21 September 2020

'This is the part where I figure out what's next'

Katie Sawyer graduated in 2020. In the first instalment of a diary documenting her first year as a graduate, she looks back at an extraordinary final year at UEA and at the path ahead as she steps into a new career.

Part 2 and Part 3 are also now available to read.

This summer has been different from most, to say the least. I bleached my hair, for starters. Then there was a global pandemic. Oh, and I graduated with no idea what I will be doing for the next year...

This time last year I had finished my English Literature degree at Newcastle University. I already had my next step planned out and when September 2019 came, I started the Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies at UEA. 

I went into the course knowing that it was going to be a super intense nine months and imagined I would be spending most of my time in the library. I also thought that this would mean I spend most of my time on campus alone and getting on with work.  But then I ended up meeting some incredible people on my course and they ended up being both a distraction from overwhelming myself with the work of the course, but also my biggest help.

We tackled our January exams together, with day-long revision sessions either in the library or round my friend Sophie’s house. In both cases we were fuelled by non-stop cups of tea. We would test each other, plan answers and convince one another that we could pass the exams.


The view on Katie's regular 1-hour lockdown walk



By the time our summer exams rolled around the situation had changed. We still drank a lot of tea but now we were having our revision sessions in four different houses and over Zoom. Our exams were no longer took two hours but 24 hours and open book. We had to completely change tactics, but we stuck together through it all. 

Once exams were over we still kept in touch. We even managed to meet up the other week for the first time since March. We are all getting on with different things now we have adjusted to this new normal. Although we don’t see each other in lectures and seminars, we check-in with each other in our group chat and try to meet up when we can.

Now that I have graduated from UEA it’s the first time I don’t have a set plan. I know I want to be a solicitor, but this is the part where I figure out how to get there.

I currently have a job where I am working from home but with a schedule which gives me the time to do applications for my career. I am ready for a long stream of applications and rejections, but hopefully I’ll have some successes along the way.


Katie completed the Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies at UEA, graduating in 2020.

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