I was sad about as I had enjoyed the first year so much. Not to mention, how cheap and affordable it was! Myself and five of the girls I had become close to viewed so many properties in search of finding a ‘nice’ house. To our disappointment, we struggled to find a house we could agree on, particularly because everyone wanted double beds, a lounge to socialise in and a kitchen which looked like it had been cleaned regularly. So, with the bar set so high we really struggled in finding a property which accommodated everyone’s needs. 1647962 houses later, we found a six bedroom house on Ermine Road which was better than everything else we had viewed so we settled and signed the letting agreement that same day. We struck lucky because only two of the bedrooms had doubled when we viewed but by the time we moved in our landlords had replaced the beds so that every room was a double. Despite the twenty-minute walk away from university and the increase in rent, we were happy to be living together for the final two years of our University experience.

study

The standard of work expected of us felt like a sudden leap from the first year. I continuously doubted my abilities to succeed as the pressure and workload only seemed to grow. Some of the modules we covered were extremely challenging, particularly Human Rights Law. Nonetheless, I surprised myself in achieving a first for that module, which totally shocked me! I was so proud of what I was achieving which gave me the courage to continue. One of the modules of the second year gave me the chance to participate in a German Exchange programme. The experience was invaluable because we got to visit the European Court of Human Rights and learn about the differences of the German constitution in comparison to our own. The trip was very interesting and allowed me to make friends with other people on my course who I had not spoken to before.

germany2

Before I knew it, the second year was completely over! On results day, I was happy to have achieved a 2:1 overall for the year which will contribute a third to my overall degree. So, without further ado let us get on to the third and final year…

With no doubt, the third year struck hard! I thought the step from first to the second year was big so I anticipated stepping up my game for the third year. However, I was no way near prepared to take on the challenges it had in store for me. The third year allowed us to choose five topics of interest ranging from Intellectual Property Law to Medical Law. I tactically selected modules which I believed I would be able to excel in based on the method of assessment used. I am due to receive my exam results which will determine my degree classification this upcoming Monday. This makes me extremely nervous, I just hope all my efforts have paid off!

toga

Due to my degree being finalised it became time to move out of our house on Friday the 23rd June 2017. This was an extremely sad time for my friends and I as we had become so close over the three years, supporting each other through every struggle. We all live quite spread out across the country nonetheless, I have no doubts that I will retain contact with them as think I have made friends for life.

So, that’s my three-year university experience, in a nutshell. Perhaps you are considering going to university? From a personal perspective, I would say “DO IT” because I enjoyed every moment and can confidently say I made the right choice. Although everyone is different so I appreciate that university is not necessarily the best choice for us all. If you are considering further education the only thing I would recommend is research. Research the range of degrees, consider the career you want to pursue after your degree and visit plenty of universities to ensure you pick the one that is right for you.

Until next time,

Gee x

Lets Get Started.

Hey, it’s Gee here (F I N A L L Y, I know!!!)

I am currently writing my first ever blog post (scary!) I have wanted to start blogging for ages so this has been a long time coming. In fact, I created my word press account back in 2014 therefore, it is about time that I began writing. I enjoy reading other people’s blogs which has inspired me to write my own.

I have lots of ideas and thoughts to blog about however, I want my first post to be a short introduction about me. So without further ado, I am currently twenty-one years old and have just completed my Law degree at the University of Chester. I am originally from Nottingham which is located in the east midlands of England. If you still have no idea where that is, then you have probably heard of ‘Robin Hood’ right? Well, Nottingham is known for its links to the legend of Robin and his “merry men” besides many other wonderful things.

Anyway, we do not want to focus on that as you are here to know about me… so let me get you up to date; as of this week I have moved back home (Nottingham) where I live with my mum, her partner and my younger sister. It is such a strange and overwhelming feeling to be back home after moving out three years ago. I am initially planning on staying at home for a few years until I can afford to move out – not so sure how long that is going to take!

Furthermore, I would say I am strong-willed individual with a passion for pursuing a career in something I thoroughly enjoy. I hope to fulfil my blog with interesting personal experiences and current affairs. Without getting ahead of myself, we will have to see how it all goes!

Until next time,
Gee xgee pic