Balancing a law degree with a new baby
Student spotlight | Olivia Guest
In this blog, inspirational young mother of one Olivia Guest explains how she balanced a new baby with a law degree at Leeds Beckett University.
Course: LLB (Hons) Law
I was so pleased to get a place on the LLB Law degree at Leeds Beckett in September 2020. I’d really enjoyed studying law at college, and after getting good grades at A-level, I decided I’d like to continue learning about it at university. I loved Leeds Beckett and the atmosphere when I came to visit on an open day, and I loved how practical the course was. I looked forward to giving real people legal advice as part of a module called the Law Clinic. It was easily my first choice.
“I was loving my first year at university; I’d made some good friends and I was living in student accommodation. Then unexpectedly in April 2021, towards the end of my first year, I found out I was pregnant at the age of 20. I was terrified!
“But with the incredible support from my partner, parents and university, I moved back in with my mum and dad. I spoke to my academic adviser as I didn’t know what to do about my degree. They were so helpful and advised me to take a gap year for reasons of maternity leave. I can’t thank Leeds Law School enough for how supportive they’ve been throughout.”
“I welcomed my son Freddie in December 2021 and went back to uni in September 2022, when he was nine months old. In between, we bought our first house.
“He’s in nursery three days a week and my family help out a lot. I’m on campus three days a week and whilst it’s a massive juggling act, it helps to be really organised. In gaps between seminars, I study hard and make sure my days at university are jam-packed. It’s all good preparation for being a solicitor or lawyer!
“When I’m at home with Freddie, I want to be as present as possible, so it’s really important to find that balance. I’m now getting ready for my third year, and will be completing a placement in a solicitors firm this summer. I’m hoping to study the LPC course at Leeds Beckett once I’ve completed my undergraduate degree as I want to be a solicitor, so I’m currently seeking experience and contacts to get a head start.”
“My pregnancy wasn’t planned and I certainly didn’t expect it in my first year at university, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I was so scared of making the wrong decisions, but you’ve just got to trust yourself and take all the support you can, don’t be shy in asking.
“Leeds Beckett helped me to apply for a childcare grant and parent’s learning allowance, which covers some of Freddie’s childcare so that’s helped financially and allowed me more valuable time at university.”
“All my module leaders have been amazing. They are really supportive and I’ve never once felt on the back foot because of my gap year or balancing my studies with being a mum to Freddie.
“Being a young mum has given me superpowers I never knew I had. I’m more motivated now than ever, and I’m determined to complete my degree and become the best solicitor I can be for my son. It’s all for Freddie now.”