“I can see clearly now…”

July 2, 2014

Johnny Nash - I can see clearly now album cover

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.

I can see all obstacles in my way.

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.

For as long as i can remember; and I guess to a degree that distinguished me (in all its good and bad) from some other students at school or university I have loved to study. Not just as a means to an end but as a process in its own right; but it is perhaps only recently that I have began to examine that opening statement in any great detail and through that hopefully in today’s blog (as I sit at my desk on a rainy Shanghai afternoon) throw some light as to why that might be; and hopefully through that understanding shed some light on the all important aspect of any exam related studies: recall.

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“common threads…”

June 11, 2014

“Both the world of fashion and the Court of Chancery are things of precedent and usage…” 

so Charles Dickens tells us in the opening paragraph of Chapter 2 in Bleak House. And by so doing he gives us the courage to make the leap of faith (as so many of his writings do) to connect in our imagination things that we might never have conceived of as somehow connected; nor indeed had the courage to so connect.

It is the very breed of courage that Maya Angelou speaks of when she said:

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

And I hope; it is the kind of courage that at age 53 has enabled and empowered me amidst a very active business life, running a small psychotherapy practice and a somewhat large recording studio (seemingly irreconcilable “threads” you might at first imagine) and an even more active family life (with my lovely wife Chanel and my two children Charlie aged 8 & Catherine aged 2) to embark upon an International Programmes LLB.

LLB student and new blogger Mark Pummell

LLB student and new blogger Mark Pummell

But there it is and here I am; and all in all I am very happy to have been accepted as a new blogger on this the University of London International Programmes – Official Student Blog. I have a mind to write about some matters that particularly relate to the study of law but also hope to touch on something to do with the subject of study; in particular something of the beauty of the process of studying rather than perhaps the rather more often visited “managing exam terror”/”how to learn 300 cases in six minutes”/”how to remember everything your tutor ever told you” etc. kind of posts and something of the joy/s (there I said it) of being a self-study student (which I am) but I am also very open to tackle any topics that our blog readers would like discussed if I feel I have something of real interest to say on said topic; so please feel free to suggest away!!!

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Should you get yourself a study partner?

March 20, 2014

I’m sure some of you have study groups or study with friends or even have study partners. However I have never studied in a group and as a student who is not registered at an institute at the moment, I wasn’t meeting fellow LLB students. This year is different. As part of my fool proof plan to make my final academic year the best, I found myself a study partner. In fact, my study partner thankfully found me.

Approximately two months ahead of exams I thought of analyzing the pros and cons of studying with a partner in case you were thinking of revising in groups.

My study partner, Sarasi and I met during our first year of study when we were both registered at the same institute in Colombo. We were both working full-time so even though we shared the challenges we faced and talked about studying together, we never found the time to actually do so. Now two years later, Sarasi is living in London and we were determined to find the time to study together.

Sandarenu and Sarasi

Sandarenu and Sarasi

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A Journey to the Centre of the Mind

February 10, 2014

October 2013 was a breeze when life at the University of London had just begun. By December 2013, the sails picked wind and the cruise sailed comfortably till the new calendar remained out of gaze.

Man studying with hair standing on endOn the morning of 1st January 2014, the hair on the head began experiencing an anti-gravity pull.

Responsibilities at work were piling, eating into valuable study time. Festivities and celebrations were becoming botherations.

A cricket commentator would say … the asking rate is rising; wickets are falling and overs getting exhausted without adequate runs on the board.

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The snakes and ladders of study

December 2, 2013

A lamp and laptop with University of London International Programmes portal.My London LLB box was opened a month back. With all arrangements complete, books placed tidily on shelves, stationery of all kinds neatly arranged in drawers, laptop powered and connected to the net… it’s time for lights, camera, action!

I pick up my new jet-black Waterman and ink the first word on my new exercise notebook, almost in school-like cursive writing, when… pause! Water.

Back at the desk with glass in hand, the meandering mind starts wandering, eventually finding its way inside the hall for the graduation ceremony in the Barbican Centre, academically attired in the flowing silk gown as Her Royal Highness rises to speak. A sense of pride flashes by as the thunderous applause of the audience greats The Princess Royal. Dream within dreams, the journey moves on to Senate House, Russell Square and on, for hours together, till… snap!

