Why is the BVC like primary school?
24 October 2008
Wow! Its been a crazy first month on the BVC and I have learnt so much already. Its such a change from university. Indeed, its more akin to a sophisticated primary school as its really structured - were told exactly which chapters to read in what books and are being taught by teachers not lecturers.
I feel like I have settled in a lot faster than I expected, although as there are under 50 people on the course its quite intense, and this is another reason why it is like being back at school. There are a fair few nut jobs, and my group seems to have more than its fair share. I guess this is to be expected when there are 50 people who all want to be barristers. There are a lot of very strong characters and so teamwork doesnt always quite go to plan. But the course is supportive and we all help each other, especially practicing our advocacy on each other before class, which is very helpful.
There are loads of pro bono opportunities at BPP, which I was impressed with as I really enjoyed pro bono in university. Ive applied to become director of the Legal Advice Clinic so I hope I get it because it looks interesting, and Im excited by the idea of having to advise on real problems and help real people rather than BPPs fictitious Mrs Tanya Body, the sun-bed owner!
Im the type who has a lot more embarrassing moments than the average person. This hasnt changed since starting on the BVC despite my efforts to act sensibly! The moment that springs to mind was when I decided to listen to music whilst working in the computer cluster. Weve large old-school headphones that I put on to listen to a cheesy song (I wont name it but just trust me on this one) and wondered why the volume seemed quite low. I put the volume up to maximum, and then looked up to see the people surrounding me laughing, only to realise that I had a cringingly cheesy song blurting all over the library on full volume because my headphones werent plugged in! Not one of my finest moments!
A better moment was opening my locker to see a neat pile of books stacked waiting for me that I didnt have to pay for. It felt like Christmas until I had to drag them home in a suitcase (which was rather like clearing up the wrapping paper on Boxing Day especially when I realised I had to actually read them).
During the first week there was a LOT of talk about pupillages. Only three people had one, which was surprising. After a while it got annoying when every break was dominated with conversations about pupillages, so a wise woman made a policy decision not to talk about them during breaks. This was a relief! I have decided to apply during the summer OLPAS season and perhaps to a few non-OLPAS chambers in the mean time. Hopefully Ill undertake a few mini-pupillages in the mean time, which I will keep you updated on.
The most nerve-racking moments so far have been spent in advocacy classes although theyre also the most exciting. Everyone had such different styles, and this goes to show how you dont have to be a particular type of person, or a particular type of speaker to be a good advocate. Were videoed in all advocacy classes, and have provided good entertainment to my housemates no way is that you you look really serious!. Its cringing looking back at them but its a really good way to learn and realise what youre doing wrong; I never realised how much I sway when I speak!
The most surreal few days so far has to be the introductory weekend at Middle Temple. My Inn had a formal meal on Friday night, lectures all day Saturday, a formal meal on Saturday night, and Sunday lunch. I expected a dull and pompous few days, although I was pleasantly impressed. Despite being told we could only speak to people in our mess other than to ask for condiments, and were not allowed to leave to use the bathroom during the meal (something that particularly troubled me!) this was simply not the case. It was an enjoyable weekend, and there was even some African dancing on the Friday night, which was simply surreal and involved a woman doing a headstand and vibrating her body whilst wannabe barristers in suits tried to shake their bums to the floor without splitting their trousers. I had another embarrassing moment when I was dancing away and nudged a girl who had a glass of red wine in her hand. I must have hit a reflex because the glass bounded up towards her face and blinded her eyes with red wine. She then did zombie motions to the edge of the dance floor with her eyes closed and her hands in front of her.so if youre reading this sorry again!
I promised that I would be honest, and so I am telling you that the workload is heavy and it is going to be pretty tough year. However, were applying what weve learnt at university, and it is so much more interesting than learning about theory, and is therefore far more enjoyable.
The BVC is great as long as you completely throw yourself in to it and accept that you will have to work hard. I will let you know next month what it is like after the honeymoon period begins to dwindle (as has already started to happen!), and any progress I have made.
Mood: I cant wait until reading fortnight, and I am completely ignoring the fact that I will have work to do during this time.
Quote of the month: The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph! (Marvin Phillips)