My First Semester – Rose Pommeray

My name is Rose and I started at the Grande Ecole du Droit last fall. Before university, I lived in Oslo, Norway and at the end of high school I had no idea of what I wanted to do. It was very complicated to find information as I couldn’t visit the universities, go to conferences, I didn’t even have a guidance counsellor… I knew I wanted to study law, but I was looking for something a little more specific so I started looking on internet and on APB for a selective university course. For a long time, I planned entering a “classe préparatoire”, a double diploma in law and economy, law and philosophy, law and just something else… I ended up finding the Grande Ecole du Droit. I sent my application and got in after an oral examination through Skype with Pr. Magnier. I passed my baccalauréat and left Oslo at the end of June.

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©Audrey Ailloud/Elina Rougeau

University is a thousand miles from high school. In Oslo, we were 16 in my class and I arrived in September in an amphitheater full of people. Among other things, it changes the relationship you have with the teacher: I used to ask questions as soon as I didn’t understand something, the rhythm of the course was adapted to us… In a university course, you take notes, you can eventually ask a question during one of the two 10 minutes’ breaks but it stays very anonymous. I was quite frustrated about it at first, but the courses were so interesting and the teachers so good that I accepted it fast, but I was still very happy to start the Grande Ecole du Droit courses. As a selective diploma, we are only 30 to follow each Grande Ecole du Droit course and I enjoyed being in a class and interacting again with a teacher. Our American Law course for example is organized like a course in an American university: the teacher presents a topic and asks questions about it that we answer all together. Of course, you need to prepare the topic before going to class: University gives you a lot of autonomy, which is good but also very demanding. I have learned a lot these past few months and grown tremendously as a person. It takes a lot of organizing and responsibility to succeed at university. The Grande Ecole du Droit helped and helps me with this complicated aspect of university through the personal support we get from the older students (second and third year students). A tutoring system is set up each year when new students attend the Grande Ecole du Droit and we all get a tutor to whom we can ask specific questions about anything we struggle with in our studies. Second year students also offer to organise coaching sessions on methodology and different subjects first year students struggle with. This whole system is very reassuring and made the transition from high school far easier that it would have been if I had attended only a classic “licence de droit”.

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©Christophe Rabinovici

University is an infinite source of knowledge and we have very good and inspiring teachers at the Jean Monnet Faculty. However, courses are very theoretical and academic, and the only way to think about and try building our professional future is to find and attend Conferences, which often take place at the same time as our courses… University in general doesn’t provide help to look in the future and be ready for professional reality. This is a major asset of the Grande Ecole du Droit: we have a course called “Soft Skills and Professional Project” (delivered by a Partner from EY Law Firm, Stéphane Baller) which is all about preparing us for the future. I must confess it both stresses me and reassures me. It forces me to focus on my professional future, though being a vague and abstract notion, but I have learned so much in such a short period from Stéphane Baller that I think of the future more peacefully.

I have learned a lot throughout this Semester, and I’m very satisfied with the choice I made to attend the Jean Monnet faculty and the Grande Ecole du Droit. It can be difficult and stressful at times, but I am far more confident than I was six months ago and I am ready for this second semester.

Rose Pommeray

Nota Bene: If you want to apply, you will find the Grande Ecole du Droit on APB (Diplôme d’Etudes Juridiques Comparatives et Internationales, Faculté Jean Monnet, Université Paris XI).