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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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