Melissa Collins

Proud Corkonian Melissa writes about leaving the 'Rebel County', finding support, and more.

Melissa Collins

I am writing this letter in November 2020 to say you have made it to the home stretch of becoming a solicitor. In just a few short weeks, you will be eligible to apply to the Roll of Solicitors and officially join the legal profession at long last.

I remember studying for the FE-1 in 2014, full of nerves and that dreaded imposter syndrome, and I am here to tell your hard work has all paid off. The goal you never thought possible to reach is now in sight.

On this journey to join the solicitor profession there will be countless days spent in the Boole library UCC, car journeys up and down to the Red Cow Hotel, tears shed and sacrifices made and your dedication will bring you deserved success.

You will experience sadness when there is no opportunity for a training contract in Cork and you will make a heart-breaking move away from your family to Dublin. You're a proud Cork woman and you will suffer some loneliness being away from home but you need to explore the world beyond the Rebel County. You will make friends who will encourage and support you.

There will be difficult days, some sleepless nights and you will wonder 'Am I cut out for this?' Don’t give up you are strong and capable.

It is not all doom and gloom, I promise!

There is so much light ahead of you, in the form of an organisation called Junior Chamber International, which will bring you so much joy, friendship and opportunity. You will win public speaking competitions, travel to different conferences and learn so many beneficial skills that will stand to you in your career.

You will get to know your peers and fellow colleagues in Blackhall, forming an information network of trusted colleagues. You will take the lessons of mentors and solicitors forward into your own traineeship, watching and learning from people you admire and finding your own interests in legal areas. You will volunteer for worthy causes, like Pieta House, Focus Ireland and Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Looking back I can now say that each moment has its reason, each tribulation and trial serve a purpose, despite it sometimes being painful. You will speak about your mental health without shame and join a reflective group in Blackhall, speaking to empathetic friends and accepting that it is okay to not be okay.

Everything you have gone through has stood to you and makes you stronger. The future is yours and full of promise.

Don’t give up. I'm rooting for you.

Love Melissa

Melissa Collins
Post PPC II Trainee Solicitor
Ahern Rudden Quigley