I still have to pinch myself when I realise I am a Solicitor and I have been for over a year now. I was never the most academic at school and I was written off by most teachers while I was at primary school. My mind didn’t really work as it should and although I could always read above my age group, I found writing and times tables so difficult. My parents were always very supportive and I had personal tutors in the evening to help with school work so I didn’t fall behind and though I hated it at the time, it really did help.
Towards the end of primary school my parents enrolled me in the DORE programme which at the time I absolutely hated. I had to go every 6 weeks for different assessments to check progress and every day I had to do different exercises. I did this programme for 20 months and I progressed so much. My school work improved as did my dance ability and hand eye coordination. I honestly do not believe I would have had the ability to pass my driving test if it wasn’t for this programme. Unfortunately, not many people believed in its success and it closed down.
The only thing which the DORE programme did not help with was my motivation to succeed. I had no interest in school work at all during secondary school and then I actually ended up missing a year due to illness and depression. My doctors were amazing and actually pushed me without medication to return to school. I sat my GCSE’s and although I didn’t do great and actually walked out of one of them, I passed them all and did better than some people who hadn’t missed any school.
This was my turning point, I left the school I was at and decided to do A Levels at a local vocational college. My predicted grades were EEE and no one had much hope for University. I was so motivated at this point that my AS January grades were coming back with A’s and B’s and I even achieved full marks in several exams. During this period, I managed to re-take some of my GCSE’s to improve the grades and applied to University. Despite wanting to be a midwife and attending interviews for the same, I actually realised that it was law I was passionate about studying, albeit I had no intention to become a Lawyer. I could thank my A Level Law tutor every day for what she taught me during the two years and for the fact that she never gave up on me.
I didn’t tell anyone about my dyslexia during my A Levels and it stayed this way through University. I did not let it hold me back and although it is still with me, I have found methods of coping.
Moving away from home at 18 was scary but University was the best experience of my life. I was so lucky that I made friends with whom we could push and encourage each other as necessary. I was so motivated during my time as a Undergratudate and I often achieved the top mark in the class for a piece of coursework or for a whole module. My second year grades were all first class marks and I was so pleased with myself. I knew I just had to carry on for a year and I would get a first class degree.
Unfortunately, my third year was no how I planned it to be. My uncle who had been battling a brain tumor for 18 months sadly passed away. I had to take time off to attend the funeral and this was hard. Three weeks after the funeral my dad was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, I didn’t tell anyone except close friends. Luckily at my University you have three weeks off for Easter, I managed to complete my dissertation and all outstanding coursework in the first week in readiness for my dads pending surgery. The surgery was a big 10 hour operation and there was so much risk involved that we did were unsure whether he would survive but he did! He was intensive care for about a week afterwards. It was during this week, I had to go back to University to sit my final exams. This was probably the hardest thing that I have ever done and I am surprised I managed it. It was only after the final exam that I told a tutor about my dad. It was also the day we were told that the operation had been successful and he didn’t need any more treatment. I am so proud of my dad, he goes through so much every day but he is so grateful to be alive.
I then graduated with first class honours which I didn’t think would be possible, graduated Law School one mark away from a distinction (which wasn’t bad considering I had such an active social life during the exam period) and moved to London. I had several jobs which although I didn’t like taught me so much about London life and being a solicitor before, eventually obtaining my Training Contract and qualifying.
I wish I could tell my 14-year-old self to work harder but in reality I would just tell her that it doesn’t really matter what you do at school, everything works out the way it is supposed to. I believe that more than ever at this stage in my life….
Love, Minnie x