23 October 2019

Beating the Writer's Block

Do you get writer's block?


Yes, I know this is not a real medical condition, but it might as well be one. We've all been there, I'm talking about that situation where you need to begin writing, but there are so many ideas floating around in your head that you have no idea where to start!

Well, today I would like to share some tips on how I tackle what I like to call 'writing constipation' also known as 'writer's block'.

Context

This academic year has been one huge learning curve, both in terms of the sheer amounts of information as well as the academic practices which I have acquired and perfected to a certain degree. Whilst, coping with the volume of information seemed to sort of come naturally to me, because let's face it I have been 'learning' ever since I stepped into the education system, admittedly getting the hang of good academic practices took me a while to grasp.

Academic Practices

Let's begin by first establishing what I mean by 'academic practices'. A year ago, I was completely oblivious as to what this truly means. A scary prospect especially considering that I went through years of Higher Education studies. At first, I was under the false impression that this was all about conducting good quality research. Astonishingly, good academic practices go beyond the remit of mere research skills, which often involves the ability to write an academic paper or acknowledgement of information through appropriate citations. Good academic practices, covers the remit of participating in a 'solid' discussion about the topic area a person is writing about.

I won't lie, at the start of the year this concept seemed rather nebulous to me, almost alien, I might add. But by simply reading journal articles written by academics in the area of consumer law, I was able to quickly work out what constitutes good academic practice. (It's all of the above and the ability to critically comment on various aspects of a debate)

Writing Constipation

Having grasped this concept, next came the stage where I was required to write numerous papers on various aspects of international business law ranging from comparative studies to highly critique based analysis of legislative instruments such as the CISG. Of course, this sounded pretty straight forward when I was sitting in class, thinking about the things I could write. However, such glory was short-lived as I got down to writing my essays.

First hurdle; where to begin?

Those who have ever written any essay or paper in life, be it for academic or work purposes, will understand when I say that perhaps the hardest thing about the whole process is figuring out where to start. Personally, I often become so overwhelmed by all the different things I could write about and the various ways I could structure a paper. As I regularly encounter this problem this year I tried coming up with a sure-fire solution to tackle this issue!

1) Spider Diagram
I believe this is the first step in tackling the writer's block. Simply get all the thoughts that are floating in your mind out onto a sheet of paper. For this exercise I often make use of Microsoft Onenote, as its unlimited canvas layout allows to me to freely jot down all my ideas anywhere I like on the page. This makes my life so much easier in the next step.

2) Sift your ideas
Once you feel you have all the thoughts that are racing through your minds written down, the next logical step is to distinguish whether these ideas truly help you answer the question or solve the problem you have been tasked with. I have found that this exercise helps focus your writing by eradicating ideas, which don't seem to add much value to your paper. Doing this allows me to truly understand what the question is asking me to do and thus focus myself on working towards tackling the most relevant issues.

3) Organise your ideas
Now that you have sifted through your ideas, you should hopefully be left with issues which are relevant to your paper. Taking a brief overview of what you're required to do, place these idea in a chronological order. I know this sounds confusing at first, but trust me it will all start falling into place once you start adding more detail to each section. Doing this helps me structure my report, whilst lending my points and arguments a natural and logical tone.

4) Expand each section
Before, I jump into writing my essays I always look at my list of ideas and then add notes under each idea about the issues I would like to tackle in each section. As you can guess, by doing this exercise I am essentially, building a rough skeleton of my essay. This also helps me ensure that I do not miss out crucial points. If you feel your ideas are not flowing, this is the time to reorder your ideas so that each idea flows naturally into the next.

5) Begin writing
By now you should have produced a detailed skeleton of your paper, so that all you need to do is paste it over into a new word document or any word processing software you use, and start putting your ideas into sentences and paragraphs.

And there you have it, after writing countless essays throughout my years studying law at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels I have beaten my writers block in this manner. I really hope this method works for you too!

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25 March 2019

Postgraduate: The Journey Till Now

Mehul Parekh



If you’ve ever considered studying or even applying for a post-graduate course, this post is definitely worth a read!

Like many of my peers, having studied an undergraduate course in law, for me I only ever saw two options really; do the LPC and apply for training contracts or study on a masters course with the view of progressing onto a PhD.

In my college days I used to eagerly  await the day I would finally get to leave full time education forever and step out into the real world. Unfortunately however after I graduated with a First Class honours Degree in Law LLB in the summer of 2018, I decided that postgraduate study was perhaps the better option, at least for me personally!

