One of my readers from Nairobi Kenya, sent in this lovely piece on her experience as an aspiring lawyer. So it’s Vicky live from Nairobi!
As I was growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a lawyer. My only knowledge about what lawyers did was that they defended people; sort of a human rights advocacy. I was privilege enough not to have diverted my mind from the career path I wanted to pursue and stuck on studying law.
Getting into campus to study law was one kind of a long, bookworm adventure that I was embarking on. Ooops! How excited my family was that they had at least an upcoming young lawyer. They were sorted, if that’s a better way to put it. You know how it is once one gets into a mess and the next thing they do is to give you a phone call, yeah! That’s how they were sorted.
Well, for all lawyers out there we all know that going to law school is one thing and graduating is another. Honestly as a freshman in college, I had no clue what being a law student entailed. It was therefore a rude shock, as it was all about books and the library. The many hours one spends in the library doing research, preparing for exams and attending daily classes. Well, it was one’s cup of tea. You know law is wide and the books just never end.
There were times I just could not keep up with “what was up”, I had no choice, which made it even more painful. I even lost friends because they could not understand why I could not hang out with them always. Well, I had to keep up on my game, I had a family that was looking up to me not to mention the many friends who knew I was studying law. I could not afford to disappoint them and not to mention myself.
So I said first things first and sure enough I graduated with a fairly good grade that I am proud of. “Am I allowed to praise myself?” Please let me do so… “Ahem! You did pretty good gal …” In my head am like “go go go gal …”
Am always fascinated every time I go to the village or anywhere I meet with non-lawyers. I would get all sorts of questions and everyone was seeking an answer that would be in their favour. They would look up to you like a small god, albeit with that awe of “so this young girl studied law”. Some questions that were posed to me were sometime hilarious but I just could not dare show my emotions.
In fact, that was the best time to practice what my professors had told me. I was a professional so I had to act like one even if I could not act 100% like one, but at least I can uphold my status as a young lawyer.
I admit that studying law as young lady was not easy and that doing so in an especially male dominated field was not of much help either. As a young lady lawyer, I look up to women who have made it in the profession. When I read their story, I am persuaded to keep on moving forward. The sleepless nights and grade frustrations are just for a short time.
‘If you are not tired you are not doing it right”. Well I don’t know how true this is but I tend to agree partly with it. What I get from it is simply put in this two words “hard-work pays” or as people would like to put it these days “work smart”.
Let me boldly say that if I had not studied law there was nothing else I could have studied. For any of young brilliant mind pursuing law, I would tell you go for it even if you are scared. As Muhammad Ali puts it, “if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” Judy Garland says “be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else”. So go conquer the world.
Victoria Wahu is a Kenyan based Graduate of Law currently at the Kenyan School of Law, Nairobi in preparation for her admission to the Kenyan Bar. She could be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postscript: Contributions are welcomed from other readers of the blog on their experience as either lawyers, law students or other members of the society on their experiences with or views about lawyers. Peace.
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