Eri wrote this at the end of her first year studying Law at Christ's College, Cambridge. She is from Lagos, Nigeria, and did her A-levels in Kent (English Literature, French, History, and an Extended Project Qualification on Law).
What attracted you to your course?
As well as being a qualifying law degree, I was attracted to the compulsory modules offered in first year and the flexibility and range of options that were offered in second and third year. The Cambridge course allows lawyers to specialise in particular areas of interest whilst covering the foundation modules required for a law degree.
For those struggling to chose between Oxford and Cambridge, the Cambridge course particularly suited me because I wasn’t interested in jurisprudence, which to my knowledge is particularly important to Oxford. Likewise, concerning exams, Cambridge lawyers complete exams at the end of year, with second and third year contributing to your overall grade, whilst Oxford students complete their exams only at the end of third year. I personally preferred the Cambridge means of examination.
Finally, for those interested in doing law with a language like I am, Cambridge’s Erasmus+ program, whilst affected by Brexit, still allows lawyers to study law in another country. Aside for the language requirements for some partner institutions, this opportunity benefits students seeking to become lawyers as well as upholding their various interests in languages or other cultures.
Why did you apply to Christ's?
Unlike most people, I didn’t do extensive research into the colleges, but I didn’t do an open application either. For me, I was mostly interested in getting an ensuite, and found out that Christ's has a lot of ensuite rooms (the accommodation is 40% ensuite). Even though I didn’t get an ensuite this year, Christ’s was definitely the best choice! Whilst highly academic-orientated, Christ’s has an undefeated social life. Everyone is so friendly and accepting. As well as being in the centre of town so you never have to travel far for anything, we’ve got a pool!
What is your favourite place in College?
Without a doubt, my favourite place in college is Third Court. As well as being extremely pretty and the perfect spot for socialising, it was also the middle ground between my accommodation and my friends’ accommodation. Plus, sometimes the ducks are out!
Was there anything that you were nervous about, in relation to the course?
As most students would agree, one of the most unnerving things about law at Cambridge university is you worrying about being as smart as your fellow students. As with any educational institution, there will be competition. From my experience, competition amongst your fellow students is not bad, as long as its healthy competition. Within Christ’s, first-year lawyers are hardworking and continuously strive to be the best students, our competition is entirely healthy. I would encourage students to share essays and notes amongst themselves, helping each other to reach the best grades. Healthy competition only!
Was the interview what you expected it to be?
Throughout the application process, the interview was described to be a mock-supervision (supervisions are the very small-group teaching that happens in Cambridge), to decide whether you as a candidate are suited to the Cambridge-style of learning and truthfully, it was. Me, personally, I got 2 interviews.
My first interview, I was given a document and we simply discussed it; very supervision-esque. My second interview, similar to the first, was very conversational but this time with no document. While I learned from them both, I definitely struggled with the second one and I didn’t think it went well. Basically, my advice: you aren’t an interviewer or a supervisor, you don’t truly know how your interview went until you get the results. Don’t stress, just be calm before AND AFTER the interview.
What was it like to interview online?
I’m sure most of us are accustomed to online learning, if not online interviews, this is no different. Personally, I preferred it because I wasn’t surrounded by other nervous people about to do the same interview, but it was no different to an in-person interview. Regardless, here are a few tips: look into the camera as much as you can to mirror eye contact, dress well but comfortably, have a pen and paper near in case you want to take notes, smile, and finally, the usual, be yourself!
How did you prepare for your admissions assessment?
I took the Cambridge Law Test, but now they use the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT). The long and short of preparation for the admissions test is practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Whether it be essay plan practice or fully writing the essays out, just practice as much as you can. You could ask friends, family, or tutors to assess your essays. Essentially, you need to answer the question asked so just make sure you do so, in a clear and concise manner.
What are the best and hardest things about your course?
The best thing about my course is definitely the people. In Cambridge, and in Christs specifically, lawyers tend to bind together. Everyone is so friendly and comfortable with each other. We share essays, reading, and notes amongst ourselves and make sure we are there for each other, especially on late nights.
The hardest thing about my course is not getting carried away by everything academic. As a lawyer, there is always something academic you could be doing, whether reading, or society work or pro-bono work (providing free legal aid and advice to people who are unable to avoid such services: it's something the Law Society is involved with). There is always something. However, with the right schedule and discipline, you must make sure to enjoy the other things that Christs and Cambridge have to offer.
Where do you like to work?
Personally, I prefer working on the desk in my room because I usually have everything I need with me without having to move very far. However, most of the time, I appreciate a change of scenery so after working a few hours in my room, I take a break and move to Christs’ library or Christs’ law library. The renowned university law library, the Squire, is also an excellent place to work and the ARC café close by is an excellent place for a break and some socialising.
What do you do when you're not working?
ACS is a community for Black and Caribbean students to come together and socialize. As a society, we are dedicated to the social, academic, and emotional development of our members. We hold events such as games nights, career talks and club nights. When you have a chance, definitely look at our website and Instagram page and join us!
BGS is a society that seeks to represent and serve the social, economic, and political needs of female and non-binary black women. We create and provide an empowering community for female and non-binary black women. The aim of BGS is to not only provide a community for other black girls within Cambridge but also spearhead projects addressing issues that black women face nationally and internationally.
If there isn’t a society for what you want to do, you could make a society for it. And at the times when there isn’t an event on for your society, there’s always people to see and places to visit. Essentially, with the right people around you, you can never be bored. Also, there’s Netflix and/or Disney+.
What did you think of your accommodation this year?
I lived in the Z building in Third court. At first, I wanted to be in the typewriter, but I must admit after 2 weeks of climbing those stairs, I’m glad I didn’t. I loved my room; it was spacious and had everything I needed. Plus, I lived right in front of the café on Hobson Street, so I had easy access to snacks.
What are you looking forward to next year?
Next year, I’m looking forward to a lot. With my law degree, I’m looking forward to doing my selected modules and getting back into the routine of a Cambridge student. Outside my degree, I’m looking forward to society events and living with my friends!
Please be aware if you're considering an application that our student writers describe their experiences. Although the majority of the information stays the same, some details may change from year to year. Do read the student profiles in combination with our undergraduate admissions pages for full information.