From Pilot to Lawyer
I first was attracted to the idea of being a lawyer when I was in high school. Prior to that moment of discovery, I’d considered a variety of options for a humble career. Like any normal person, I wanted to be a writer, then a teacher, a dancer, a painter, a model, the most beautiful girl in Nigeria (MBGN)… you name it!
Eventually, I found myself applying for the Aviation program at my high school. Yes, that’s right, folks. This girl was studying that course that would enable her to fly planes. Just imagine If I’d done it to the very end, and even took it up in university! I’d probably run to Emirates. Well, things didn’t really work out.
As we neared the final 2 years of high school, aviation got a bit tough. There was more math crawling in each week, and I was feeling a bit stifled. As I knew I had a poor grasp of math, my confidence fluttered away, leaving me in despair. I decided I didn’t want to be a pilot again – too much stress. I wanted to be an airhostess instead. I had vivid daydreams of myself dressed from top to bottom in Emirates attire, and I loved it.
P.S. Emirates will forever be the most stylish airline. Their airhostesses look absolutely stunning! From the first time I entered a plane at like 9 or something, I always noticed the way they would strut together like the ultimate clique. They were always on point. I remember doing a whole assignment on the role of an air hostess. I was so passionate about it, especially working for Emirates. Who would say no to accommodation in Dubai, and travelling all around the world? I wouldn’t mind working with them for a year or two. Emirates, I’m ready! I meet the height requirements!
I don’t really like math, and since one had to do subjects like physics and other science-y/math stuff in addition to the aviation program when it got to the final years, I decided it was time to port.
That was how I found myself picking a completely different route. I’d entered high school for the aviation program, and was now changing completely. My teacher, one of the most supportive men I’d ever met, was disappointed, of course. He stopped talking to me after that change, and I felt so sad.
I was joining the ATAR program, which was meant to grant me direct entry into university, pending the fulfillment of the course ATAR requirement. When I was picking the courses I would battle for the next 2 years, I didn’t really have being a lawyer in mind, until one day. While moving through YouTube, I stumbled upon a documentary, which focused on human trafficking. In particular, it was Nigerian ladies being trafficked from Benin to Italy, lured there by promises of a better future, only to be forced into prostitution. I felt so much for them, and really wanted to help them out. Somehow, that led to me wanting to become a lawyer.
This dream was further solidified by the ongoing discussion about refugees. I wanted to become an immigration lawyer, helping people who desperately needed safety and protection, and a chance at a better life, to get visas. I also was going through some immigration issues, and I felt for the many that had been in my shoes. So, I began to work towards this dream.
Mock Trials & Discoveries
One of my new courses was Politics & Law. It was quite an interesting course, because the class was completely female. The teacher was female, and all my classmates were also females. It was such an interesting class makeup, and It is one of the coolest experiences I ever had. We did all sorts, learning cases and whatnot, then also attending mock trials (heavy preparation, long days and closing late) but it was always fun!
I loved when we would walk through Perth city in a group, heading towards the Supreme Court for an interesting few hours of pretending to be lawyers. We had to learn witness statements, come up with objections, and write opening and closing statements. However, I was once given the role of barrister, and I was so shaky during my performance that I told myself I would just rather be a solicitor. I wanted to be in the background, doing the research.
Fast forward to 2015, I returned to Nigeria. I hadn’t even made the cut off mark for the law programs at West Australian universities, which was 90. Anyway, I was quite sad by my performance, as I’d gotten 87.85. I said that law was not for me, and when I wanted to apply to other universities, I leaned towards English/Media/Creative Writing Courses. However, I ended up starting the law program here in Nigeria. I guess God wanted me to have another shot at it.
And so, my friends… that was how I became a law student.
Law Student, Mass Comm. Mind
I gave up on my dream of becoming a lawyer when I didn’t make the cut off mark, and moved back to Nigeria. I was leaning towards more English/Literature type of courses. When I applied for universities, I would choose anything to do with mass communications and media, just basically stuff that would involve a lot of creativity. I got accepted into these courses, but then the finance was the issue. Faced with the effects of the dollar rate, I had to look at other options. It didn’t matter anyway, because I ended up as a law student in Nigeria.
