monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 1monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 2monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 3monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 4monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 5monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 6monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 7monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 8monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 9monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 10monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 11monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 12monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 13monash university clayton graduation connie cao bachelor of commerce laws with honours 2015 law school 14

Wearing: ASOS pencil dress with wrap skirt | Diana Ferrari Rachelle Ankle Strap heelsDior Vernis nail lacquer in ‘lili’ 

And so graduation day has finally come. Ever since I started my blog, I had been studying for my Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Marketing) & Bachelor of Laws at Monash University in Clayton. I don’t really like talking about it here because it really isn’t the most exhilarating thing to talk about and is filled with some pretty crazy theoretical stuff which I often look back at and think ‘how the hell did I even understand this at that time?!’ so this is probably the only personal post I will write about uni.

When I was in first year I always thought it would be deeply embarrassing to walk around campus in such a funny looking Harry Potter gown and hat and swore to myself I would never attend my graduation day. Five and a half years on and I am so, so excited, happy and in disbelief that it’s finally my turn to put on this ridiculous outfit and take hundreds of pictures in front of any aesthetically pleasing or meaningful building we could find on campus. I can’t believe this day has come. There was many a time during my time here where I thought about un-enrolling myself and doing something else. But at the same time, I was too chicken to leave what I had started and so fast forward to 2015, somehow I made it through.

A lot of you always email asking about my experiences with law school. Studying & practising law is not for everyone and I think for me, it’s not the direction I want to take my life in right now (though I did thoroughly enjoy my marketing major!). However looking back, university has been a really positive growth journey. I started uni thinking there might be a chance I might practise law. I finished uni learning so much more about myself. You can never really feel it unless you observe closely, but you learn so, so much during your time in uni. The thing is, it’s not so much about the law you learn (after all, who hasn’t had a lecturer come in and tell you that everything you learnt last month had just been completely overturned in an appeal in the High Court?!) but more so about the skills and experiences you come across that are intangible until you really think about how much you’ve gathered from university. Things like dedication and consistency in work, critical thinking and analysis, working under pressure, professionalism, taking up challenges that I never thought I could, knowing my limits and when to slow down and creating some really good friendships. It is because of uni, that I was able to add to my skill set in such a way & it is through uni that I was able to connect with some of the people who are so close to me now. And without actually going through my course, I know I would have always been restless, wondering what a law degree would be like & who knows what I would have been up to if I was doing something else.

So thanks Monash for my two degrees. I never thought it would happen as I never had any intentions on trying hard (because this girl has no intentions to apply for any clerkships, currently) but I graduated with first class honours in law. I suppose funny things happen when you always think you’re gonna fail 24/7! Though none of this could have been achieved without my fellow law student friends by my side, my family for giving me the space and time to study like a studyaholic and Tom who I only saw once a week for a couple of hours because I was too stressed to leave my books for any longer (that’s the #i’msogonnafailthisexam in me). 42 exams later, I feel so free!!

These days, I have been pouring energy into my creative passions in life, as well as updating this blog & managing my Etsy shop. After being in the education system for so long, I’ve finally got some time to take a breather and appreciate the beauty of life, sans exams. I feel energised and excited to be working on new creative projects and am both excited and nervous to be paving my own career path ahead. Always experimenting, forever still learning. Ancora Imparo. Clearly a Monash grad..

And for my fellow law school friends over here..

My top tips for getting through law school as pain free as possible: 

  1. Be smart about course planning: When it comes to law, there is often no particular order you should complete your units in. Universities often give you sample course plans to follow, especially when it comes to double degree students (when planning your entire course of units can be a little daunting without any guidance) however there’s no need to follow these! Tailor your course progression according to your own needs and ask past students for any tips and advice as well. For me, I started the first few years of my uni off with some of the more difficult law units (contracts in 1st year (compulsory), property in 2nd year, admin/consti/trusts/equity in 3rd year) and then finished off my degree with some of the more core easier units (torts in 4th year, crim in 5th year (whoo!)) and electives. This worked for me as I knew I’d probably be hating on life by the time I got that far deep into my law degree, so I thought I’d reward myself with doing a 1st/2nd year unit in 5th year.
  2. Start early: The workload in law school is hectic to the max so be sure to always try to read ahead at the start of the semester when things are still slightly calm and also to actually start writing exam style notes from week 1. It might be hard to get into the hang of things but trust me, your week 10 self will be down on their knees thanking your week 1-9 self when they open up their exam notes doc and realise how much has already been done.
  3. Manage your workload: Uni students all know that assignments are always, always all due in the same week and sometimes even the same day and time (creepy, right?) so to make sure you’re able to meet all these deadlines at once, try to plan out your semester to work around it. Whenever you feel like you’re having an easier week, try to get your general revision and study done then so that when it comes to the weeks leading up to handing in assignments, you’ll be able to focus on those without being behind in other things.
  4. Study with a friend who studies the same way as you: This is the single biggest tip for surviving law school and needs to be done more often than it is. Law is a competitive degree as students are always ranked by and order of merit (much like VCE) but forget all of that stuff and start teaming up with a friend that studies like you! And I say studies like you because I’m pretty sure anyone who actually reads their cases and understands their judgments will never want to study with someone like me who prefers to read extracts, summaries and LexisNexis Study Guides. Debate judgments, work together on policy notes, do practice exams together, cry together.. (etc etc).
  5. Try not to take up more than you can handle: Probably a lesson for myself too, but always try to not take up more than you can handle. As I was running my blog and online store whilst in uni, I spent a couple of years in my degree underloading rather than overloading – which is what the uni recommends for double degree students like me. I then balanced this off by studying in summer and winter semesters so that I could finish my degree on time. Whilst travelling takes up a large part of my work, I always make sure to schedule trips during the early weeks of semester or during semester breaks and have never been hesitant to say no to all sorts of overseas experiences just so I could make sure I would not put too much stress on myself when it came to managing my studying. I would never travel towards the end of every semester, that would be super irresponsible for me and really, all hell would just break loose in my brain when I came back to face those exams!
  6. Make time to relax: Once again another lesson for myself as I have always erred on the workaholic side. It’s so important to make time to relax and rest your precious mind. For me, blogging and making floral headpieces acted like a sort of outlet for me. However, what was even better for me was yoga and short sessions of meditation (which you often do after yoga or you can download an app like Smiling Mind) and anything that gets me away from my laptop.

Oh and when you graduate, make sure you put on something bright to celebrate! I went for a red dress as 1) I really wanted a pop of colour under my gown and 2) I honestly lack a corporate wardrobe, ha!

Shop my favourite graduation looks here: