I am a strong proponent of taking charge of your own decisions and not blindly following the crowd.
Srijana Regmi (LLM ‘19) is currently studying towards a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) at the University of Oxford. Previously, she worked as a legal officer for the Nepali government and as an anti-money laundering analyst at a major bank in Poland. She reflects on her experience studying law The Australian National University (ANU), transition to Oxford and aspirations for the future.
What were some of the highlights of your time at ANU College of Law?
I absolutely enjoyed all the lectures, seminars and social events alike. If I must pick some of the highlights, they would have to be: 1) The daunting yet magnificent experience of writing a thesis; and 2) My friendships with wonderful people who enriched my life and continue to do so.
What influenced the decision to pursue your MPhil?
I have always been interested in academia. My fascination for research grew further while I was writing my thesis at ANU. Having a topic that was exciting and a supervisor who was encouraging helped a great deal. Towards the end of my thesis research, I realised that I wanted to take my research a step ahead and study it in a more detailed way. That is when I decided to apply for an MPhil.
Is there an ANU Law academic you found inspiring or influential?
I have been greatly inspired by Associate Professor Ryan Goss, who was the course convener for the International Human Rights Law (LAWS8234) course and my thesis supervisor. I was impressed by his immense knowledge in the area of human rights, his ability to explain complex ideas in simple terms and his method of teaching which encouraged us, students, to be analytical. As my thesis supervisor, Associate Professor Goss was constantly supportive, very forgiving and uplifting. He is also a University of Oxford alumnus, which partly influenced me to apply for studies at Oxford.
What area of law interests you most and why?
I enjoy several areas of law. I have worked in the areas of public international law, commercial law, international arbitration, and human rights. It is difficult for me to choose any one area. My current project is related to European System of Human Rights. I enjoy solving problems and as long as I am doing so, in any area of law, I am content.
What was involved in applying for your scholarship and how did you react upon learning you had been successful?
Once you apply for the course, you are automatically considered for any available scholarship. I was thrilled to know that I had been accepted. The decision is communicated months after the admission decision. Initially, I had an offer for only a partial scholarship, at which point I thought of not accepting the offer. Later and to my great surprise and delight, however, I received a full scholarship. I was very grateful.
You’ve already had varied experiences in law, from studying in Nepal to Poland, Australia and now the UK, as well as practically as a researcher, officer and analyst. How have these academic and professional experiences shaped your outlook of law and career ambitions?
I am intellectually inquisitive, therefore open to new ventures and experiences. As you noticed, I have spent my early career gaining experience in varied areas of the legal profession. These experiences have allowed me to view law, both its concept and practical application, from a wider perspective. The skills and knowledge I have gained from one profession of law contribute to a better performance of my role in another profession. For instance, as an officer of the government, I had firsthand experience in legislating law, which makes me a better legal analyst of the law; I am now able to view law from the perspective of a citizen and the state at the same time. Having worked in various capacities in the legal sector has also helped me understand where my interests, strengths, and weaknesses lie.
Similarly, academic experience from studying in different countries has enriched my knowledge not only of different legal systems but also various approaches to legal education. It has also allowed me to meet and discuss with people from varied backgrounds and broaden my mind - in general and on the subject of law.
Regarding my career, because I am interested in various areas of law and enjoy challenges, I am open to any opportunities, as long as I am able to constantly learn, grow and make use of the skills and knowledge that I have acquired.
What advice would you give to students considering the postgraduate study?
For those who are considering postgraduate study, I would advise them to go for it only if they want to, and if they think they are ready. If they want to take a break from studies or work for a while, that is perfectly fine. I have seen a lot of undergraduate students relentlessly looking to apply for postgraduate studies, only because everyone else around them is doing so. I am a strong proponent of taking charge of your own decisions and not blindly following the crowd.
For those who have decided to pursue postgraduate study, I would advise to take some time and explore their options, which are innumerable. Do not be afraid to aim high and do not beat yourself up if you fail. Work hard and be optimistic.
Finally, what are your future plans after completing your MPhil?
I am flexible with my plans. I might apply for a DPhil at Oxford or a PhD elsewhere, or I might get a job. I am always open to opportunities.
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