Thursday, 30 January 2014

How to Make it Through a Law Degree

Are you a student at university? Do you study law? Do you regret all the life choices that led to that decision? Here's a guide to help you stay sane when all the cases about some guy getting pissy because he had a fight with his son and now he wants to renege on a deal where he said his son would inherit his farmland because he's petty like that and oh the daughter doesn't even come into it because why bother giving farmland to her when she'll just marry some guy who will make her farm HIS land if you get what I'm saying so there's this whole pointless expensive legal battle where no-one gets what they want and the law isn't even clarified so what I'm saying is just don't piss off your dad because he will mess up your shit make you contemplate throwing yourself out of a window.

1) Don't study law - if you are still young and considering all the options life has to give you - don't do law. You may think it's a really good idea, and oh yes, the salary is appealing, but no. Don't do it. It's not worth it. Nothing is worth it. And honestly, less than 20% of people who graduate with a law degree end up going into the legal field. Even fewer people actually qualify to become barristers or solicitors. The ones that do probably end up taking thirty years off their life due to the stress, and also dealing with insufferable people who ironically MAKE YOU WANT TO COMMIT CRIMES SO THEY WOULD SHUT THE HELL UP. And why do you want to study law anyway? Let me tell you, when you have to read cases about people who rip their own legs open, defecate on the wound and then stick TWO faucets up their anus and refuse to have them removed because they're afraid of needles, you really start getting tired of this shit. However, if you like so many before you, are in too deep and have already made the mistake of picking the damn subject as a degree, move on to step two.

2) Use your degree as an excuse for everything - so it's too late for you. You're already studying this godforsaken, good-for-nothing subject. But never fear. You may be stuck learning the difference between registered and unregistered land, but at least you don't have to do any of that other shit you don't want to do; your degree will come in handy in providing you with reasons to ignore people who for some reason want you in their life. Here are some examples:

Your friend: Hey, you wanna come watch my saxophone rehearsal?
You: Nah, sorry mate, gotta study for my law degree.

Your mum: Could you take out the bins? You haven't moved from that seat all day!
You: Nah, sorry Mum, need to work on this essay for my law degree.

Your boss: You can't just waltz in four hours later, what the hell have you been doing?
You: Sorry, sir, been doing stuff - for my law degree.

Bartender: I think you should slow down -
You: I'm doing a law degree.

Shopkeeper: Why are you paying in Monopoly money?
You: Law degree.

Landlord: You're not getting your deposit back.
You: Actually, I'm doing a law degree and -
Landord: Get off my property.

So I guess it doesn't work on everyone.

3) Don't do any work until the night before - "What?" I hear you ask. "Nonsense!" I hear you say. But realistically, if you're this far in the post and haven't clicked off to find some actual useful advice, then you probably don't give a shit anymore. And that, my friend, is the key to all of life's problems. Doing essays the night before they are due in is vital to surviving a law degree, because a) if you care so little about the work, you're less likely to be a ball of terrified screaming mess whose life will be over if they don't get a 2:1, b) yay more free time to spend eating snacks and watching TV, and c) every lawyer needs to be able to bullshit their way through a problem so if you do fail the essay, you can always practise your bullshitting skills by coming up with some sob story (feel free to consult any X Factor episode ever) to tell your tutor to convince them to give you a passing mark and/or a re-mark/second chance at the essay. If this doesn't work, resort to blackmail. You'll most likely have learnt how to get away with it in your criminal law module. Unless you spent your criminal law module studying necrophilia and bestiality which YES I DID ACTUALLY AND WHAT AN INSIGHT INTO HUMANITY THAT WAS.

4) Piss and moan endlessly about your degree to get people to feel sorry for you - this works a little like step two, except you might get sympathy and/or free stuff out of it, if used correctly. Examples:

Family at breakfast:
Dad: So, how's uni going?
You: Oh, God. It's so hard! I just don't know if I'm gonna make it and everyone is better than me and I NEVER understand the lectures and I just feel like crying and I'm not eating enough and I feel like I've made the worst mistake. If only something good would happen!
Dad: you want the last hash brown?
You: Yep.

Friends at the cinema:
Friend: So, what film do you want to watch?
You: Nothing with law in it. I feel like law is ruining my life! I'm so stupid and everyone knows all this legal jargon even though I'm in the library all day and I can't even enjoy a night out with friends without it coming back to haunt me.
Friend: Aw, it's okay! Do you want me to buy you popcorn?
You: Yep.

