Year 1, conquered.
One of the highlights of my easter break was a day planned by the university for its scholars. The day started off with us getting on a coach to London, after which we caught a theatre performance titled ‘old fools’, and then we proceeded onto the main part of the day - a networking session in The Shard. It was an amazing opportunity to interact with professionals from different industries whilst simultaneously being able to soak in the novelty of the experience myself, as I had personally never been to the Shard before or caught a theatre performance in that particular space or by that company. So I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and revelled in it. Aside from that, I also spent a day in London visiting firms such as Slaughter & May, listening to talks held by their senior lawyers broaching upon the various niches of their practise, and via these events I got to deepen my understanding regarding the different career options available and which of them could potentially be of interest to me.
Knowing term three was going be incredibly stressful given the exam crunch, I took a week long getaway right before term started to Paris and Belgium with an old friend. It was a short but intensely memorable trip, and some of the things I managed to do was seeing the Eiffel towel, spending a day in Disneyland and walking through the famed les catacombs.
After spending a week in Paris, we spent the weekend in Belgium and although I was only in Brussels for 2 days, it was more than enough to experience the sweeter side of the country. Belgium’s main attractions lies in its dessert industry and we just spent the weekend relishing in the desserts available. They are also known for their mussels and fries!
The plethora of Belgium waffles available at the corner of almost every street.
Coming back to campus after my week long break, I was rejuvenated for the long term ahead. In term 3, I only had lessons for the first few weeks and subsequently my days were completely freed up for studying. One of the main challenge I faced was studying throughout the Ramadan period, as fasting in the UK lasts for up to 19 hours due to the long summer days. To counter this, as I did not have any lessons and had all the hours in the day to myself, I switched my sleeping schedule around such that I was sleeping in the days and working through the nights and mornings. Being someone who is typically more productive at night anyhow, this worked to my advantage and allowed me to escape being sluggish whilst studying. It also helped that the library was open 24/7, and it quickly became the place I spent most of my time in term 3. Some things that really got me through this exam season were my group of friends, as we formed a study group and accompanied each other throughout. It also made it easy for us to bounce questions off each other and clarify our doubts between ourselves and make the learning more engaging. Aside from helping each other in terms of the content, it was also nice having a group of friends to take refreshing breaks with and to enjoy the summer sun, after many months of frosty gloom. Constant studying makes it easy to feel down and burnt out so I found it really important to find comfort in my support system. We would have picnics and bask in the sun during our lunch breaks, and these moments quickly became my most anticipated times of the day.
We also celebrated one of my friend's birthday in the peak of studying - we were all going slightly stir crazy and we needed a good break and so we jumped at the opportunity to celebrate my friend's birthday. She didn't want to do anything, understanding that it was the exam season and we were all busy but we planned a surprise nonetheless and it was amazing to just come together and have a good laugh and stress relief. In moments like these, I am reminded and am truly grateful that I've built such a strong and loving support system here for myself.
One of the scholarship related events I attended in term 3 was a goodbye dinner for the academic year where Chandra, Iffah and I got to catch up amongst each other, interact with other scholars and even some fundraisers and it was a great way to tie everything up for the year. It was heartwarming to hear the finalists broach upon their university experience and it was also motivational and reminded me to push myself to the best of my abilities so that I can maximise the opportunities available to me across these few years.
As a whole, whilst writing this entry in the comforts of my home in Singapore, it is quite incredible to think of the journey the past year has taken me. I don't think its possible for me to imagine how I would have turned out otherwise, given the experiences of the past year have now formed such an integral aspect in my sense of self. With that said, I am basking in the experience university has afforded me, and while I have looked forward to getting some rest and meeting my friends and family in Singapore, I am also very much excited to return to the UK to restart the year afresh and make more memories.