‘The University of Derby has widened my aspirations and my goals’ – Maria Hanif on My Law Experience (so far..)

Second year Law student Maria Hanif talks of her experience as a BAME student who is first generation to go to University. She discusses the lessons she has learned so far and how her aspirations have developed since beginning her degree.

I am a BAME student who is also the first generation in the family to go to University. This brings a lot of complications in the line of work and becoming successful. Law is a prestigious degree which is well respected and makes an individual independent and feel valued in society. People want to come to you and ask you for help. That is the best feeling in the world when you can help someone else out and they are happy with your services. I have always wanted to go into this field from a young age. I did work experience at Flint Bishop Solicitors and that was a great opportunity to give me a reason to pursue this career path.

I have wanted to do criminal law due to the cases I have heard of in the news. However, the University of Derby has widened my aspirations and my goals. I have studied different aspects of Law and being in my 2nd year has made me re-think my options. I want to now become a Commercial (Real Estate) Barrister. I have heard many academics talk about “the Bar” and it is daunting to not see many BAME Barristers compared to White Barristers. Despite the talks about the road to becoming a Barrister, I am still planning to do my BPTC and pursuing my career in Law. I am so happy to have got the chance to do this wonderful degree and I want to excel further.

Some useful tips I have picked up on the way;

  1. Never loose track on your studies.
  2. Never compare yourself to others. Do what makes you feel happy, not what others are doing.
  3. Get as much work experience you can when opportunities are given to you by the lecturers. Do not hesitate to ask if you need more clarity on what has been provided.
  4. Stay true to yourself.
  5. Never feel that you have to always be on top. If you have bad days, it is ok to feel like that, but try not to let it control you and your day.
  6. Do not let others distract you on your path of success. This does no mean not having fun but set yourself a limit, so you know self-restraint.
  7. NEVER GIVE UP!! – No matter how hard you find it, always find new ways to solve the problems as it is worth the struggle in the end.

This is what I have learnt by being a student at the University of Derby. I am BAME and proud.