“Being true to yourself never goes out of style.”

The title of this post comes from the musical version of legally blonde. It’s my favourite musical so it’s only right that I take a little inspiration from it from time to time. I’ve done a lot of thinking recently and I’m going to attempt to put my thoughts into an honest little blog post, so have a read if you’re interested in the inner ramblings of El Kindred (an Elle Woods wannabe).

As I come to the final few weeks of my law degree, I have become extremely reflective. I’ve had an incredible three years at university, I’ve met amazing friends, and found areas of law which I am truly passionate about. However, most will know that a law degree is merely a stepping stone to a legal career. It is an important stepping stone of course, but a stepping stone nonetheless. My three years at Edge Hill have been focused on the next step, and becoming the best barrister that I can be, because that is ultimately the end goal. I have spent three years working harder than I ever have done before, focused on the ideal career path that is: Law degree, BPTC, Pupillage. All, of course, one after the other, straight away to get to that end goal of becoming a barrister as quickly as possible.

Slow down.

I’ve realised now, and only just, that there is no rush. I have focused so much on becoming the best barrister that I can be, that I forgot to focus on being the best person that I could be. There is a lot of emphasis in the legal profession, on showing that you’re a well-rounded person and have hobbies outside of the law. I do have hobbies outside of the law of course, I ice skate. However, as much as I do that because I enjoy it, in the back of my head it also ‘ticks the box’ of ‘becoming a well-rounded person and showing I have other hobbies’. When did my whole life become focused on being ‘El the barrister’ rather than ‘El’?

Of course, when you want something and you are dedicated to achieving it, you are going to strive to achieve. However, I realised that for three years I have been letting my future career define me, rather than me defining my future career. I am not just ‘El the future barrister’, I am El, the friend, the girlfriend, the sister, the daughter, the blogger, the ice-skater, the future barrister. The point that I’m trying to make here is that sometimes you lose yourself in trying to achieve the end goal. However, you will reach that end goal a lot easier if you allow time to be yourself, and let the end goal become part of you, rather than you becoming the end goal.

I know that I have become so focused on becoming a barrister that I have lacked in other areas.  We all have flaws, and instead of focusing on what my weaknesses are and improving them, I’ve ignored them and pushed them to the side as much as possible so that I don’t let any weaknesses show in case they stop me reaching the end goal. I’ve become a little stress-head, and put so much pressure on myself. For what? There’s no rush at all. Yes, work hard and achieve the results of course, but whats the rush?  I’ll be a better person if I acknowledge my flaws and work on them, no matter how long it takes, than if I ignore them and perform to an average level rather than being the best that I can be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that in being true to yourself, working on yourself and becoming more than ‘just a barrister’, not for the purposes of ticking the ‘well-rounded person with interests outside of the bar’ box on an application form, but for yourself, is what is truly important. I have spent so long trying to fit what I imagined to be the barrister sized box. It is only now that I am realising that as much as I need to fit the career, the career also needs to fit me. So here’s to working on me, remembering who I am, and staying true to myself.

“It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.” – Elle Woods.

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