1. There is still a lot to learn
There are loads of things that law school does not teach you. You may be highly proficient at doing legal research and writing but your potential will be limited if you do not pick up soft skills that are needed to help you progress further in your career. It is the lack of such skills that result in many law graduates feeling frustrated, angry and dissatisfied with their jobs. Communication, time management and being able to pick up social cues are just some examples. Other than soft skills, greater awareness, knowledge and experience of the world are also needed for a freshly minted lawyer. Travelling can help you gain all these skills if, and only if, you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and treat the world as your teacher.
2. Discover the importance of the law in problem-solving
Some popular regions of the world to go backpacking are Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. These regions comprise of mainly developing nations and infrastructure may not be a strong as the country that you are from. If you are a person from a developed country, you may not see the failures in society caused by the lack of proper infrastructure and governance. Travelling will give you the chance to see first-hand the fragile world that we live in. It will provide you with the opportunity to reflect and think about how the law plays a major part in the development of sustainable solutions to tackle societal problems. After all, why receive an education if it is not used to make the world a better place.
Do your research and prepare ahead. For example, you might want to read up on that country’s legal history, landmark decisions and modes of access to justice before making a visit. Read as widely as you can. Exercise your inquisitive nature and just have fun with it. There are no limits when it comes to learning. By having the relevant knowledge at your fingertips, you will be able to see how society has been shaped by the law. When you eventually start applying for jobs, impress potential employers during interviews with the insights you gained while travelling.
3. Build an international network
The world is more interconnected than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Travelling is a great way to learn about a new country, it’s culture and how people in that country think and operate. All of this will help you when you are put in a cross-cultural team and are required to deliver results within tight deadlines despite the differences that you may have with other team members.
As a traveller, you are bound to meet other travellers along the way. Take the opportunity to make new friends as much as you can. Through the people that you meet, tap into their experiences by conversing with them and in return, you can gain a greater awareness of the world. Everyone you meet is a potential employer, client, business partner or colleague and there is a possibility of some sort of collaboration in the future. However, do exercise your good judgment of character. There are loads of cheats and scam artists out there as well!
When you do meet people, use technology and social media to maintain these relationships. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just to name a few. Go all out to build your international network and remember that your network is essentially your net worth. With increasing levels of competition, your network is extremely important if you want to keep your career dreams alive.
4. Build your confidence
Who says that backpacking is going to be all fun and games? There are lots to deal with while travelling. Limited finances, having to deal with loneliness at times and long hours on the road are just some examples. Through it all, you will undoubtedly emerge stronger. Going through hardship and pressure (given the right attitude) forces you to learn and grow as a person. You can take these experiences to the workplace. There will be many ups and downs. It is going to be tough but because you took some time to travel and discover yourself, you are now more self-aware and familiar with what your strengths and weaknesses are. With this, you know what you are capable and truly made off. This increases the likelihood of you being able to effectively deal with challenges that might come your way.
5. Treat it as a break
Law school is tough and you have put in your 100% over the last few years to complete your Law programme and graduate. It is time that you take a break and clear your mind before starting a new chapter in your life. The increasing demands of the world and the pounding pressure to perform well, earn a high income and get ahead of the race is only going to increase. This is coupled with the fact that you are going to have to deal with the long hours, tight deadlines and demands from clients. It will be difficult to just go off on a trip and see the world once you are thrown into a law firm environment. Pack your bags and book your tickets! This may be the last time you can be young and free. You deserve this break!
Time to hit the road
Embark on a journey of discovery to learn soft skills, reflect on how far you have come, put everything into perspective and gain insights that can help you learn how to constantly grow as a person through learning and keeping an open mind. All of which will help you sustain your career and limit the risk of burning out.