Where there's a will there's a way

Overcoming heartbreak and balancing family life and study, LLB graduate Mehreen Fatima Sulehria tells us how she achieved her goals
LLB graduate, Mehreen Fatima Sulehria
"The fact that I wanted to attain more in life kept me going": Mehreen Fatima Sulehria
Although tough, the past three years have earned me a lifetime of prestige and honour with the degree I’ve gained

They say nothing is impossible if you put your mind and most of all your heart into it. No matter how hard the journey may be, it’s hard work, dedication and persistence which act as your friends taking you towards success.

Such has been my experience as I began the LLB (Hons) through the University of London International Programmes in Pakistan College of Law, with a one and a half year old toddler requiring my attention and, upon completing the degree, having an additional newborn coming into my family.

Before obtaining admission on the LLB (Hons) I graduated with a Masters in Development Journalism from the University of Punjab back in 2005, and thereafter began working as a human interest reporter in one of the leading newspapers of my country.

I always held a keen interest in human rights issues. Consequently, as a journalist, I produced stories on everyday social and criminal injustices alongside highlighting issues like domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, mental health problems and countless issues faced by people in my society.

The fact that I wanted to attain more in life kept me going and I embarked on a journey to gain knowledge of law, a subject deeply associated with journalism. Being a journalist and producing news reports had only given me an opportunity to highlight the countless injustices. Hence, in my view – at that time – change could only be brought through courts of law where I could make a difference by advocating for rights instead of just reporting and highlighting them in a local daily.

To begin the LLB (Hons) programme with a toddler and household responsibilities was daunting, with apprehensions that – considering the commitment required – I might not be able to complete it. Nevertheless, I did pursue my degree and managed to complete it with an overall reasonable classification.

"The extra help and guidance that came from my teachers and fellow students at Pakistan College of Law had a great impact on my overall study."

Mehreen and her two childrenIf there is one thing that motherhood has taught me best, it is multitasking. I remember learning cases for my exams while putting my son to sleep, along with writing case notes, mastering the IRAC and learning legal commentaries and analysis. My law degree and my son had become my life. While cutting back on my social life, I would be home preparing for mid-terms and finals, in contrast to my society where women of my age and status would either be entertaining in-laws, meeting up at social gatherings or thinking about what clothes to make next.

Although tough, the past three years have earned me a lifetime of prestige and honour with the degree I’ve gained. The first year of my LLB was filled with enthusiasm and high hopes as I was super exited to go back to College once again and be a law student. The subjects that I was introduced to in my first year were quite unique, too – from learning about the UK parliamentary system and constitutional law, to everyday contracts we make via Contract law, to Criminal law which intrigued me the most especially reading the case law.

The extra help and guidance that came from my teachers and fellow students at Pakistan College of Law had a great impact on my overall study. My teachers were always available whenever I had a problem:  whether personal or study-related, their door and ears were always open to me.

I learned a lot from my fellow classmates, who were all 10 years younger than me. They inspired me a lot and kept me on my toes. Their enthusiasm was addictive, from sharing their notes with me to sending me lectures whenever I missed classes. They have all been a great source of support.

After successfully completing four first year subjects, in my second year I just had Equity and Trust and Property law to study as I was on Scheme B of the Graduate Entry Route. Just when I thought I was doing alright, my father passed away suddenly, leading to a great amount of stress and resulting in me barely managing to pass my exams. My father had great hopes for me and encouraged me a lot when I started the degree, and I very much wish he could have seen me complete it.

With a broken heart, I gathered all my strength and in the final year topped my class in International Protection of Human Rights, along with completing the degree with a QLD. At my recent Graduation Ceremony organised by my teaching institution I received my degree from the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Honorable Mr Justice (R) Tussaduq Hussain Jillani, in front of my children and mother. I feel that my father was also present in the audience.

I still believe I have a long way to go, as the real challenge begins when the degree ends. I do intend to practise law and study further. I believe everyone should set certain goals for themselves and try their best to attain them. It is no doubt going to be difficult, as all beginnings are, but the end result is just as sweet and satisfying.

  • A former journalist, mother of two, an LLB (Hons) graduate of the University of London and now soon to be lawyer, Mehreen Fatima Sulehria studied at Pakistan College of Law, an Affiliate Centre for the University of London International Programmes.
  • Find out more about studying for a University of London degree in Pakistan.
  • Find out more about studying a University of London LLB.