Why I, a seasoned personal assistant on the threshold of turning thirty, chose to study a Law degree in the height of a pandemic whilst planning a wedding.
The old adage that milestone birthdays prompt us to evaluate our current circumstances is slightly more factual than your friends telling you you’re having a midlife crisis. Apparently, it is so common there is a nick name for people like me who have made life changing decisions that may seem impulsive from the outside, they call us “9-enders”. Those of us aged 29, 39, 49 or 59 are considerably more likely to reflect on life situations and decide to make big changes.
It was July 2020 and the Big C (COVID-19) had already forced a lot of us to self-reflect, mainly because there was nothing much else to do other than order pointless items from Amazon - hello sequin Nicholas Cage cushion.
It also provided most of us with an unexpected yet retrospectively welcomed break from the rat race. Wake up, work, eat, sleep repeat. Trading five days of hard work for two days of peace.
My Mother, and everyone else that has known me a number of years, have always told me that I have a wild imagination. My Year 1 teacher, Mrs Jamison would love to say “Oh, Robyn left her thinking brain in her other shoes again”. She said this because most of the time I was staring out the window day dreaming or doodling on my paper instead of practicing my spelling or writing. From an early age I have been able to create in my mind whole universes of imagination to think and write about.
The law, being a lawyer or a court official is a career associated with being conservative and austere. My decision to pursue such a life was born from quite the opposite, wild daydreaming and ‘what-ifs’ with friends.
I have worked in one administrative role or another my entire career from receptionist to payroll assistant to secretary, and I knew I was not fulfilling my potential, I wasn’t sharing with the world what I had to offer, and I owed it to myself to try and shine.
It took being made redundant during a pandemic for the realisation to hit me in the face. A fleeting conversation with friends on zoom struck the conversation of ‘what would I do next?’. I joked with my friends that those with ‘more important’ jobs aren’t so easy to be made redundant, also the desire to make you redundant doesn’t exist because you are an essential element of your business. My wild imagination instantly travelled to apocalypse type scenarios with end of the world by alien invasion happenings, who would the human race send for to keep alive in the bunkers? The VIP’s, the politicians, the law makers. For when a new world would emerge there needed to be individuals from the old world qualified to govern this one.
And so, the seed to enter into a legal profession was sewn. I have nine GCSE’s A-C but no A-Levels and I never attempted a brick University at the time when all my friends were, so I thought I would have to pass my A-Levels first or at least sit an entry exam. To my pleasure I didn’t have to do anything except have the courage to sign up. Before I could talk myself out of it, I was enrolled on to Bachelor of Law and on my way to finally earning a degree. Something that had always been a personal goal to obtain, but the older I became the less certain I was of how I was going to do so.
If my own experiences that lead me here, studying my dream subject, has taught me anything, it is that there is not only one path to your dreams. Life is not designed to be streamlined and we were not all created differently just to live life exactly the same as one another.
We must create our own experiences, overcome our own obstacles and revel in the glory we have personally achieved.
My studies so far have shown me a world of inclusivity and comradery that I have not previously experienced in my twenty nine years of life. My tutors have offered immeasurable help with assignments, the online community of tutorials and forums have provided much needed guidance in my times of need. But most of all my fellow Open University students, all of whom are in the same back-to-school frenzy as myself, have been a life line of continued support and motivation I did not expect, drip feeding me positivity when it’s the twelfth hour and our assignment due date is looming, also picking each other back up when the scores are released and they aren’t what you were hoping for.
There is not an iota of doubt in my mind that I have made the best decision for my life when I signed up to The Open University, albeit as a ‘9-ender’. But I now enter my first year of my thirties at peace knowing that when I am next a ‘9-ender’ again, I would have been working in my chosen industry for several years and on my way to securing a position in that bunker if the day ever comes.
Robyn Boreham, 29, from Essex is studying a Bachelor of Law degree. After ten years working in an un-fulfilling job, paired with the sudden pandemic, her motivation was ignited to attempt her goal of having a meaningful career in the Law industry.
Robyn has completed her first year, W101 and cannot wait to sink her teeth into the next module in October ’22.