We have ten first class awards this year. In terms of countries, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan are all joint equal; each with three firsts. In terms of individual students, Pakistan comes top, Ikra Saleem Khan has the highest aggregate marks this year. She attributes her success to ‘persistence, hard work and dedication’ and those ‘whose tireless efforts helped me on my journey’, particularly her teachers at University College Lahore. Ikra didn’t only work hard studying law, she balanced her studies with an active involvement in the Dramatics and Music Society at University College Lahore. Congratulations Ikra!
All the firsts in Pakistan this year are from Lahore. Rubab Tariq Khan studied at Pakistan College of Law and describes studying the LLB degree as ‘a roller coaster ride’ and herself as ‘a product of the hard work of all my well-wishers’ including the prayers of her parents. Rubab is already busy working with a law firm and will, we hope, soon be sharing her knowledge with others. She has been offered a teaching position with Pakistan College of Law for the module of International Protection of Human Rights.
Muhammad Kazim, the third of our Lahore first class students, studied at The Institute of Legal Studies (TILS). He is one of only two males to achieve a first this year. He credits his success to hard work and offers this advice: ‘[t]here are two types of people: intelligent and hardworking. But in my experience, hard work can triumph over intelligence any day.’ We are glad that your hard work – presumably combined with intelligence – paid off, Muhammad Malaysia’s three firsts also include one of our two Graduate entry firsts for this year. Royal Institute (RIC) in Colombo enjoys top institutional place this year with three firsts, closely followed by Brickfields Asia College (BAC) in Kuala Lumpur, whose students received two firsts this year. The teaching institutions supporting many of our students play a vital role in their successes. Around 70% of our students attend a teaching institution and eight of the nine first class students in 2016 went to a recognised teaching institution.
Many of our first class students express their thanks to those who taught them and recognise that success is most often achieved with the support of others. Mei Xian Lee, who studied at Advanced Tertiary College (ATC) in Kuala Lumpur, thanks the institution she attended and the teaching faculty, she writes ‘A big thank you to Dr Danny Choong, all my lecturers, and classmates as well for their kind encouragement during the whole of my degree, and for always believing in me even when I doubted myself. I could not have pulled this off without them – this achievement is as much theirs as it is mine’.
The academic rigour of the University of London LLB is also a common theme and is picked up by both of the BAC firsts. Firdous Majid says that she enjoyed learning law, ‘this Programme requires the maximum amount of dedication [and] will power… but… it has so much to offer you as an individual’. With an interest in current affairs, Firdous, found that an ‘immense and passionate curiosity’ was really useful for studying law and that what examiners look for is the application of knowledge and the ability to think outside the box. Let’s hope that this good advice is followed.
Lau Foong Yee Sharon also studied at BAC. She writes ‘nothing worthwhile comes easily. But when you decide to give it your best, what seemed impossible could just become a reality’. Glad that the stress of examinations and study are over – at least temporarily – she reflects: ‘During my first year, I nonchalantly told myself that I wouldn’t graduate with a first. Yet look what I have now. All the stress back then seems so distant now. I pulled through. What an absolutely surreal feeling. And it all started with a decision to just do my best.’
In Sri Lanka, all three of the students to obtain firsts attended Royal Institute (RIC) in Colombo and Dhanishka Seneviratne (pictured left), Vinuri Wickramasekera (pictured below), and Ramesh Fernando (pictured below left) are appreciative of the opportunity the University of London LLB provided for them to study law at RIC and in their own country. Well, Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country, albeit a little humid for my liking, and I can see why they’d want to stay home and study. The fact that our degree can be studied anywhere in the world provides the opportunity for those who do not want to travel or cannot afford to study in the UK to get a degree which is recognised for its academic rigour throughout the world. Ramesh reflects this point, thanking ‘the University for providing students with the opportunity to be engaged in world class education programmes, together with the extensive curriculum support and guidance to accomplish a successful course of study’. Vinuri writes, ‘it was gratifying to be living at home and still be able to study an internationally recognised Law programme with excellent academic support and encouragement from my family. My goal to pursue a career in corporate law was made possible by the range of electives available for study within the LLB Programme’. Dhanishka is keen to share her success, she writes: ‘my success in achieving my goals could not have been obtained without the help and support I received from my lecturers, tutors, my family and my peers, and I extend my utmost gratitude and thanks towards them’. Ramesh echoed these words, describing himself as ‘pleasantly surprised’ by this outstanding achievement, which he attributed to ‘the unhesitating support of my teachers, the love and sacrifices of my parents, and the encouragement I received from my friends’. The importance of such support structures cannot be underestimated, but personal determination and self discipline are also vital. Encouraging others who are studying law, Dhanishka adds ‘never lose sight of [your] goals, as anything can be achieved through hard work, perseverance and the confidence to believe in your own abilities’
Keisha Williams is our first Jamaican to achieve a first class degree this century. She is ‘deeply humbled to be the first person to receive a first class degree coming out of Jamaica. As an island girl, representing the “land of wood and water”, I will wear this with pride’. Keisha studied independently using the University of London Subject guides, ‘I found the study guide to be extremely useful; supplemented with textbooks and other materials’. But even on an island ‘no man [or woman] is an island’ and Keisha met with a ‘wonderful group of individuals’ each year. About one month before the examinations ‘we would meet up to go over past paper questions and bounce ideas off each other. I am very thankful of the role they played in helping me to achieve this feat.’ Despite the pressures of managing study and a full-time job, in 2013 Keisha decided that her dream could be deferred no longer. ‘Becoming a lawyer has been a lifelong dream of mine. Blessed with critical mind and an argumentative streak, I felt it would fit me perfectly.’ She found the degree ‘extremely demanding yet intellectually stimulating… I gained the skills of thinking analytically and developing arguments in a systematic manner. These skills will definitely come in handy in my future legal career. ‘We hope so!
The May/June 2016 examination results have been released. For many of you the results will be a relief; you will be able to cry ‘I’ve passed!’ Others will not be so fortunate. I congratulate all of you who achieved what you worked hard to attain; I commiserate with those who did not. I encourage all of you to be thankful for those who have supported you this past year; your loved ones, family, friends, study companions and lecturers. I’m sure they will be there for you – whatever your results!