Friday, 18 May 2012

Entitlement & the Modern Day Law Student

I am sure most of us have read with a sense of disgust this week about former Geelong Grammar student, Rose Ashton-Weir who is suing the school for failing to gain entry to her first preference, being to study Law at the University of Sydney.

For those not in the know the LLB at The University of Sydney is one of the most prestigious law programs in the country, and entry to this degree would be the ultimate honor after a final high school year filled with hard work. It is hard work that gets you a place in any law degree not money.

When I read this story for the first time two days ago and first I was really angry. How dare this young girl claim to be entitled to a place. How dare she not take responsibility for failing to reach her goal and how dare she simply pass the blame onto someone else and not look for an alternate pathway to achieving her dream! I simply fail to understand how an 18 year old could feel entitled to a place simply because she went to one of the better high schools in the country.

I will use myself as an example.

I certainly did not attend an exclusive school. I grew up in a small town to working class parents. I attended a catholic school as opposed to a state school because my father worked 14 hours a day, everyday and my mother worked at night so that my brother and I could have every opportunity to do whatever we wanted with our lives.

I have always wanted to study law! Ask anyone I went to school with, it was all I have ever wanted to do. Yet I didn't get the marks to get into law at the completion of high school. Was that my schools fault? No, of course not! My school nurtured me like every single other student enrolled there to reach our full potential. I worked hard in year 12 but obviously not hard enough. But there are many ways to skin a cat.

I moved on, yet I never lost sight of my dream. I enrolled in an Accounting degree for 18 months but hated it and I met my husband during that time and began working full time. He was an apprentice and we struggled for money but we got through it and he is now a carpenter which was his dream. After having 3 children I decided I wanted to pursue my dream of studying law. I enrolled in a Bachelor of Legal and Justice Studies degree at Southern Cross University and was told by a course advisor that should I work hard enough and obtain a Distinction average I could be considered for a course change over to the LLB. Well I am very proud to say I made it. Southern Cross gave me a chance, a way in to my dream and I grabbed it with both hands and I have not look back. I may not be a University of Sydney law student but I am very proud to be a Southern Cross student and I don't believe that I will be any less of a lawyer because I hate not attended a prestigious law school. In my mind any University in the country is prestigious and any person who completes a degree in anything is special. It's a major achievement and I would have been proud to be a law student at any school in the country.

I am not going to lie, law school has not been easy. I now have 4 children and I am at the point of the degree where I can see the end. I have got there through hard work and because I have never lost sight of my dream. Even if I never practice law I hope my children have learned the lesson that through hard work you can do anything and that there is always another way to achieve your dream.

Rose Ashton-Weir I do feel some sympathy for. What is she ever going to achieve in her life if this is how she handles a disappointing situation. Life is full of disappointments but its how you deal with them that determine whether or not as a person you are going to succeed in life.

Her parents should be ashamed for assisting her in this quest. They have clearly brought her up to believe that things get handed to you on a plate and if you throw your money around and attend a prestigious school is gives you some sort of divine right to be entitled to things as opposed to earning them.

Her school attendance was poor, she was regularly absent, she only attended a term and a bit before moving to another school, she had glandular fever and she was internally suspended by the school on more than one occasion...... I fail to see how she is entitled to anything. She should really count herself lucky that she is attending university at all after all that.

All in all, this girl is on a fast track to nowhere. To everyone from law students to members of the public she has become a joke. and that really is sad and I honestly believe if her dream really was to be a law student she would have had enough sense to take a good hard look at herself and re-assess. She could have taken another path yet chose the easy way out pushing the blame of her failings onto someone else.

To everyone reading this, please tell your children they can be whoever and whatever they want to be. We are so lucky to live in a country where there are endless possibilities, where we have access to some of the best educational facilities in the world. Please tell them that it doesn't matter if you come from money or the working class they can do anything! All it takes is hard work!!!

Follow your dreams people and don't let people like Rose Ashton-Weir put a dark cloud over the fairness of education in our country.

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