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Here’s to new beginnings…

November 14, 2013

I have attempted to write this blog post on new beginnings, several times during the last month, only to leave it incomplete. I couldn’t bring myself to write it because for me, it didn’t feel like the academic year had actually begun. Yes, I had selected the subjects for the year, registered online, and even downloaded the subject guides but I didn’t have any hard evidence to pull me out of my prolonged holiday bliss.

Then I came home last evening to find the now familiar cardboard box marked University of London. For a moment I just stood there looking at it. My books had arrived. Procrastination was not an option anymore. The new academic year had indeed begun.

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University hopper @ 41, once more!

October 25, 2013

Last month, one sultry afternoon I was busy in my office finalising a particularly delicate audit report, when my wife’s SMS queued in ‘…your Fedex box is in…’

Jumping off my chair, I dashed out, hopped into my car and navigated through the busy streets of Calcutta as if my life was on fire and reached home in no time! My wife’s eyebrows narrowed as if she was staring at a ghost ‘…are you well? All okay at the office…?’ My 14-year-old daughter was smart to sense my reason for exhilaration and wasted no time bargaining for her share of the pie for giving me my ‘box’. Twenty-four years after stepping out of college, KK-Blogs1I could feel my teenage excitement once again as I leafed through the fresh pages of my newly arrived University of London International Programmes LLB study guides. True, I had seen it all a couple of weeks earlier through the highly sophisticated prism of our ‘VLE’, but the reality of the ‘oven-fresh’ pages far overwhelmed all virtues of virtuality. I was rejuvenated, almost therapeutically.

So what, on earth, my friends questioned, did a (luckily) fairly well established business professional dream of, to be motivated into a UoL degree of law all over again? Honestly, the decision was driven not so much by the brain as much it was by the heart. The story goes a year back, when one day staring at the majestic Himalayas on a rather romantic holiday, my notion of career, fame and accomplishment suddenly took an unreasoned U-turn.

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My checklist for making the most out of what is left of the holidays

August 5, 2013

LLB blogger Sandarenu enjoys her holidays.

The well-deserved break is almost over and the next academic year is just around the corner. The break has been pure bliss which is why you haven’t had a blog post from me for a while. With what is left of the precious holiday, this is how I plan to make the best out of it.

1. Spend time with family and friends

My family and friends have suffered while I had my head buried on the books so I’ve made sure I have spent quality time with family and friends. I’ve taken trips with family, spent time giggling and gossiping with my girlfriends and not missed a single event I was invited to. It’s refreshing to spend time with your loved ones and makes up for all the times you’ve had to take rain checks because you were too busy attending lectures or cramming for exams. Besides, we have another academic year ahead of us, we need them to be patient and understanding while we are busy earning our degrees.

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Plan B

May 1, 2013

Plan B

One lesson I learnt from the last academic year is to plan better. I had this fool proof study schedule for this time; at least I thought I did. It had the number of hours, the areas to be covered and exactly what I hoped to achieve each day. I had planned the specific chapters from study guides to revise, pages I’d read from text books, cases I needed to find and read online and past paper questions I would attempt.

I had considered that I take longer to read Trust Law material than Tort Law, when allocating time for the subjects. I had tried to be as specific and practical as possible. I had considered all my personal and professional commitments. I was all set for the exams. Except there was one thing I had forgotten to consider in my schedule; Life. I had not realized that sometimes when we have a plan for life, life can have a different one for us.

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Studies and real life

April 7, 2013

Hi, everyone.

I have decided to write a post on the applicability of the knowledge you get while studying at UOL LLB in real life.

I have to repeat that I am lawyer already and work as such but I do not have a QLD in the English law and I am studying for this degree in order to understand and apply English contract law solutions for my current project, where many contracts are generated on a daily basis and almost all of them are, by the selection of the parties, governed by the substantive laws of England.

As I wrote before, my studies got a bit overextended due to my own poor time-management skills. However, even being not so productive as required by the study plan, I gained some knowledge of the English law of contracts, enough to understand the basics and to help the business I am employed by.

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