Get ready: You have no friends out there!

As I already alluded to in my earlier post the first few days, weeks were pretty savage and possibly the best thing that happened to me. Because it really gives you very different perspective. And if you do not change how you used to think and what you used to do, that will be your biggest tragedy. Because all of this happened for a reason and in the days after the Not-competent-result you are supposed to stop and reflect. You will also be extremely angry and that's ok, you supposed to be! But you will also be very surprised and start to see your surroundings differently.

The following was inevitable yet shocked me:

1. No one talks about it. No one wants to talk about it. No one prepares for it. No one knows what to do with it.

The upside is that no one expects anything from you anymore. I mean it is not, great but at least some pressures are gone! You have more control than ever over what are you going to do next. This can be scary because your beautiful plan just went to s*it but hey, you are free to make a new one. Possibly even better one than the old one.

But the sad truth is many people just do not know how to respond to this news, sympathise or not to sympathise? For instance, when someone dies you pay your respects and express your condolences. Here, with the BPTC, no one even knows how to react! You were supposed to be their "lawyer" after all, and now what?!

Your peers will practically run away from you, for the above reason: they just don't know what to say to you, they passed and you didn't: does it get more awkward? They have no idea how to act, you have no idea how to act, so let there be silence. Personally, I have never been jealous of my peers passing the course and I know for a fact there is a number of people from my former law school who support me greatly, but the BPTC overall or failing of it as a topic will not be discussed, at least not until few drinks later.

What I wish I had been told in the days after my results is that this situation is not a reflection on me and my abilities and that I will figure it out. That's all. Like condolences, does absolutely nothing to the recipient but it is far less irritating that "everything will be FINE just calm down".

2. Your provider will not help you.

To quote the classic phrase "get it through your head" you are on your own - entirely on your own as far as your provider is concerned. You paid them 20k for the course and not for ''support'' when it all eventually goes to s*it. It was your responsibility to pass! You didn't so that's on you.

Indeed it is. This result may not be a reflection on you but it was your responsibility. Choose your battles wisely here. You can argue with you provider over pretty much anything and there is a lot of horror stories out there about providers' incompetence, but it is unlikely that you will get very far. You paid them and they provided you with services, they have no other obligation or duty over you success. The success duty/obligation is your own.

3. The BSB does not actually care that much

In my experience the BSB is the most disinterested organisation on the surface of the earth. They are also highly protective of their "secret" procedures. Do you want to know what happened with you exam? How it was marked? Want to SEE the marked paper?! Nooo! Forget it! Centralised exams are a matter of national security and can never be shown to anybody externally. What you can do is pay 60 pounds for a "check" which no one will ever tell you what exactly it involves or how it was carried out. If you do get some information out of them it will be along the lines of: "yes we checked the spread sheets... we checked our calculations... the result remains the same, sorry".

4. So... are you still... thinking about... becoming.... a lawyer

No one will/should not judge you if you say: no, I am done. This is actually pretty wise. You tried, it did not work out and you are onto your next thing. This is very healthy option. I like it. But I have these tendencies to be persistent, as I am sure many others who go on to do the whole course again having failed it once.

When I was asked the lawyer question point blank it was about 2 months after the failure news started spreading. It felt insane to even consider doing the 18k course again. But the question was about becoming a lawyer. I was asked this only once. (No one asked me since in fact.) I thought no one would dare to ask, but there is always one. I had to answer. Instinctively, I really wanted to swerve the question but this one was not swerve-able so I answered: Yes. The position remains the same. The ideas and means are different!

5. Removing all the references from the CV, LinkedIn profile and informing other institutions about it

There is something very horrid about this part of the Not-competent chapter. I had placements lined up and offers from places on the table. This is the part where I have to turn around and tell them, look people, thank you for your offer/s but I failed the BPTC and I would be grateful if you could still take me on? This part is actually worse than failing the course. Because you have to face your potential future or current employers, your mentors and other people who you just have to tell. There is no subtle way of doing it, I don't think. You cannot hide it either because it is a significant change in circumstances and it is unethical to identify oneself as a BPTC graduate when in fact one is not! People who gave you a scholarship would be particularly interested to know as well.

6. Who am I? Honest and open-minded approach.

Student? Former student? Graduate? Failed graduate? Employee? Inn member? Intern? Unemployed former student with no professional qualification? Everything really and whatever you want to be. I decided to refer to my undergraduate in my introductions with an ambition to become a barrister in England eventually. In my introductions do not openly broadcast the fact I already attempted the course once unless asked point blank, which has not happened yet!

When you get to ''surprise number 6'', you are almost healed. I really should stop making these references... but this could be your acceptance stage.


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