Now, what inspired this post was one of my insecurities. I wrote in a post on my Instagram page, that one of my insecurities was my intelligence. When I first started out in law, I was focused on trying to do my best. I wanted to make good grades, come out on top and generally have things together. However, as I have been in school for a year, there are insecurities which are slowly rising to the surface, taking over my thoughts.
Everyone seems to have things figured out. Some people in my class want to go into politics, want to become Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and the likes. I feel like the odd one out. Looking at me, many people would believe I am an ‘efiko’ who is always bowing her head down to study. An absolutely serious student who aims for the highest. While this is true for the most part, I cannot help but feel inadequate. A lawyer, to me, is not just someone who goes to court and makes noise. Lawyers are respected people, and should be able to engage in fiery, intelligent conversations.
When I think of lawyers, I imagine a bunch of people, clad in black and white, sitting at a roundtable while throwing intelligent words around. It is at this point, that I feel I do not fit in. My class is dynamic, it has a mixture of way older students, and of course, the young ones like me. Sometimes, our class is thrown into heated discussion or argument about points of law and even current events. When this happens, I simply retreat into my mind. I feel lost, and I feel ignorant. I’m not current. I don’t keep up with news…I always feel lost, as I feel that to know the current, I need to have followed the news from the very start. Most of the things that make headlines are accumulated from the past, and if I do not know of the past, how can I connect?
I honestly sometimes feel like a Mass Communications Student in the body of a lawyer. Let’s get something down: mass communication students cop a lot of flack. They’re roasted for being unserious, and looked down upon. This is especially the case in my school, where some people that can’t continue with law switch to mass communications or international relations. They’re looked at as being a bunch of loud, crazy people. Clearly, that’s not true as they’re mostly awesome people, with awesome personalities.
I feel more like a mass communication student when I am quick to open magazines or gist websites, when I hop from blog to blog, when I make graphics for my blog and Instagram page. I spend minutes thinking up all sorts of things, imagining videos to go with the songs playing on shuffle on my phone. As the wind hits my face while I am seated in a keke napep, I even think of fashion designs. I imagine my designs on models who strut fiercely down a runway. I even imagine myself, clad in my designs, posing with confidence as I face a camera.
I’m an introvert. I’ve always known I was shy, and I only recently found out the name for it. Crowded places terrify me, and I’m generally socially awkward, but this is improving. I feel like there needs to be more done. I slipped into blogging so easily, and it just is something that comes so easily for me. There are some people you look at, and can immediately assign a profession to them. Many of my classmates don’t just sound and behave like lawyers, but even look the part. When I look at myself, I don’t really see a lawyer. I lean towards a librarian, and people have continuously brought up this fact, assigning me the title of secretary. To be honest, secretary is not an insult. I actually like administrative activities.
Law, on the other hand, is something I also like (nobody forced me to undertake it), but need to grasp more. I feel so behind in it. I’m getting quite good grades, and this is motivated by my need to do things well and also the fact that I don’t like wasting school fees. I will finish successfully, but what will happen next? Right now, I wish I could be more active. I feel like I’m doing well academically because book wise, I am good. When It comes to practice, however, how will I perform? I want to see the law in action, I feel scared. I fear that I will come out of school, and my relatives will bring their legal issues to me.
Of course, that is the point of the law degree, but I fear that I will have to reach for my books all the time. I read to pass my exams, but is anything truly sinking in? I want to get my hands on the practice of law itself. I want to know what it feels like to sit in front of somebody who tells me their story, being able to draw out principles of law with ease. Theory and practice are truly not the same thing.
Most of all, I want to feel in control of things. I want to be a lawyer by day, blogger by night, by all means. Then again, the beauty of law is that it does not start and end in the court room. There are many levels to it, and perhaps I can even insert myself there, because frankly, the thought of standing in front of a judge makes my legs shake. I need to visit the courts more, to see how things work.
There are those who throw off conventional professions and go searching for themselves in the unknown, but I don’t see myself doing that. I want to achieve some sort of balance.
I’m just trying to figure things out.
Don’t mind me, people! Just airing out my thoughts. Generally my posts have a humorous tone to them, but sometimes, It gets real. I’m just a young person, trying to figure out life. By the way, this is my 50th blog post! I honestly find that amazing. How was I able to write so many posts in such a short amount of time? It’s crazy! And we’re talking more than 1000 words in each post!
Have you figured out what you want to do in the future? Can you see yourself in a certain place in 5 years?