At the pool/beach:
Random guy/girl/manatee hitting on you: So, I hear you do a law degree?
You: (burst into hysterical tears)
Guy/girl/manatee: Er,! Will ice-cream make you feel better?
You: Yep.

On a yellow line:
Warden: Ticket for you!
You: I was parked there for TWO minutes, I was literally across the street and I've had such a bad day, I'm failing my degree, I don't understand anything about EU law, can't you just let me off for today -
Warden: I spend my days ticketing cars dressed like a prick, does it look like I give a shit?
You: ...

So, like step two, it doesn't work on everyone.

5) Don't bother going to a single campus/careers organised event - seriously though. Your careers advisers will be like "they're SO useful" and "you just must go to the Law Fair!" and "you can put it on your CV!" but it's all lies. Try putting this crap on your CV and you'll struggle to describe it as anything other than "useless event that taught me nothing". University organised events are mostly just bullshit about "commercial awareness" that by this stage in your degree you will already have heard way too much about and the only thing they're good for is taking the free pens and sticky tabs that are occasionally laid out if someone has come to visit to give a talk. No joke. When you hear the exact same presentation THREE times at three "different" events, you know it's time to give this shit up, and walk out of there with your bag full of stolen stationery and your head held high.

6) Try and make your life resemble Elle's from Legally Blonde (but not Legally Blonde 2. Dear God, not Legally Blonde 2) - because this is the only way you might actually think your degree is worth anything. Search for guys named Warner and Emmett. Start calling your best friend Vivian if you have to. Go to a nail salon and teach people the "bend and snap". Help a friend regain custody of their dog from their douche ex-boyfriend. Better yet, make your life like Legally Blonde the Musical - because then you can burst into song. And if you haven't seen Legally Blonde, for God's sake, what are you doing with your life?

7) Never, and I mean never, talk to that kid who always wears suits - to every lecture and every tutorial and around campus buying bloody toilet paper from the student union shop. Don't trust that kid. For what reason does a student have to wear suits ALL THE TIME? I get at a job and interviews and the Law Fair but seriously. That kid probably sleeps in that suit. And takes it to the cinema and out to dinner. You just know that kid is obsessed with law. Posters of gravels likely hang in their room, with forty copies of The Lawyer being used as a coffee table. Unless you want to be bored to death by the implications of some law shit on some other law related shit, avoid this person at all costs.

8) Watch countless episodes of Suits and Law & Order - then laugh hysterically at the way the legal profession is portrayed and get off on the fact that hundreds more people will be fooled into doing law degrees so you won't be alone in your pain and suffering because TV shows like these make law seem so fun and interesting when really you're this close to grabbing your bag full of useless textbooks and magazines and burning it all in the middle of a lecture about negligence claims.

9) Make a back-up plan - obviously you're not getting into the legal field, so decide on what other career path you might take. Don't bother emailing tutors or lecturers because they will try to convince you to stay with the torturous subject that is ruining your life. Spend hours on the internet agonising over what to do before finally deciding that the job of chocolate tasting in a chocolate factory is for you.

10) Screw the legal system and become a vigilante - because we all know the law is as complicated as a Tim Burton movie and no-one really knows what they're doing anyway. Decide on a costume (no capes) and a name - the more cliché, the better - and go out into the night and take the law into your own hands. Those criminals will never see The Vengeful Night/Phoenix Rising/Knight of Justice/I Don't Know About You But I'm Feeling 22/insert other ridiculous name coming.

If all else fails, at least rejoice in the fact that thousands of people across the country are in the same position, and not a single one of them is enjoying this diabolical degree either.

(Except that kid in the suit.)


  1. This was hilarious , Liz!! If law really doesn't work out, i suggest a career in writing comedy xD Hang in there, sweetie!!

  2. I feel you on the same presentation multiple times at an event. Oh man.

  3. haha!! I say you should become a vigilante! This was hilarious! It's never as easy as it seems when finding what you want to do with your life. :(

    P.S. I wanted to correct a spelling mistake and had no idea how to do it. So I deleted it and now it shows that I did but I promise I just wanted to correct my spelling. I'm new to all this so it's a learning process haha.


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