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Christina Hallam

Christina Hallam

Christina Hallam had a burning desire to study law since her school days but was discouraged by her teachers. When her own children were at university, she decided to bite the bullet and study while working as a GP. Towards the end of her studies, she was diagnosed with cancer but that did not stop her being named as Bachelor of Laws (Honours) LLB Student of the Year in the Student and Alumni Awards 2019-20.

“I'd always wanted to study law but at school, my teachers all told me I was no good at writing essays. They said I wouldn’t be able to succeed in the sort of A-Level subjects that I would need to do law. So I studied science subjects and went on to do medicine at university and became a GP.

“When my children grew up and I had more time, I decided to investigate the possibility of studying law with the OU, as this route would allow me to study while still working. The OU doesn’t require you to have any particular qualifications before starting and this open access policy was helpful to me.

“Initially, I was very anxious that I wouldn’t be able cope with the work. I spent hours and hours on my first essay and was so pleased when I received a good mark, as it meant I was able to write an essay! I also worried about managing to keep up with the work in terms of time and fitting it around my career but the way it’s divided into weekly tasks actually made it quite easy. I really enjoyed day school and meeting other students, too.

“I work as a single-handed GP in Shetland so I haven’t gone into law but I am now able to read an article and quickly extract the salient points. My legal knowledge has also proved useful in understanding the legislation applicable to medicine, a lot of which changed for me when I moved from England to Scotland.

“If you’re considering studying with the OU Law School, I’d say to definitely do it. There’s a lot of support and guidance available to you. The OU ethos is about helping people to ensure they succeed.

“My tutors were very helpful and, as tutorials and day schools are available online, it’s quite easy to fit it in with other commitments. I found my OU degree a very positive experience and it gave me a huge sense of achievement. I would also say that the OU is for everyone, regardless of age.

“I was studying for a degree at the same time as two of my children and it felt very strange to be comparing experiences and discussing exam stress and the anguish of waiting for results with both of them.

“However, it was actually one of the biggest benefits of OU study for me – in that it allowed me to be a good role model for my children. I was able to show them the value of studying and working hard. I was also better placed to understand what they were going through and to provide better advice and support to them during their studies.

“My study wasn’t without its challenges. It was difficult fitting in studies when there were unexpected demands on my time, such as having to work extra hours at short notice or being unwell. I was diagnosed with cancer just before finishing my studies and finding the motivation to complete my final assessment was difficult. I never wanted to submit a piece of work that wasn't the best I could make it, so that was tricky, but I was so relieved to get that final essay in.

“I was amazed and delighted when I discovered I had been named as Bachelor of Laws (Honours) LLB Student of the Year in the Student and Alumni Awards 2019-20. I was so glad that I had finally decided to study law and had proved to myself that I was capable of doing it.”