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    Wednesday
    Jan302013

    « There’s No Law That Says You Can’t Change Paths »

    Having left school in the summer of 2012 and gotten a place at university to study sports medicine, George quickly realized that the course wasn’t for him. He had, however, always wanted to do law.

    George was introduced to Position Ignition by his aunt Alison Finlay, who is a Career Guide with us. George had a conversation with Simon, and between the two of them they decided that the best plan of action for George was to leave the sports medicine course, get home, get sorted out, get applying to law degrees and start out again.

    At a time when George’s family were deeply involved in and concerned about the situation, it was useful for him to have Simon, an outside voice, telling him that not only was it OK to leave the course, but that it was something he needed to do. Simon helped George to realize that he couldn’t dilly dally but instead had to get out and make use of the year.

    Making a Plan

    George then spent a couple of hours with Alison, a marker and a whiteboard, scoping out what to do and defining what his plans were. Together they mapped out a timeline and a plan, with the end point being 15th January, the deadline for handing in UCAS forms.

    Of his work with Simon and Alison, George says,

    “The coaching gave me direction and a structure and I had a better understanding of what I needed to do and how I was going to go about making it happen.  I felt I had a lot more motivation than I would have had otherwise”.

    Committing to the Cause

    When George got in touch with universities about switching courses, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to do that and would have to start from scratch. If he wanted to switch from sports medicine to law, he’d first have to demonstrate commitment to the latter.

    In response to this, George and Alison had another planning session to figure out what to do. They agreed that he would need to secure a position in a law firm by the end of October, in order to get work experience and to demonstrate the necessary dedication to the field.

    George also set about showing his commitment in other ways, such as taking extra circular French classes, attending free law seminars, borrowing law text books from friends and engaging in some quality networking. Through a connection from school, he managed to speak to a friend’s mum, who knew about a legal practice in Glasgow that needed to take on someone as a gopher.

    George joined the law firm and was really well received there. With the help of a contact at the law firm he was introduced to the admissions department at the University of Glasgow. He was interviewed, submitted an L-Nat (Law National Admissions Test), which is a multiple choice verbal reasoning test that is concerned with how you argue your case, and we believe that all of this will secure him a place at University in September.

    Being Beyond Ready

    George has been having weekly check-ins with Alison to keep him on track and motivated. With Alison’s help, George has hit every single target that they set upon together.

    Working in the law firm has given George a real idea of how a legal practice works. If he had gone straight to university he wouldn't be having this experience, which has provided him with a great opportunity for learning and growth. George is motivated by the success of others in the firm. When he does go to university, he will have a clear vision of what he's working towards.

    His experience at the practice has given him a whole new insight into his future career, an insight that he wouldn't have had otherwise. When he starts his law degree, he'll already have the experience of actually being in a lawyer’s environment and will have an idea of the work ethic required to thrive in that environment. In his words,

    “I am much more confident, particularly in a business environment, because I have some working experience under my belt”.

    Raising Expectations 

    When George was initially struggling with whether to leave the sports medicine course, he was thinking that he had spent two years getting into university but now he was finally there, he was possibly going to have to reframe all of that. He was understandably having self-esteem issues but through his own endeavours and the support of Simon and Alison, he has completely turned things around and is now a changed man. He explains,

    “I did not have my sights set so highly before the coaching.  I have raised my own expectations and believe that I can be much more successful in terms of achieving my career dream and goals. I have set my target much higher than I initially thought.  I never thought I had a chance to get into Glasgow University to study law but now I believe there is a real chance of me achieving this.

    “I found the coaching really valuable and am really pleased with what it has helped me to deliver”.

    George’s story tells us that there are no set rules to carving out a career path, no set ways of doing that. What we can all learn from this future lawyer is that there’s no law that says you can’t change paths.