My multi-hyphenate road to the LPC
I’m Gabriela, an LPC student, a third sector and legal sector employee, a trained independent mental health and mental capacity advocate and a BA and LLM graduate. I am an avid reader and audiobook listener, a chocolate lover and someone who binge watches dramas. I was, and still consider myself a Carer. I am a procrastinator and a Medical School dropout. I am ambitious, I am a settled ‘White-other’ and I speak five languages, with varying degrees of fluency.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to the PgDip Legal Practice Course
Have I always been interested in law? Not at all. In fact, there are two things I should explain. Firstly, growing up I wanted to become a doctor. I wanted to help my grandma who had a physical impairment. She experienced barriers which, as a child, I couldn't fully understand, nor can I claim to understand now. I was in Medical School when my grandma passed away. That was one in a series of unfortunate events which coincided with my decision to stop my medical studies.
Secondly, I studied English as a third language. As a teenager, I took extra English language lessons to catch up with my peers, who were already bilingual. I learned about the rich and diverse English culture and the seed was planted. I knew that I wanted to move to this country. I stopped my clinical studies and came to Leeds. I was drawn to law during my degree, so I went on to study a conversion course and I was hooked. Having worked in the third sector as an independent advocate, empowering people to create change and promoting social inclusion, I knew I wanted to take it a step further and study the LPC.
What made you choose Leeds Beckett University?
Having studied a Qualifying Law Degree at Leeds Beckett, I was impressed by the academic and pastoral support provided by my tutors. I studied the LLM qualifying law degree part time, now called the LLM Laws of England and Wales, whilst struggling with certain issues at work and in my personal life. Things came to a head around the time I was writing my dissertation when I was also dealing with some family issues, and a physical health scare, their cumulative effect on my mental wellbeing and overall burnout.
Asking for help is not something that comes naturally to me. Having noticed that something was amiss, a few of my tutors proactively engaged with me. They effectively advocated and spoke up for me at a time when I was unable to. They supported me in asking for an extension for my dissertation, which gave me the space to deal with the more immediate issues. Thanks to their support, I was able to obtain a first in my dissertation. I therefore had no trouble deciding where I wanted to study the LPC.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your studies?
As we all know, the pandemic has had a strong impact on service delivery and particularly on teaching. I believe that my tutors have adapted brilliantly to the blended model of teaching. They have been very flexible and accommodating to mine and my peers’ needs. They have made themselves available at weekends and out of hours and went above and beyond to make sure we felt supported during this time of, let’s face it, uncertainty. All of this while dealing with other issues that came out of the pandemic, such as caring responsibilities, home schooling etc. For me, this is something that stands out. The level of care and compassion demonstrated by the tutors is to me more valuable than any information I learned during the course. And I think I learnt a lot already.
What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?
I think that getting to this point is a journey, regardless of the path. You might have studied a law degree and went on to study the LPC straightaway, you might have studied a conversion course, or you might have worked for a while. You might have a training contract, or you may not. In a world where we see mainly the achievements and positive aspects of other people’s lives portrayed across social media it can be easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and want those perfect lives.
Choosing to study this course means challenging yourself, it means meeting like-minded people and it means that you’re one step closer towards that dream. Whatever the dream is. I think it’s ok to know what you want to do. I think it’s equally ok to not know what you want to do. I’m still not sure what I want to do when I grow up. But that’s ok. I learnt to be open and embrace the opportunities that come my way. Who knows, this might work for you too.