24/07/2011 17:14 BST | Updated 24/07/2011 17:14 BST

The GDL; The Start of Something Big

It's been in the pipeline for a long while, it's taken time, patience, research and sacrifice (by which I mean having to save my money as opposed to spending it), but finally I am just weeks away from starting the Graduate Diploma in Law at a university in the South East, and I can, at last, get my career - or what I have cobbled together so far - back on track.

The last few years have resulted in a lot of job hopping, I've moved from running a bar, to a nightclub to a cookie shop. My jobs have left me utterly bored and unmotivated, but I have stuck with them because I have enjoyed the money, and enjoyed the freedom that a full time job can offer. However, after the status quo in my life ended around a year ago, I sought to embark on a new career - and was certain that law (more specifically, a career as a barrister) is the career I want to pursue.

So here I am, a mere forty two days (as I write this) from day one of my new life, and like many people undertaking the course, or who plan too in the future, it really does feel like a new chapter in my life, one that has not been decided upon lightly, and one on which rests my future employment and financial health: Taking a year out from full time employment, and parting with nearly of £5000 in tuition fees alone out of my own pocket... in a nutshell, I am nervous because I simply cannot afford to balls this up.

I have taken it upon myself to visit the local Crown Court on my days off to see barristers at work, I have been reading as many text books as I can, both en route to, and on my lunch breaks at work, I have also completed a mini-pupillage, which was a huge eye opener and only served to reinforce my determination to make a success of myself in law. I would thoroughly recommend doing one if you can prior to the GDL, just to get that little head start.

I have a lot of questions, as I'm sure many other GDL students have, but I have struggled to find the answers I want, so I will use this opportunity to write about the realities of studying the Graduate Diploma in Law, from the problems financing it, to what it's like to do your first moot, volunteering, turning yourself into a desirable law graduate, to advocacy, to the realities of writing essays and doing research again, so that others may get the answers they want from here.

To end this first post, I'll mention the pre-course reading list I (and many others) have finally been sent; it covers each topic that will be taught on the course and suggests three to four books to read for each, however it states all these books are available in the library so there's little need to buy them - although I'm not sure if I have access to the library yet? However, it does go on to suggest one or two might be worth purchasing, moreover, it gives suggestions on what you should already have a decent understanding of before you start learning - What is a tort? Is there a relationship between criminal law & morality? What are the Three Certainties (Equity and Trusts)?

This does seem useful... Not quite as in depth as perhaps I was hoping for. Having known I was doing this course for some time, I would've appreciated being sent a reading list several months ago and for it to suggest more questions to focus on, but now I have it, the reality that I'm leaving the safety of my job for this course is setting in, and it is nerve-wracking and exciting.