My name is Maggy and I am currently studying towards my Diploma in Law at the Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria. As I am working fulltime as a civil servant, I study part-time and enjoyed the flexibility my university offers in terms of online courses etc even before the current situation.
My journey into law, or higher education in general, is an untypical one. After 9 years of school, I decided to go a different route and start an apprenticeship. That is what everyone in my family did before and it seemed like a good way to finally do something more practical, gaining work experience and earning money as well. During my apprenticeship in the civil service, I got a good insight into many areas of government work and became aware of how important the legal system is for the functioning of my – but actually any – country. It was important to me to still get a good education so that I could decide to study at University level if I would ever choose to do so. This is the reason I attended classes – mostly in the evening – to prepare for my Higher education entrance qualification exams. Once I was 18 and I have worked closely with lawyers for years, I knew I really want to go into Law. And so I did. Coming from a family that couldn’t support my higher education in any way it was clear to me that a traditional pathway wouldn’t work. So I stayed in the civil service even after my apprenticeship and it has been 10 years now! My number one priority has always had to be work. Which is ok to me, as it does provide for me so I can do what I am passionate about in my free time. It does take me quite a while to finish my programme, but that’s how it is. Working while at Uni may have some positives too. Working in civil service shows me every day how important well made laws are. Seeing this has given me the motivation to continue my path more than once. And I love that I have some great colleagues that I can either rant to about law school while they build me up again or who are there to discuss law-related topics and these discussions have sometimes got me new ideas to see something from a different angle etc. (I talk about how important support is later.) My work in the civil service may have impacted my choice of electives in law school too or it is the other way around. I am greatly interested in public law. Administrative law has been my absolute favourite so far.
I used to compare myself to other people, especially students, but it doesn’t help. We are all unique and have different preconditions and environments. I have struggled with this in the past. Wondering why I was still at Uni while people who went to school with me graduated and are probably doing well in their new job. What I have learned and want to pass on is that the only thing that matters in this context is that you do what you can in that particular moment. Don’t compare yourself to your classmates or even someone on the internet.
As I have stated before, I don’t get support in law school from family. They just can’t do it. This may be a barrier for you too. I highly recommend looking for support elsewhere. That could be an organisation that helps students who are the first in their family to attend University, that could be a student society but also other adult people in your life or even classmates. Building a support network is important, especially for tough times. And I dare to guarantee you, there will be tough times in law school. Don’t give up though on your dreams, if you really want to go into law, you absolutely should do!
I post regularly on Instagram (@maggy__r) about my law school journey and other stuff. Stories are usually in English. Feel free to send me a DM in English or German, if you would like to further discuss any topic.