Sitting in Zizis in town surrounded by my team, my law family, I was asked a question. At Law Society Committee Christmas meal last week Kamran asked what had been the best day I’ve had this year. Quite a question, right? I had to give it a minute and get back to him, but funnily enough it was just four days prior.
It was a Friday. A pretty normal one actually. I had been working solidly the day before in the library to prepare for my two tutorials that I had the next day.
My Caring and the Law tutorial was up first. I made it on time at 10AM (woo), so the day was already off to a good start.
You take your wins where you can get them – life is all about the little things after all!
The topic of the tutorial was all about Caring and the State which involves looking at children in care homes and how much the government should get involved. I loved it because we had the most interesting debate centring around whether the state can provide love for children – and how this could be possible. Then we looked into the Rotherham report about child abuse and discussed the racial and cultural dimensions of the report. The role of the media is always an interesting dimension, and was especially pertinent in the discussion about the over-sexualisation of young girls. This allowed me to bring in my previous studies on child development and the importance of play – which specifically concerned, in this context, gendered toys.
Never did I ever think that in my LLB Law degree I would be discussing such things in a tutorial. And it blows my mind. Like my mind actually feels like it’s expanding after an hour filled with ideas bouncing around and it makes me explode with happiness. The pure joy of learning.
Next up I had my Law and Gender assessed presentation, which will actually go towards my degree. 4 hours of diligent work commenced.
The topic for my presentation was Female Genital Mutilation – something I had taken some interest in prior to studying it. However, I didn’t realise how uneducated I was about the topic until delving into the article. “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the UK. Challenging the Inconsistencies” – M. Dustin. Just wow. This article really reinforced my unwavering belief that education is EVERYTHING. It opened my eyes to the complexity of the issue and a fun new word (I love words) – ethnocentrism. It showed me how we have such double standards in our law – we allow cosmetic surgery to alter a vagina (to fit Western norms), but the law prohibits it if you’re justifying it with other cultural beliefs that aren’t Western. This was not to legitimise FGM, but show how the law fails to identify the nuances of human life. I was hooked. I put together my presentation whilst critiquing the current law, and proposing what changes could be made. I was ready to present.
Even though public speaking is one of my favourite things, this was a very academic presentation and somewhat of a learning curve for me. The inevitable nerves set in.
It went well in the end because I think my interest in the topic shone through. “What is done in love is done well” – well said Van Gogh.
Our lovely lecturer gave us cookies, just because, and then the actual tutorial commenced. The discussion was intense. We were analysing and ripping apart the law and society from every angle. Sometimes discussions in topics that are so interwoven and integral to society can be quite demoralising because so much is wrong with the world. Soon after I have those discussions it makes me feel so firey about making change happen. In this tutorial, however, this effect was instantaneous. When it hit 50 minutes past the hour and we were meant to leave… no one got up. We were so engulfed by the debate that it just carried on. I learned so much about gender norms, the law, society and education. It changed my mind about so much and made me want to tell everyone I met about what I had learned.
Now full of cookies, new knowledge, and confidence from my presentation going well – I bounded out of the law school and headed to the Students’ Union. This wasn’t before running (literally) into the Law Society office and saying hello to two of my favourite people, Lucie and Yukit, to quickly catch up. I was physically buzzing with excitement – I could not contain myself.
To add to all of this, we have this new ‘square’ in the middle of campus with a beautiful Christmas tree in the middle, and the Christmas market was on so it was a bustle of holiday spirit. It really warmed my heart.
I met with one of my new friends Kieran, who I met at Quidditch, and we had a lovely catch-up. This was amongst a now winding down yet still glowingly Christmassy SU. It’s just great at uni, you meet so many genuinely nice people who are so like-minded so yourself. The momentum of the pure brilliance of the day continued.
Next up I bumped into Derrick outside the Law School whilst waiting for Lucie. Even though we haven’t known each other too long we have become so close, so I can just run up and jump on him!
Now it was time for my weekly body balance session (a mix of yoga and pilates) at the gym with my best friend Lucie. We always have such a good time whatever we do. I am finally getting there with all the exercises and it was so empowering. You do the moves to a really awesome soundtrack of relaxing and hype music which always helps. But my favourite bit is at the end – the relaxation. The instructor talks you through breathing as you lay on your yoga mat. It gives you a chance to unwind and think about things (well for me, at least, because my brain is crazy overactive). I felt so refreshed and ready to go!
THEN Gemma (one of our lecturers who taught me Tort in first year) came up to Lucie and I and complimented our blog posts about motivation and learning to fail. She even used my blog in one of her lectures! CRAZY. I mean, to have a concept that is so important to me to be shared with so many people and have the potential of helping them – how amazing is that?
When Luce and I got back to the changing rooms I found out that my best friend Molly, who is on her year abroad in America, had received the care package that I’d sent about a week prior. I couldn’t contain myself. I’d been planning this package for months with all of her favourite things in it – which inevitably included LOTS of tea. I got sent videos of her opening it so I stood outside the library in the rain, not even caring about getting wet, watching her reaction and laughing to myself. People must have thought I was crazy, but I didn’t have a care in the world. I’d made her day and that was everything. Then, as I was literally skipping home, I phoned my best friend from back home and spoke for (apparently) a solid 8 minutes about my day. Whilst I was squealing away he listened and laughed along with me and shared the joy. It was the perfect bow to tie up the perfect day.
That Friday wasn’t a day full of big events or crazy achievements, but it was full of the most important thing in the entire world – people.
Brilliant people making you laugh. Supportive people urging you to do well in your studies and never give up. Incredibly clever people writing mind-blowing articles. Awesome people who make things fun no matter what you’re doing. Selfless people caring about your well-being in catch-up conversations. Great people being your best friend no matter where they are in the world. Intelligent people creating unbelievable discussions. Fantastic people who choose to be teachers, in the academic and the yoga sense, allowing for your whole life to be enriched. The best people – who love you because you bounce around everywhere after a pretty standard day.
People are everything. Who you surround yourself with is everything.
This is a normal day for me at Leicester and I am so lucky to be able to study what I do, to absolutely adore it and to have it make me feel like my whole world is infinite. Not to mention, to be surrounded by such inspiring and exceptional friends.
These days are what give me my fire and my passion. Friday 2nd December was the best day.
Days like this are what I live for.