They’ve been there, done it and got the advice to prove it. Read on to get some sterling pointers from Vantage’s campus ambassadors on how socially mobile candidates can succeed and keep going when the going gets tough.
Beste Bektas, University of Southampton, Second-Year Law Student:
Seize every opportunity you can, as there will be some kind of benefit from every event, every sign up, every programme that you put yourself forward for. Seize it because even if you go to an event or take part in a programme and don’t enjoy it, you will learn more about yourself, what you want to do and how you want to progress in your career.
“Rejection is redirection...I’ve been rejected. Everybody gets rejected and that’s fine!”
My second piece of advice is that rejection is redirection, so don’t compare yourself to other people because it is so easy to do that, but just don’t do it! At the end of the day this is your own journey, and it’s kind of cringey to say, but everything happens for a reason. If you work hard things will work out. You’re not going to get every insight day or vac scheme you apply for. I’ve been rejected! Everybody gets rejected and that’s fine!
“It’s also about developing those soft skills and you’re not going to get them if you just stick with the books.”
So, don’t give up; work extremely hard; don’t compare yourself to other people; focus on yourself and what you want to achieve. Also, try to have fun, work should not be everything! Join societies and make friends: you’re at university, so have fun, make memories and have more of a balance in your life (obviously be sensible!). It’s also about developing those soft skills and you’re not going to get them if you just stick with the books.
Ebere Okoroafor, University of Nottingham, Second-Year Law Student:
Be yourself and focus on self-improvement. With commercial law, there can be a lot of comparison. There’s no benefit to constantly comparing your achievements to those of others. Try to be better than yesterday. There’s no point in sulking over the fact that your friend has five vacation schemes, when at the end of the day you just need one converted to a training contract.
I have a friend who told me ‘Oh Ebere, this person already has x, y and z,’ but it does not matter. A lot of the time, you do not know what is going on behind the scenes. Maybe they’d applied for hundreds of schemes before they got to where they are now. Some people never share their failures and you never know, so just be yourself and focus on improving yourself.
Marshall Taylor, University of Warwick, Second-Year Law Student:
I would say take some time trying out different things. At the A-Level stage everything is very developmental, so devote five or ten percent of your day to looking at what you might want to do. It might be a Forage module if you’re looking at law, which you can do in your own time to gain further insight into different types of law. Take advantage of any opportunity, as you never know what it might lead to. And sign up to Vantage (vantageapp.io)! You will have all kinds of tailored opportunities sent through to you.
“At the A-Level stage everything is very developmental, so devote five or ten percent of your day to looking at what you might want to do.”
Tobi Alao, University of Warwick, Second-Year Sociology Student:
I would say apply, apply, apply, apply to everything! If you’ve ever been told that you’ll never be able to succeed or have felt put off then just apply! I used to put myself down and it got to the point where if I saw scholarships, I wouldn’t even bother applying because I told myself I wouldn’t get it. But now I realise I was only robbing myself of all these amazing opportunities.
“I would say apply, apply, apply, apply to everything!”
Study hard as well. Firms are being more inclusive and using contextual recruitment, but you still want to make sure you put yourself in the best position, so get the best grades you can and build up those extra curriculars for your CV.
Amalia Albu, University of Leeds, Second-Year Law Student:
I think the reality of it is that those from non-traditional or underrepresented backgrounds will frankly have to work harder to be on the same line as people who have had more advantages. That is true and I can’t deny that. However, if these students have a passion for it and enjoy it then it is possible. Sometimes it will be difficult and you will feel like giving up, but all those wins you will have – like getting a reply from a barrister or being accepted on a scheme – will help a lot. Just keep at it and you will get it. It is more work, but you can do it. And if you’ve come so far, then you will know that you can do it!
“Sometimes it will be difficult and you will feel like giving up, but all those wins you will have – like getting a reply from a barrister or being accepted on a scheme – will help a lot.”