'A life changing experience': University of Buckingham graduate reflects on her experience on law course as it turns 25

Steffi Nials
Steffi Nials

The University of Buckingham's part-time law course celebrates 25 years in 2019 and one its hundreds of student success stories is Steffi Nials.

Steffi, now 39, graduated from the course in 2016, after she began studying the course just after having a baby.

Steffi, who is originally from Germany said: “I began studying at the University of Buckingham when I was 33 years old, after living locally for around four years.

"I always wanted to learn a profession but I wasn’t sure what.

"I had never considered studying law because I had a career in telecommunications and I didn’t think that I had the brains for it.

"I began looking at universities that were close to me and the only suitable course I could find was the part-time course in law which the University of Buckingham offered.

"As I just had a baby, I was not able to study full time and it was so close to my doorstep so I thought that I must give it a try.

"Law was totally new to me and admittedly, the first year was quite challenging.

"Language wise I had to get used to new terms and I also had to find a routine to fit my studies around looking after the baby and my family.

"The staff and lecturers of the university were so supportive and encouraging, helping me to get there.

"We had weekly lectures in the evenings and it was really helpful to meet with both the lecturers and fellow pupils face-to-face to go through the material.

"We were able to ask questions, clarify anything we did not understand and could help each other rather than having far less contact as you do with an online course, which many part time courses tend to be.

"As a mature student, it was inspiring studying alongside people who were in the same or a similar situation as me, either working full time or having other responsibilities and commitments.

"During the four years at the university, I have gained so much.

"I have learned a lot about myself, I have found what I was looking for in terms of career progression, I have made great friends and I actually ended up graduating with a first-class degree!

"Overall, I would say that it has been a life changing experience.

"I am very proud of my achievements and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of boosting their current career or who just wants to try something new.

"My career has completely changed direction - I am now working as a paralegal in Milton Keynes with a view to becoming a trainee solicitor very soon.”

Since 2005 47% of students on the university's part-time law course have come from Buckingham including the surrounding villages and Milton Keynes.

Another 30% of students on the course come from nearby locations including Aylesbury, Oxford and London.

Over the years graduates on the part-time law course have taken on roles including solicitors and paralegals whilst others have ventured into opening their own law firms, including Pauline Purcell, who runs Purcell Solicitors in Milton Keynes.

Any students who studied on the part-time law course over the past 25 years are invited to attend a reunion event on March 9.

An afternoon tea takes place at the Ondaatje Hall to be followed by a black tie dinner at Tanlaw Mill.

Tickets for the event cost £25 per person and can be booked by e-mailing elsbeth.millar@buckingham.ac.uk.