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Arden University Law Degree graduate Richard Wing


I would recommend Arden University to anyone and I could not have achieved my results without the brilliant support I had from all my tutors. I understand that online learning is not for everyone and you really do need to be motivated, determined and very resilient if you want to do well. However, it is definitely within your grasp if you really want to change your life and do something different.

Studying at Arden: New Beginnings

"So, you’re considering making the monumental decision to start studying a degree course. For many Arden students, like me, this may not be at the early stages of your life. You may already have a full-time job, a family, a mortgage and a dog to walk in the mornings!"
 

The Reality of a New Beginning

"When the excitement of starting a new phase in your life has worn off a little, you are left with the day-to-day reality that study is not easy, and it can be difficult to fit this in around your daily routine. 

I hope to provide you with an insight into how I managed to get through 3 years of my Law degree - studying on a full-time basis, whilst working full-time at a law firm, and for nearly two years of this time also undertaking my training contract. 

I started my Law degree with the intention of trying to complete it in 4 years, whilst still running my own business with my wife. I quickly realised that if I was to maximise my chance of getting a training contract and becoming a solicitor in England and Wales, then I would need to gain some legal experience. 

Luckily, upon opening the local newspaper one Saturday I noticed a job advert for a receptionist/legal secretary to cover maternity leave for 6 months. I thought that this would be a great opportunity for me to gain some valuable legal experience and so I applied for the position. 

I was offered an interview and decided that it would be best to admit to the partner who interviewed me my situation and intentions and explain to her why I wanted the job. To my surprise, she thought I would be a great addition to the firm and offered me the job. 

I can categorically state that if I had not applied for this job I would not be in the position I am in now. It was not easy for me, as in many respects it was a real backwards step. However, I worked hard and asked lots of questions and my responsibilities quickly increased, and I started doing more paralegal work for the litigation partner within the firm
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Adapting your Routine

"I realised after about 3 months’ working in the firm and once I had started year 2 of my Law degree, that I needed to be very smart with my studies, so that my work did not impact my degree and vice versa. To this end, I devised a very strict schedule of study.

This involved me getting up at 6am every week day and studying between 6am and 7am before work. This was difficult at first, but I quickly realised that this was some of the most productive study time for me, as I had no distractions from my family and it was very quiet.

My evening schedule involved finishing work at 5pm and then having a 1-hour break when I would usually go for a run. I would then try and start my evening study by 6pm and work through until 8pm or 8:30pm. I would stick to this religiously and would very rarely have an evening off, as I always felt that if I missed 2 hours one night I would only have to make it up on another day." 

 


I would try and have at least one weekend day without any study and sometimes I would not study at all at weekends. This was vital for me, so that I felt I still could spend time with my family and friends, and it gave me a nice break every week and stopped me feeling over-awed.



"I definitely feel that the degree results I achieved in year two and three would not have been as good if I had not been working at a law firm. It really helped to be able to apply what I had learnt and see the practical aspects of law and how it is approached on a commercial basis."
 

Starting to See Results

"Halfway through my 2nd year and after 6 months of working at the law firm, I was approached by the managing partner and offered a full-time job. They also asked if I would like a training contract at the firm. I cannot explain to you how this felt. It was literally surreal, and I couldn’t believe that they would offer me a training contract so soon!

This was the single biggest reason to keep motivated to study every morning and night after work, as I felt that I had a goal and that I had a good chance of becoming a solicitor at the end of it all.

I found out that if you are studying a Law degree and working at a law firm you can carry out your training contract in parallel, if your firm is agreeable. I asked my firm if they would let me do this and so in September 2017 I started my training contract. This meant I had the end of year 2 and all of year 3 of my degree still to go. 

This was definitely the hardest 16 months of my studies and I have never worked so hard! My training contract was brilliant, but it left me feeling extremely tired in the evenings and it was very hard to come home from work and start complex legal study, when all I wanted to do was slump on the sofa and watch TV! However, I knew it was only for a short period and that it would be worth it in the end
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The End in Sight

"I will never forget the day I uploaded my dissertation in January 2019. It felt amazing and it was such a relief that I had managed to complete the degree in 3 years, whilst working full-time."
 


I can honestly say that studying my Law degree at Arden has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. However, it has also been the most exciting and the most life-changing thing I could ever have done, and I am so glad I took the plunge and made the decision to change my life.



"When I received my results and I was told I had managed to get a First, it almost seemed unbelievable. But I knew that I had worked as hard as I possibly could have done for 3 years and that I had been through a real emotional roller-coaster to get there.

I would recommend Arden University to anyone and I could not have achieved my results without the brilliant support I had from all my tutors. I understand that online learning is not for everyone and you really do need to be motivated, determined and very resilient if you want to do well. However, it is definitely within your grasp if you really want to change your life and do something different. 

The great thing about online learning is that it allowed me to fit study in around my life and allowed me to stay working and earning money. I would not have been able to attend a traditional university, so this really has been the best thing for me given my circumstances. 

I know it is a terrible cliché, but I honestly think life is too short for ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. If you want to make a change, you have to be the one that does it. The great thing for me is that Arden helped me to get there!

No one knows what’s going to happen in the future, but hopefully, I should be fully-qualified as a solicitor by August 2020, assuming that I pass my Legal Practice Course, which I am due to start in September this year. 

If anyone is reading this and wondering whether they would like to take the plunge and study a degree online with Arden, I would whole-heartedly say go for it!"


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