I completed my first year in the JD program on a very high note because of the incredible opportunities available at Queen’s and the support of the key staff members at the School of Law. On the academic side, I was awarded one of the Top Module Mark prizes. Outside of my course work, I was able to participate in various extra-curricular activities.
Through the School of Law, I was able to participate in the Lincoln’s Inn Tour in London. By visiting one of the four Inns of Court has helped me understand the process of being ‘Called to the Bar’ in England and Wales. Another great opportunity was being able to publish a report about Northern Ireland for the World Universities Comparative Law Project with Allen & Overy. This experience was truly invaluable in developing my commercial awareness in a different jurisdiction. Through these two very different experiences, I was able to learn more about what it takes to become a successful barrister and a commercial solicitor.
As a Queen’s student, there were many opportunities to get involved on campus. One society event that sharpened my advocacy skills was the Belfast Model United Nations Conference. I was a delegate in the Human Rights Council representing the Republic of Albania. We dealt with discussing measures to eliminate gender based violence in all levels of education, including violence against the LGBTQI+ community. Another society event that was extremely rewarding was participating in Maynooth University's International Negotiations Competition as a member of the QUB Alternative Dispute Resolution Society and the UK chapter of the European Law Students' Association. This competition was another opportunity to expand my commercial awareness and develop negotiation skills.
Another valuable experience was becoming involved in my local community. In March 2016, I was trained as one of the Diversity Ambassadors with the QUB Student Union. We were hosted by Corrymeela Community (Northern Ireland's oldest peace and reconciliation organisation) and the British Red Cross. The training involved learning how to initiate diversity awareness and recruitment in clubs or societies on campus. At the end of the two-day residential, we were able to identify gaps in the student experience and services on campus. Our contribution was honoured at the Student Union Volunteering Excellency Awards in June 2016. Lastly, I also became an active member of ‘Lean In’ Belfast Chapter, which connects me with local professionals who continuously encourage me to “lean in” to my ambitions.
It is through all of these experiences that I was able to complete my first year in the JD program with a great deal of accomplishment and pride in my achievements.