I am proud of the challenges I have overcome as a direct result of being ‘socially mobile’. These include being the first person in my family to study beyond GCSEs and pursue a corporate career, study in disruptive learning environments at state comprehensive schools (one of which has rankings in the bottom 10 per cent of the UK!) and working since the age of 15 to fund my further education. At times, I felt like the odd one out - both at school and legal events when meeting other candidates from more ‘traditional’ backgrounds. There is a tangible stigma around coming from a council house family - both my parents lived in council houses. If you would have told primary school-aged Emily that she would be well on her way to securing a Training Contract and becoming a commercial solicitor, I am sure she would not have believed you! Not only do socially mobile candidates have to overcome others’ preconceptions of you - it seems as though there are ways of people identifying that you are different to them, having once been called ‘simple’ by a candidate at an Assessment Centre - but your own anxieties. Since attending my university’s law careers fair in October 2017 during my first year, I have been determined to pursue a career in commercial law. To-date, I have secured three Vacation Schemes, a paralegal role and numerous extra-curricular roles, such as writing for The Business Update. I finally feel as though I have the confidence, skills and network to fulfil my career aspiration!
I cannot stress enough just how beneficial my experience has been with STRIVE and I have urged so many socially mobile candidates to apply. Having such a supportive community of both mentors and mentees has been life-changing in a personal and professional capacity. The application reviews enabled me to seek constructive criticism, which highlighted areas of improvement that I did not have previous insight into.