Day in the life: Law student
Robert Eyers (2013) is a Law student and the current President of the Pembroke Players. Here he shares a not-quite-typical day in his life:
8.30am I’m woken abruptly by some gently sinister instrumental music, which I (hilariously) set as my alarm ages ago and keep forgetting to change. Hallucinating that I’m being stalked by a super-villain called ContractiusSupervisiono, I roll over and sleep for another blissful 9 minutes (why is an iPhone’s snooze set at 9 minutes, Apple? Why?). And then another 9 minutes…
9am Up and ready, I hop on my bike and cycle from my house into College. No morning lectures today (a rarity in Law), so I can go into college for breakfast without feeling that I’m cycling in the wrong direction. I’m living in the College-owned house that’s furthest away from College, but it’s a lovely route to cycle, across Lammas Land, along a stretch of the river, and across a scrap of fen – which is terrifyingly eerie when it’s misty.
9.10am Breakfast is a very unattended meal. It’s also fairly antisocial – clusters of people sit around in Hall nibbling bacon and sausages while skimming the papers. I’m just reading about Libya when a friend drops by with her breakfast, and the ensuing conversation turns a quick nibble into a leisurely half hour (with Gaddafi’s face leering up at us from the abandoned paper).
9.45am It’s time to get into some work. Pembroke is very fortunate – we have our own Law Library. It’s a little wing of the main library, in which the law students basically live. It’s very sociable (though, bizarrely, also more productive than working alone), and means we don’t need to travel over to the Faculty Library, or buy as many books, as other students do. I’ve got a few days until my next supervision, so I’m not quite panicking yet. I start to read a few chapters of various books and a handful of articles, taking notes as I go. There are usually several other lawyers working here, along with the odd student from another subject. This morning there are a handful of second years, and some third years trickle in as the morning goes on.
12.30pm By now we need a break. So a group of us head down to the JP (Junior Parlour), where the inimitable Cafe Pembroke staff are dishing up baguettes, paninis etc. The JP is a melting pot of students from various years and subjects – even the sciences students have time off from their contact hours to mingle and gorge. And it’s refreshing to be surrounded by people who won’t understand a pun based on an obscure piece of late ‘70s constitutional law.
1.15pm I’ve got half an hour until I need to head off to a lecture, so pop back into the library to gather my things and finish off the article I was reading before walking across Silver Street bridge and up to the Sidgewick site.
2pm The Law Faculty is undoubtedly the most beautiful faculty building, and a genuinely nice place to work – I find the library there a bit too quiet for prolonged sessions, but the lecture theatres are both comfortable and easy to concentrate in. This lecture is on Administrative Law (it sounds like it’s about filing, but it’s actually about the limits on or – depending on how you look at it – breadth of judicial review of executive powers…which I’m aware doesn’t make it sound any more thrilling).
3.45pm Lectures done, I walk back to Pembroke and pick up my bike to cycle over to the ADC Theatre, where I audition for a part in the Edinburgh Fringe run of a new comedy show. The audition goes pretty well (ranging from leaping around as a seductive French policeman to reading Macbeth in character as Elizabeth II).
4pm Now, with some true thespy nepotism, I go for a quick coffee with the play’s writer and director. I jest, of course (about the nepotism, not the coffee). These two just happen to be good friends. We go to Afternoon Tease on Kings Street, and later realise that the lady on the table next to us was Mary Beard! Knowing that now we can add ‘carrot cake’ to her Wikipedia list of interests, we go our separate ways which – for me – means back to the library.
5.20pm I’ve got a brief end-of-term meeting now with my tutor. The most important facet of the personal tutor system is that our tutors have nothing to do with our subject. We can discuss matters of welfare and extra-curricular life without him worrying about how it will affect my upcoming co-ownership essay or next week’s easements problem question.
5.45pm Time for Trough! I tend to eat in College every night – I can’t bring myself to put the time and effort into cooking at home when I know it won’t be any better quality than the excellent food our kitchens offer. Plus it’s more sociable. And it means I can go straight back to the library…
6.20pm …I go straight back to the library. This isn’t quite a fair representation of a lawyer’s day – two days a week I have an hour long supervision in a fellow’s study, either in Pembroke, Queens or Magdalene, and most days I have two to three hours of lectures in the morning. Mondays are nice, though, as I get an uninterrupted stretch of work before lunch – handy for writing an essay. Or, as today, just ploughing through a reading list.
9.30pm It’s time to pack up and head down to the JP (which is a bar in the evenings) for a drink or two and a relaxing chat. And there endeth the day. I’ll cycle back home eventually – it’s not such a nice trip now it’s dark and cold – to write up this blog post. But that can wait.
For more information about the Cambridge Law tripos, please see the University’s website.