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Learn Your Way: An interview with Emily De Ruyver

Emily de Ruyver recently completed her LPC online with ULaw. She is also a Student Ambassador and enthusiastic about the employability opportunities offered at the University. Here she explains how the Online Campus allowed her to receive a first-class education while living and travelling abroad.

At the time of applying to ULaw, I had just finished my undergraduate degree and was unsure of where I was going to be in the future. As an international student, I was aware of the possibilities of going overseas and so I needed a course that was flexible. Furthermore with Covid-19, I did not want to rely on having to go to a physical campus and classes, even if it seemed that the worst of it had passed.

Another strong reason why I applied to ULaw was because I had read that they already had an Online Campus prior to the pandemic. To me, this meant that ULaw had experience and an established system in place, which was very appealing. I was aware that many universities had difficulty with switching to an online system and wanted to avoid this issue.

I am currently a Student Ambassador for the Online Campus. I found that it was easy to balance my work between my studies, because the Online Campus allowed for me to work around my schedule if necessary – such as if I knew I was busy the next week, I could finish a lot of thee work on the weekend to make up for lost time.

I was concerned that I would be receiving a subpar education compared to those on physical campuses – I had heard that this was an issue with universities moving to an online platform. However, I was quickly proven wrong. We were still given the same work as other students, although some were amended to fit the online platform, and tutors were always readily available – I remember emailing a tutor extensively only a few days before my exam and had all my last-minute questions thoroughly answered. Furthermore, the tutors are incredibly experienced in their fields, and always provided anecdotes on how what we were learning was applied in practice.  It is clear that ULaw does not treat the Online Campus any less than physical campuses, and is of equal level and opportunity.

I treated my studies the same as I would as a job – I created a routine where I worked during the weekday from nine until five. Because there were weekly tasks that I had to be completed, I created a checklist for me to complete by the end of the week. This motivates me as I find that there is something incredibly satisfying about having a filled-out checklist. I really believe that having a routine and therefore treating the course seriously was a big impact on ensuring that I stayed on track.

Naturally, there were days where it felt like I was hitting a wall with my studies. The lucky thing with studying online is that you can take breaks where necessary – sometimes constantly sitting at your desk staring at the laptop just isn’t going to help. Having the ability to walk away and take a break to reset your brain – whether it be through doing housework or going for a walk – really helps to look at your work through a different viewpoint.

As mentioned above, I think it is crucial for students to create a routine for their studies. This should also include having a space, if possible, that is dedicated to your studies only. I find that separating your studies from where you relax can really help get you into the right mindset to study, as you associate your desk (for example) with your work.

Furthermore, an element of studying online is having to discipline yourself. I find that with on-campus studies. There can be a pressure to do work to come across well in workshops. This same pressure is not really replicated at the online campus, so it is necessary for students to hold themselves accountable and make sure that they get all the work done throughout the week. It can be tempting to skip one task and delay it for the next week, but inevitably this can result in a slippery slope. I personally dealt with this with checklists – because if I was then unable to complete a task on time, I had a physical reference of what I had to do. People work in different ways, and so I believe that the key to success on the online campus is knowing what studying method fits you best.

I have extensively used the Employability service. The first time I contacted them was when I was concerned about the electives I chose – I was worried that they maybe would not make sense, as a whole, to an employer. However, the response I received from the Employability Team was much more than I expected – they looked through the two options I was considering, and even mentioned some law firms that worked in those areas. I have had experiences with the teams, such as a video call where I discussed my future career plans, and recently have talked to them about my applications and interview skills. I really believe that the Employability Team have helped me in how I view myself and my career and would encourage anybody to reach out to them if they have any concerns. 

As mentioned previously, I found that treating the course as a nine-five job let me have achieve a study/life balance. This meant that I had time to relax after dinner, which I found could help me unwind before bed. I found that another convenience of the Online Campus is that if you had a big event or plan for one day, you could work around it to make sure that you had the day off and I think that this can also contribute to a healthy balance as long as it is not done too frequently.

The LPC is organised through having three categories within each unit of a module – Prepare / Engage / Consolidate. This split up the various tasks that had to be completed in the unit, which I really enjoyed because it created easy goals for me to work towards in the week. In my checklist, I wrote the module and each unit, under which I would write whether I had completed the prepare/engage/consolidate task for that week. This helped me ensure that I had time to prepare for the next unit, while also ensuring that I reflected upon the most recent unit. 

When it comes to future goals, I am currently aiming to qualify as a solicitor in private client work, looking at areas of law such as wills & probate, immigration, and employment law. I am really interested in working for and representing individuals who might find the law overwhelming; I want to provide help in stressful times.

 

If you wish to study at ULaw’s innovative online campus, you can find out more here.