This week on the blog we’re talking to current BARBRI student Aurelia Pyneeandee, who’s giving us an insight into what her typical week looks like while she’s juggling studying for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), her full-time job at a law firm, tutoring and her side hustle as a content creator.
Aurelia, also known online as The Legal Mermaid, studied law in France at Paris Pantheon Sorbonne, where she obtained an LLB and a Master’s in International Commercial Law. She then went on to graduate from Swansea University with an LLM in International Maritime Law and is now living in London while studying on our 40-week SQE1 Prep course. Over to you Aurelia…
9.15am – On my way to work, I grab a vegan sausage roll from Greggs and try my best not to be late for the weekly meeting. There is a lot to do this week with deadlines and witness statements to process, but I am sure I can do it!
12.50pm – Took me the whole morning to get up to date with emails and attend meetings. I get a Tesco meal deal, chicken Caesar wrap, Evian and cereal bar are on the menu today. While eating, I listen to a Legal Services lecture about money laundering and try to organise my week.
6pm – No time to waste as I quickly change into my gym outfit to attend Jive class. I feel a bit drained from the day, which will not help much as Jive is an intense dancing class, but I need my mind to escape and to focus on something else than working or studying.
8pm – Made it back home and en route for a well-deserved shower, before reading some chapters on Legal Services in bed and making some flashcards. I don’t feel motivated at all, so I will only do that for tonight.
10am – Feeling overly excited as I am attending a meeting for Women in Maritime held by Maritime UK. I always love getting involved in these events and can’t wait to see what we can work on to raise awareness.
12.20pm – At the office and I don’t think I will have time to study during the day. We have way too much going on with the referencing of witness statements and other amendments to serve on time.
6pm – Always on the run at the beginning of the week, as I am giving two French classes and one English class tonight. It’s been hard lately to have the work, studies and tutoring all together, although I just love teaching and it often boosts my mood. Guess I will just have to be a little bit more organized than usual!
8.50pm – I don’t feel particularly hungry so I will just do some SQE1 practice tests tonight. I don’t find it that hard to have mixed subjects within the tests, but the number of questions is the one thing I hate. I seem to lose focus as the questions go on, and of course lose points. I will definitely work more on my endurance.
9.30am – At work and these deadlines are stressing me out!
12.35pm – Lunch break and time for some lectures on Business Law. I find it so fascinating how the civil system can be so different than common law, and how it works here. I have some difficulties understanding some wording, but luckily, I studied Business Law in France previously, so I translate the words to have a better grasp of the key roles.
7pm – I had to postpone the classes I was meant to give to later this evening. I need to help one student with her upcoming A-Level mock exam in French, and another with her classes in Admiralty Law. I am a bit more excited about the latter because I love maritime law, especially Admiralty Law and its technicalities on salvage, maritime pollution, and collision.
9.45pm – Considering whether I should study or have an early night as tomorrow will be a long day at work. Finally decided to study by doing some fast tests on the Business law lectures I listened to during the day. My score is not so bad, but I feel that some good answers were lucky because I struggled with how the questions were phrased.
9am – Got to work a little bit earlier this time as we have a deadline today.
1.25pm – Viewing some lectures while eating a Chicken Katsu Curry with rice from my Japanese spot. I went to the restaurant this time as I needed to step away from work for a bit. I don’t know what time I will leave so I need to be out, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.
2pm – Lunch break is over and I’m on my way back to the office. I post an Instagram reel I made and share some stories on my Legal Mermaid page.
10pm – Still at work and honestly think I will stay here till midnight. For some reason, I feel relaxed and confident about this deadline. We will make it in time, and I am happy, somehow, to finally be challenged. I know this is every now and then, plus my team is here with me and we’re all working together, which makes it easier on me. I am experiencing what it could also entail to be a solicitor and it is good to see that side.
12.15am – Made it safely to home and we did it! I will not study tonight and head straight to bed.
8.30am – There are some strikes today so I am working from home. Since I start work in one hour, I am going to have a small walk in Regent’s Park with a hot chocolate. It’s a beautiful day, cold, but the park is so peaceful and quiet. Exactly what I need to recharge the batteries for the last working day of the week.
1pm – Lunch break. While I cook some filled gnocchi for lunch, I take a test in Contract Law. I got 75%, and I am so happy because at the last test I got 52%. Getting there slowly but surely!
6pm – Work is over. The workload was quite light today, so I read a few chapters in Tort Law now and then. I still have one hour or so for me to finish listening to the last lectures in Dispute Resolution.
8.45pm – Finally ready to hit the restaurant and enjoy Friday night with my girlfriends. I am not entirely satisfied with my results at this point, and also feel that I don’t fully understand everything, but tomorrow is another day and I am sure I will succeed eventually.
9.45am – Starting the day with Brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn in Notting Hill with a friend. Their pancakes are to die for and just what I need to end a hectic week. I also browse Notting Hill, enjoy the vibe, take a few pictures and head back home.
12.15pm – I stop by Primark and Zara on my way home, before arriving and working a little on Legal Mermaid, my blog/Instagram page. I want to make a reel about the meeting I had with Women in Maritime this week and prepare some content for my collaboration with BARBRI. So excited to unleash my creativity!
2pm – Quick snack and off I go to study. I grab my notes to refresh my memory then practice with some tests. Today, I will focus on Business Law, Contract Law, and Tort Law. For some reason I struggle to remember the different rules in Business Law, so I will quickly check the Revision book from BARBRI as I saw they have more diagrams and tables to understand the key ideas.
8.30pm – I am supposed to go to a house party tonight, but I really don’t feel like it, plus I am on a good rhythm to continue studying. Perhaps I can get a head start on next weeks’ assessments. I will just treat myself and order some GDK (German Doner Kebab) before going back to studying.
10am – After having a bit of a lie-in, or “grasse mat” as we call it in French, I make a quick acai bowl with granola and eat my breakfast in front of the weekly video of McFly and Carlito (two French Youtubers). I like chill mornings like this, as I can have some me-time and do a bit of journaling.
11.15am – I get ready to go to my Krav Maga training. I have been practicing for a year now and love it. It truly helps me to release stress and clear my mind for another week of studying.
1pm – Training is over! I am exhausted but feeling great about my performance and meeting up with my classmates. I am going to eat at one of my favourite Italian places by the Krav Maga centre with two of my close training friends, then get some groceries on my way back home.
3pm – Back home and heading straight to the shower, before running some errands. I still need to make a quiche from the ingredients I bought earlier to take to work for lunch.
4.30pm – Done with the laundry and quiche is in the oven, so I start studying. I need to read some chapters on Dispute Resolution, which is a module I love because the hearing I am working on at the moment makes what I am learning more concrete. But first, I’m going to do some practice tests that I did not have the time to do during the week. I am a bit stressed because my grade has gone down lately (from 72% to 59%). Hopefully a meeting with my Learning Coach this week will help me to find out what the issue is, and what I can do to get better scores.
10pm – Me-time again! I put my books on the side, turn my iPad off and try the new Korean skincare products I ordered. I started a little pampering ritual every Sunday evening to put myself in an optimal mindset and get me ready for a new week. It helps me after the intense rhythm of working and studying full-time, to recentre my focus and feel all brand new. Finally, after my spa ritual, I make some homemade popcorn to watch Wakanda Forever on Disney+.
For more of an insight into the SQE1 Prep course, download our course sample materials here, or try our course for free by downloading our Prep Preview tool.