Once accepted, students in first year are generally not encouraged to think about what happens after graduation, apart from being sent to a few career talks. But once second year comes around, students who have a clear idea about what they want to do with their degree start applying for internships left and right which may be very intimidating for those that are unsure. Undecided students go from having plenty of time to decide straight to missing out within a couple of months.
The reason for this is not only the academic focus of the Cambridge law course as there are numerous career talks and events happening all around you but mainly the fact that the degree only takes 3 years. Despite only earning students a bachelor's degree, students usually go to work right after graduation unlike students in many other countries (including the Czech Republic). As a result of a shorter time spent at university and an intense workload setting a high opportunity cost of attending career talks it is comparatively way more difficult to find one's passion at Cambridge. For example, recently I read an interview with Lynette Nam from the Justice Centre Hong Kong who discovered what she wanted to do in her 4th year of studying Law in Australia when she got to take Refugee and Migration Law. In terms of law in the UK, that would already be two years too late to send out internship applications et cetera.
Additionally, the majority of career information circulated among undergraduates is related to the paths of commercial solicitors and barristers. If one is not tempted by either of these, it becomes very hard to find out about potential alternatives. I have realised what I wanted to do when studying International Law in second year but I imagine if I chose to study International Law in 3rd year, I would, at this point, be still nothing but lost.
Considering all of the above, my advice would be that students should think about career prospects in first year more than they need to and plan their summer between first and second year accordingly. Furthermore, read up on the electives available during the three years and take those that might lead to a career as early as possible. Most of all, just be aware of the consequences of a shorter degree. Good luck!
As I near the end of my undergraduate studies, I would like to dedicate a blog to what has shaped me perhaps the most during my time here - and I'm not referring to the invaluable professors or internships I've written about on this blog, but to life in the Newman House Chaplaincy.
Motivation for Altruism, Helping Professions and Burnout Syndrome
Altruistic behavior is commonly explained as selfless, beneficial, and focused primarily on the good of others.
What Connects the OECD and Mladá Boleslav? or My Experience from an Internship on Economic Migration
Vaccinating at a football stadium
The combination of covid and bachelor's exams is not entirely funny
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