'Bend. Snatch. And Get that Tea' Things My Seniors Never Told Me

  • High School
Ain Cho ('23)

       I began the interview by asking an icebreaker question: If you were a fruit, what kind of fruit would you be? To which Alexandra remarked that she would be orange because she has “tough skin”, she then said that “I'd like to think that I'm actually sweet! I won't lie - sometimes I'm sour when I'm not in a good mood.” Christina, on the other hand, confessed that she  would be a mango because they are “sweet but tangy, which I feel describes my personality”.    

     

 

Alexandra Street and Christina Ono graduated from Seisen in 2016, and are aspiring lawyers! We’ll start with Alexandra Street.

  

   

Alexandra Street

 

What university did you want to go to during your IB years, and why?

 

I had always wanted to go to university in England since I had family there. My father is British so I wanted to explore that side of my identity as well. I also knew I wanted to study law, but going to university in the US meant that I had to do a general undergraduate degree first and then go to law school which would take up too much time.

 

Did you go to your dream school? And if so, did you enjoy your experience?

 

I went to Durham University for my undergraduate degree and studied Law (LLB). It became my dream school after I visited the university in my junior year. I liked how Durham was quaint yet lively with students. I didn't want to be in a city because I grew up in one and knew that I'd be working in a city in the future.

"I enjoyed going there because the town was mainly the university so I felt safe and comfortable."

After graduating, I went to the University of Oxford for my Masters in Law and Finance. I would say that it was my top choice when I was applying because of its prestige and history. Despite the fact that I went during the pandemic, I really enjoyed having this opportunity to meet people of different ages and backgrounds. 

 

How did you take care of your mental health when you were an IB student? 

 

I made sure I got good sleep, which meant I was usually in bed by 10 or 11 pm. You really should not have to be pulling all-nighters as an IB or university student! But this means managing your time well. I also stayed active. In high school, I played varsity basketball and I continued playing for the university teams. I still go for runs and do pilates (or yoga when I feel like I need to wind down and relax). It helps me clear my mind and manage my time well.

 

How have you changed from being an IB student to a university student? (The way you perceive society, people, your mindset, your values, etc.)

 

I have definitely become more commercially and politically aware. It's important to understand what is going on in the world so that you can have meaningful conversations with others and be in touch with your own values. This may sound cliche, but I honestly think that everything happens for a reason and if something is meant to be, it will be.

"It took me many job rejections and subsequent acceptances to realize this and not compare myself to other people."

I now know that my timeline for achieving goals does not have to be the same as that of my peers. I've learned to be grateful for the setbacks that I've gone through even though it was not a great feeling at the moment. 


 

What is something you wish someone had told you before going to law school?

 

In England or Wales, you don't have to study law to become a lawyer as you can convert your degree.

 

Why did you go to law school?

 

I've always liked debating and making arguments. At school, I loved history because there was no one right answer to an event, and it was a field filled with many different perspectives. Law is very similar as it is not black or white (other than black letter law which are established rules that are not disputable). I was also curious to learn how legal frameworks shape society. 

 

Was law school just how you imagined it to be like or was it totally different?

 

I had to do a lot more reading than I imagined! 

 

How are your relationships with your uni professors? Is it different from the relationships you have at school?

 

It's harder to build relationships with professors just because classes are bigger and you don't see them as often (maybe once a week at your lecture). But professors usually have office hours where you can drop by their office if you've got questions. For example, I used to see my Commercial Law professor a lot and she kindly wrote references for me because she knew me a lot by the end. My dissertation supervisor was also another professor that I got to know better.

 

How is Japan different from the UK? How did you deal with the change? 

 

Japan is a very homogenous society. It's a lot safer than the UK, but I feel as though I am judged a lot more if I don't look or act a certain way. I rarely felt homesick because I was always quite busy studying, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. 
 

 

When you were in high school, did you get any pressure from your parents, guardians, etc? If so, how did you deal with it? 

 

I didn't get pressured in terms of working - they actually pressured me to relax and take more time off. I put pressure on myself, which was counterproductive at times. I'm still trying to manage this by taking more time off and really thinking about the grand scheme of things instead of just being in the moment.

 

 Christina Ono

 

What university did you want to go to during your IB years, and why?

 

I wanted to go to USC because of their renowned art history program and the beautiful campus. I was also interested in attending university in London because of the culture and history although I never had a particular university in mind.

 

Did you go to your dream school? And if so, did you enjoy your experience?

 

In a way, I did attend my dream school in London. I really enjoyed my time there. I was able to meet so many different people and have valuable experiences that will forever stick to me. I especially enjoyed exploring London and seeing various parts of the city. There is still so much more I want to see and do. 
 

 

How did you take care of your mental health when you were an IB student?

 

I liked reading fiction in my free time and immersing myself in a story. I also saw my friends a lot and those moments helped me forget about studying for the time-being. I still do read in my free time but now I spend more time exercising. It helps to have the endorphins running.

"I feel it's really important to carve out self-care time throughout the day for your mental health."

It helps you reset and motivates you to get work done. You also do not want to end up burning out. 

 

How have you changed from being an IB student to a university student?

 

I became more open-minded throughout university. You realise that there are so many things you do not know. You meet so many different people and have new experiences. These moments taught me how vast the world is (as cheesy as that sounds) and it definitely shaped me to become more curious and open-minded. 

 

Why did you choose history?

 

I chose history because I like learning about why things are the way they are. It is fascinating to be able to see current events and understand their past and origin, for example, the UK's role in the EU and how that shaped Brexit is an important one.

"I also wanted to learn more about my country and Asian culture in general because I wanted to see how certain customs and traditions came to be and how that affected me."

I also feel studying history makes you more open-minded because you understand cultural differences and can empathize with different people. 
 

 

What is something you wish someone had told you before going to law school?

 

While I was aware of the workload, I did not realise how difficult it would be to manage my time. I would end up studying non-stop and take no time off. I realised that it is much more productive to have shorter periods of undisturbed studying and take breaks to reset. 
 

 

Why did you go to law school?

 

I went to law school because I realised during my undergraduate that I wanted to be a solicitor. Many of the skill sets I gained from studying history were applicable to being a solicitor. I also had prior legal experience before law school which I enjoyed very much. 
 

 

Was law school just how you imagined it to be like or was it totally different?

 

It was a bit different than I imagined. I thought I would be spending more time in the classroom, but it was very balanced between independent and in-person work. I think law school in the UK focuses more on independent work than in the US. 

 

How are your relationships with your uni professors?

 

It was a different relationship because you spend less time with them and they have so many other students to teach. Sometimes you would have a professor for only one semester, so you would have to make the effort to go see them after class. Nonetheless, I had professors that I maintained close relationships with. 

 

How is Japan different from the UK, and how did you cope with the change?

 

Japan is different from the UK because it is more homogenous. I felt more free in the UK because I am able to speak English everywhere and people are more carefree. However, I do feel homesick from time to time because of my family, the food and the convenience as well as safety in Japan. 

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