Of course people choose to study on a postgraduate course for a host of reasons ranging from it being the only option to having the welcome prospect of increased career options. However for me, studying on my postgraduate course served as the necessary stepping stone which helped cement my research topic for my PhD.

Hence, I progressed onto the next chapter of my higher education studies. Starting from October 2018, I began studying on the International Business Law LLM at De Montfort University Leicester.

Firstly, flexibility is, in my opinion, one of the main benefits of postgraduate study.

Immediately after I began my course, I realised how different the style of learning was compared to undergraduate studies. I mean there are no lessons, instead there are group discussions based on the suggested and compulsory reading we had to complete.

Gone were the days where I had to attend mass lectures aimed at hundreds of students. Instead, I found my timetable sparsely filled with no more than 1 seminar a day, which spanned 2 hours. I no longer had to attend University every single day, rather I was timetabled to only attend university a maximum of 3 days a week, some weeks I didn’t have to attend at all.

In essence I increasingly found myself having more and more unstructured time, leaving me free to do anything I want to do.

Being completely honest, in the first month of my studies having not realised the reason behind such a reduced timetable, I did end up wasting away hours surfing through social media and watching Netflix.

After waking up late every single day for a whole month I realised that I was wasting my life away, doing nothing productive at all! So I sat down and decided to try and structure the flexibility of time I now found myself with.

Once I started structuring my time and scheduling in dedicated reading and research hours, I not only found my myself being more productive but it also enabled me to make valuable contributions in my seminars. I found this really useful as the main method of learning on my course is through actively participating in informative discussions which occur in my seminars.

Hence, I feel that postgraduate study has also helped me develop as a person, as alongside learning skills vital to my discipline I’ve learnt to better manage my time.

Being somebody who thoroughly enjoys meeting new people, my course has provided me with the opportunity to meet people from many different countries around the globe, who each bring with them different perspectives of how the legal system operates in their home jurisdiction.

As, my peer group is much smaller than at undergraduate level, it not only makes such discussion possible, but more interesting as the informal setting allows for the open discussion of some challenging and controversial international business practices and how the law controls them.

 A few months on, and I can say with confidence that I have started preferring such seminars as opposed to the undergraduate method of learning through lectures. I believe this is now really evident from my academic analysis and writing skills.

This year, as part of my course I will also be required to complete a 15,000 word dissertation project. Whilst at first glance this seemed to me as an impossible feat, having chosen to conduct in-depth doctrinal research in Consumer Law, I’ve really started enjoying my research hours and reading around this area of law.

Prior to this year, I would’ve never believed that I will find my passion lies in further studies and academia.

All in all, though there are no set qualifications which can ever guarantee you your dream job, I believe that doing a postgraduate course is a lifelong investment that has definitely helped shape my future.

As my final words of advice I would definitely advise anyone who is considering to study a postgraduate course to take their time in carefully choosing your options!

Never let the perceived drawbacks of postgraduate study impact your decision of choosing what is best for you.

Studying on my postgraduate course has provided me with a positive challenge, sparked an ambition to educate my mind all whilst providing a whole new experience of what university life has to offer.

Stay curious... Keep Learning!


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Disclaimer: The Information provided on this page is for entertainment purposes only, the publisher does not necessarily hold any rights for any of the information presented here. The logo's, trademarks and company names belong to their respective owners, and are not affiliated with beingmehul.co.uk in any way whatsoever. Readers are advised to gain guidance from other reading materials alongside this blog post. beingmehul.co.uk cannot be held liable for the content on other website links found within this blog post or any damage to any property caused as a result of this blogpost. Please consider your environmental responsibility before printing this post.

8 September 2018

Mehul's Top 4 Places to visit in Leicester





Whether it be great heritage sites, historic museums or general places of interest the city of Leicester, my home city, certainly has something to suit everyone's taste.

Hence, earlier this year (2018), I set out on a mission to visit as many places of interest in Leicester as I possibly could and from those choose my top four places, that I believe everyone should visit.

Now before I reveal some of the reasons behind why I chose these four places in particular, I would like to begin by acknowledging some of the other fantastic places that I unfortunately could not include in my top four video.

As this list is mostly aimed at my fellow students and those in the higher education sphere of Leicester, my choices were limited to those places being closer to De Monfort University Leicester, which had great public transport links too!

However, I would have loved to include places such as the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (the cities biggest and most influential Hindu place of worship), the Abbey Pumping Station, Leicester Cathedral (Leicester's medieval christian places of worship) and the Richard the Third Museum. I suppose a follow up video list featuring these places could easily be made (Share your opinions in the comments section below!).

