The main challenges I have faced include attending a comprehensive state school, growing up in a single-parent household and being diagnosed with cancer. Attending my local state school meant that I wasn’t “pushed at school” to perform to the best of my ability. As a result, I don’t think I developed skills, such as how to write succinctly and clearly, as well as how to think outside the box. This had a negative impact on my grades at university and my ability to write successful applications. Also, I was only ever surrounded by a small group of individuals who had the same ambitions as me, which was demotivating because the majority of students within my year didn’t have the mentality to work hard and achieve good grades. Growing up in a single-parent, working household meant that I didn’t get as much support as I would have if I were living with both my parents. Also, I spent time between both parents which impacted how ‘settled’ I felt and my ability to stick to a good routine whilst at school. Having chemotherapy and dealing with both the physical and mental effects of such during the training contract/vacation scheme application cycle was also challenging. If I were to compare my first ever, and current applications, this would be telling as to how far I have come. The first time I ever applied to BCLP (former-BLP), I didn’t pass their test, and now I have secured a vacation scheme with BCLP! :) Also, I have applied to Travers Smith for several years in a row and was only invited to interview when I was part of the STRIVE community.
I have loved being part of the STRIVE Supernova programme! STRIVE has been successful in creating a wonderful cohort of supportive individuals. This is so important when applying for vacation schemes/training contracts because you can speak to other people in the same position as you, as well as get advice from individuals who aren’t looking at you as a competitor, but instead a colleague. STRIVE’s application review service has been the most useful aspect of the Supernova programme. Writing good applications is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome when applying to law firms in my opinion, and having an objective eye is so useful in spotting areas of improvement. Also, I found that having two mock interviews with Chris Ireland, and a mock interview with Sana Shafi, prior to my Travers interview was very helpful. This was because I knew the format was different to the traditional competency/motivational based interview and I did not have any experience with regards to the Travers-style interview. Chris and Sana both did a great job in preparing me for the real interview and more!