BPP Programme: Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), part time
University & Undergraduate Degree: BSc Sociology / English
I think my story is seen as remarkable because I am a late-40’s, divorced single mother of 2 teenage sons, who works full time, and who has the desire and drive to want to achieve more. My current role, working in an in-house legal team drove me towards wanting to acquire a formal qualification in law. My firm kindly provided the financial backing for my law conversion degree, the GDL.
I am happy for my profile to be used to encourage other single parents (male or female), irrespective of age, to come forward and know that it is possible to study and achieve at BPP around one’s hectic personal life. The flexibility that BPP provides around study is such that I doubt there is any situation that can’t be worked around if one’s desire is strong enough. Although it may be daunting at first, being older than many of the younger students and not having studied for 20 years or more, there are enough ‘veterans’ at BPP to link up with for support, which is invaluable.
The facilities are first rate: societies, nights out, trips etc. The only drawback is trying to fit them into my timetable. The staff generally are easily reachable, and occasionally when I’ve plucked up the courage to ask for clarity around what I fear are basic straightforward questions, by email, I’ve always had a helpful response and I’ve never been made to feel inferior, which was a personal issue I had at first – quickly dispelled. The online lectures have been a Godsend to me, knowing that I can do the majority of my learning at home around my children, and miss nothing of importance. The best part of studying at BPP is the variety of learning styles available. If you’re a reader, then there are the manuals. If you’re a listener, there are the lectures online, on dvd or mp3. If you’re a people person, then there are the lectures in-house and tutorials. If you’re a ‘techy’, then there are e-learning modules to keep you happy. If you want to do one or two evenings a week, or maybe Saturdays, or be a distance learner then the choice is yours.
I will not say it’s been easy, trying to balance it all, but with dedication, planning, and discipline, it is possible to succeed. My advice to others in a similar situation to mine is to plan ahead. Before your course starts, talk to your boss and your family and work out a loose timetable, so that everyone understands that for a relatively short period the routine will change, while you prioritise your time around your studying. Two years may seem like a long time, but I can honestly say that the first year disappeared quite rapidly.
What I’ve learnt on the GDL has been invaluable to my current role. I’ve come along leaps and bounds in my legal on-the-job development, with my confidence levels rising by the week. I think I would like to consider further study at BPP after this course, as I now have the appetite for further legal development, especially since my role at work has increasingly become more interesting and involving.