1) National Space Centre

Having visited the National Space Centre, for the first time in my life I personally feel that the first place is completely justified! Having opened in the year 2000, the centre is packed with both fun and informative activities hands on activities. For the number of great things the space centre has to offer, the admission price is fairly justifiable. It's also perfectly suitable for families or parents and guardians with young children. Make sure to visit the immersive 360 experience!

2) Leicester Guildhall

It may come to you as a shock, but I have personally visited this places several times throughout my childhood and still walk past it everyday on my commute to De Montfort University Leicester. At least for me, this place seems to have a time capsule effect, in that it does well to give visitors a good taste of what life in medieval Leicester could've been like! P.s. the downstairs actually housed prison inmates!

3) New Walk Museum

I believe that for any museum to be classed as a good museum it must include an exhibition of real Egyptian mummies and life size dinosaur fossils. The New walk Museum houses both in addition to a lovely Art Gallery! Interestingly however, the museum building was formerly used as a school!

4) New Walk Houses Museum

Are you at DMU? Most importantly are you a Harry Potter Fan? If you answered yes to any of the questions, then the New Walk houses is a must visit. Being a Harry Potter fan, walking into the victorian street always make me feel like I am about to walk into Diagon Alley! Additionally, this museum is right opposite De Montfort University Leicester so you can visit it any time you're on or near campus!


Enjoy Leicester... Keep Travelling!


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Disclaimer: The Information provided on this page is for entertainment purposes only, the publisher does not necessarily hold any rights for any of the information presented here. The logo's, trademarks and company names belong to their respective owners, and are not affiliated with beingmehul.co.uk in any way whatsoever. Readers are advised to gain guidance from other reading materials alongside this blog post. beingmehul.co.uk cannot be held liable for the content on other website links found within this blog post or any damage to any property caused as a result of this blogpost. Please consider your environmental responsibility before printing this post.

25 May 2018

Working in Retail

Highcross Leicester

When I was a younger I always had the impression that working was going to be more fun than school. I mean one could hardly blame me, I was a little school boy still trying to figure out and explore the vast world beyond me. It's not easy being at school, having to pass spelling tests and arithmetic tests. I was hardly a child prodigy when it came to studying. Easily bored, easily distracted always looking to avoid having to sit for hours on end staring at a book which was seemed nothing more than an ocean of meaningless words to me at the time!

Then I guess comes that point of life after school, the point where you move onto college or sixth form and some or most of your friends around you start getting weekend jobs. Wonderful for them, I thought. While I secretly sat there smug, knowing that all I had to do all weekend was relax and unwind from an hardly busy and rather uneventful week at college. At the time, this made me feel rebellious, I felt I was bending the norms of life by avoiding working. I was only 16 or 17 years of age at the time and occasionally I would boast that I have not worked a single day of my life. Of course, this was me not realising that at the ripe age of 16/17 one hardly has lived life enough for this to even be considered a mediocre accolade.

Don't get me wrong, I did participate in school based work experience, however being placed at a humble community pharmacy was hardly going to be a challenge for my sponge like brain. What I'm trying to say is that I didn't do much more than deliver medicines to the homes of elderly residents and dust a few shelves. Though, in hindsight I was treated rather well by the Pharmacy owners. Nevertheless with such little 'real life' work experience I trotted on from college to university.

Looking back at the last three years of my life, I can say with a high a degree of certainty that I have undoubtedly developed and refined myself as a person. It was nearing the end of my first year of university wherein I had the desire to find myself a humble job. Surprisingly, this desire was sparked by my thirst to gain some practical customer service skills as opposed to the aim of finding a means to partly fund my all to lavish lifestyle.

And then began the hunt for the perfect job. After having failed in the online aptitude test section of the job application at high street brands such as but not limited to McDonalds, Sport Direct, ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury's I was starting to lose hope. Application upon application all I was encountering was failure with not an inch of success within my grasp. However, I had firmly resolved to find myself a job in the retail sector. I decided to make a last ditch attempt by applying to Primark and the rest is history. I landed the job.

There is something about the world of retail that has always truly intrigued and fascinated me. I am not quite sure whether it's the idea of having access to a warehouse full of goods to sell for profit, or whether it is the elaborate inner workings and organisation of such businesses. I cannot say with certainty.

I always say that hindsight is a wonderful thing as it enables ones to look back and reflect upon's one life, allowing one to learn from mistakes as well as celebrate the '#GoodOldTimes' in ones lifetime. Working within retail was definitely a huge learning curve of my life. Though I learnt various skills such as time management and how to catch busses to get you to work on time, most importantly however working at Primark taught me the value of patience. This is mainly because my shift consisted of fours of continuously folding and displaying garments, only to be ruined by the touch of human hands a few minutes after I had finished.

