Tomi studied part-time for a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with The Open University Law School from 2014 to 2020. As he nears the end of his football career, he is looking to begin a new career in the legal profession.
“Back in 2005 the football team I was playing for went into administration. A lot of people lost their jobs and the whole organisation went through a reshuffle. Though it was a sad season for a lot of people, myself included, I found it fascinating how other businesses and industries were impacted. It was the first time I had really seen a lawyer in action. I got to witness first-hand the important and often underappreciated role lawyers play in the day to day lives of business and people. From that point on I had a passion to practice law.
“It wasn’t until 2014 when I stumbled upon The Open University that I thought it could be a reality. I chose to study part-time as my current job has me travelling throughout Europe and North America, so it was the best option for me.
“It had been over 10 years since I had been in school and so I was extremely nervous about starting. The first year was the most challenging. Getting back into the routine of setting aside study time, writing essays and revising for exams took some getting used to.
“Overall, the module content was very stimulating and had good interactive elements to it. My favourite experience was definitely my last year in the Law School, where I was able to spend time volunteering in the Open Justice Law Clinic. This was incredibly fulfilling, and it gave me the practical experience I had been craving since I started the degree.
“In 2017, my dad suffered from pancreatic cancer. Thankfully he made a full recovery and is doing well, but I found it challenging to focus on anything but his health during that time. It was hard being away from home and I often felt guilty not physically being there to support him and my mother.
“Although it was not always smooth sailing, I am grateful for the flexibility the OU provides. It allowed me to pursue my childhood passion of becoming a professional footballer while at the same time gaining a degree.
“I am still playing football in North America for FC Edmonton now but, as I am coming to the tail end of my career, I am looking to start a new career as a legal professional.
“I still volunteer with the Open Justice Law Clinic and have recently been appointed to the board of governors for the Professional Footballers Association Canada, an organisation that represents Canadian and international athletes around the globe.
“Aside from my legal knowledge improving, completing the law degree has given me the confidence to take on complex matters, whether law-related or not. A lot of the processes used to solve legal issues are applicable to many other situations and allow you to efficiently reach desirable outcomes.
“To anyone who is on the fence about going back to school or continuing their studies, I would highly recommend doing so. Education is not solely about learning new information – you also get the chance to sharpen skills that you use on a daily basis. You will be pleasantly surprised by the skills you never knew you had!”