They say, ones experience in life definitely helps shape and form ones outlook on life. Above all working in the retail industry helped understand all the hard work and time that goes into the day to day upkeep of a shop floor. I must confess that though it has been over 2 years since I ended my employment at Primark, each time I walk into a shop I naturally put things back into place after I take them. When it comes to clothes however, I refrain from touching them at all unless I am confident that I will be able to fold it properly.

Working in retail was a learning curve!


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Disclaimer: The Information provided on this page is for entertainment purposes only, the publisher does not necessarily hold any rights for any of the information presented here. The logo's, trademarks and company names belong to their respective owners, and are not affiliated with beingmehul.co.uk in any way whatsoever. Readers are advised to gain guidance from other reading materials alongside this blog post. beingmehul.co.uk cannot be held liable for the content on other website links found within this blog post or any damage to any property caused as a result of this blogpost. Please consider your environmental responsibility before printing this post.

17 April 2018

The Final Stretch

Almost done

Prelude: 

We all begin life in a somewhat similar manner as mere human babies, showered with love and tender care of our mothers and fathers. Cradled in the confines of what we learn to call our home. Our parent(s) then become our first teachers, through whom we gain our first perspective of the world. Such early teachings often become the foundations to our blurred but innocent visions of the world.

Before we know it we have the urge to spread our wings further, as we pass through various stages of our lives typically starting from primary school coming to a culmination at the end of our college days. From here on we become masters of our own destiny, breaking free from the burdensome shackles of societal pressures. We refuse to conform, each to their own, setting out priorities to pursue wealth, knowledge or power.

Well for me personally, the choice was fairly straightforward, I was to go to university obtain an honorable degree which would then supposedly help make the arduous task of job hunting a walk in the park. Of course, such an outlook is far from the truth, edging almost towards the realms of fantasy.

In reality though, success is the by product of excellence, or so they say...

Present day...

Thus to put it metaphorically, I embarked on a self defining journey just under three years ago. In simple terms, I started life as a DMU student some three years ago now, and looking back at it with hindsight, perhaps these were the three most defining years of my life. Perhaps, I could say that I have used the last few years well to help carve my personality, strengthen my character and truly define my views and aims in life.

This brings me nicely to the my present situation. So here I am, four months before my graduation, working hard towards getting the best grades I can over a period of three days which will determine and supposedly reflect upon the three years of hard work I have put into gaining a Law degree.

However, as we all are aware the attainment of a degree is not the end. Rather, it marks the beginning of a new phase in life. Opening more opportunities than ever for me improve, challenge and grow myself.

Over the last two years I have been hard at work trying to figure out what I would like to do once I graduate. Through embarking on a series of legal work experience, by late summer of 2017 I had made it firm in my mind that further education was where my interest lies. As a result over the last year I have been trying to narrow down the subject area of law I would be intrigued and positively challenged by. Enough said about my future plans.

Bringing the focus back to my current position, undoubtedly the aforementioned plans can only come to fruition based on how well I do in my summer exams. It therefore follows that perhaps one may be forgiven to think that in such stages of life man is truly the make of his own destiny. Or is he...?

Many years ago I heard a talk by a well distinguished speaker, who shall rename unnamed, on the 'corridors of doubt'. In defining what such a corridor of doubt would be, the individual assigned it to the amount of time that exists between opening of an opportunity and a person making advances towards attempting to secure that opportunity. To me personally, what he was explaining seemed more like something one may brush to the side by explaining it to be a limbo.

Putting it all into context, regardless of how one explains it, I cannot help but feel that I am in this exact position for the next few months. However, I full well know that these are perhaps the most defining few months of my life. A test of my intellect as opposed to intelligence, of which I perhaps lack the latter.

Yet, here I am frantically trying to revise in an attempt to stop any lack lustre performance in my upcoming exams. But I must keep telling myself that success is the by product of excellence. In that I need to strive for excellence in the topics I am revising for my exams as opposed to wishing for success in them.

Therein lies the lesson that shall aide me in this final stretch...

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Disclaimer: The Information provided on this page is for entertainment purposes only, the publisher does not necessarily hold any rights for any of the information presented here. The logo's, trademarks and company names belong to their respective owners, and are not affiliated with beingmehul.co.uk in any way whatsoever. Readers are advised to gain guidance from other reading materials alongside this blog post. beingmehul.co.uk cannot be held liable for the content on other website links found within this blog post or any damage to any property caused as a result of this blogpost. Please consider your environmental responsibility before printing this post.