Joel Jones Q&A
Joel Jones grew up wanting to be a doctor but after discovering a skill for debating during his high school years, he decided to do a law degree. In this Q&A, Joel tells us about his experience of studying law at the University of London from his home country of Trinidad and Tobago.
What did you do before deciding to study at the University of London?
Prior to studying with the University of London, I completed my high school diplomas in Trinidad and Tobago at Presentation College, Chaguanas and Presentation College, San Fernando. During this time, I also participated in various extracurricular events including football and debate, winning multiple national titles which led to the formation of the College’s Debate Club.
Following this, I embarked on a professional career in finance, specialising in operational risk, fraud management, retail, corporate and commercial banking and compliance and AML. The decision to study with the University of London was part of a bigger plan to develop professional and personal competencies before pursuing higher education.
What influenced you to study this degree programme?
This field of study has been in my family for many years and I developed a passion for the law during high school. After wanting to become a doctor as a child all the way up to my late teen years, I made the unexpected segue (to the great surprise of my family) to law. My experiences as a debater, recreational reading of legal text and my development through adolescence all worked together to awaken my passion for the law. I completed both science and humanities in high school to keep my options open, however the desire to pursue law only grew. This led to me exploring the options available in Trinidad and Tobago at the time and finally deciding to pursue my LL.B Bachelor of Laws with the University of London.
Why did you decide to study through the University of London's distance and flexible learning programme?
Three main factors influenced my decision to study through the University’s distance learning programme; flexibility, standard of education and student support infrastructure. The University of London’s programme enabled me to study at my own pace and manage my time while developing professionally. I was unable to pursue full-time education at the time and the distance programme provided a springboard for me to accomplish more, with less personal capacity.
The standard of education afforded by the University of London is inarguably amongst the best in the world. The course structure, resources, student support and comprehensive approach to learning and growth were all factors that made it an easy decision. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) provided an way to connect with other students, access critical study material, lectures, past papers and created a virtual environment that brings the university experience to you. It became clear to me from testimonials from friends and relatives who completed the programme that student inquiries and feedback were always comprehensive, fast and thorough. I was confident that the distance learning programme would not take away from the conventional university experience, but instead provide it to me regardless of my own constraints. I turned out to be right.
What would you describe as the most rewarding part of your studies?
As an independent, self-study candidate who was not enrolled with a teaching centre, the most rewarding part of my studies was being able to successfully graduate while building lifelong networks and friendships with fellow students. My studies broadened my professional knowledge and catalsed my growth as an individual through the need to always put 100 percent into my studies while managing my career and work-life balance. As I learned, I was able to add value in a professional capacity. During my studies, I had the chance to encounter and build friendships with many students via discussion boards and study groups.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University was faced with the gargantuan task of managing the crisis across various territories at different stages of infection and recovery. The consistent communication, management of the pandemic and implementation of alternative platforms and strategies by the University enabled us to continue to succeed in spite of the unprecedented landscape we faced. This commitment to excellence and adaptability reinforced my confidence in the University’s moniker of ‘The World Class’.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?
I would encourage current and prospective students to not only take advantage of this excellent opportunity to access top-tier learning but to also immerse themselves in all that the University of London has to offer. From its publications to discussions beyond your area of study, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and the opportunity to meet and interact with students from all over the globe.
There is no better time than now, as technological advancements have made access to education more widespread than ever before. Once you have completed your studies, it is also largely beneficial to keep in touch with the alumni network. You may not always be a part of the University as an active student, but the University will be a part of you forever. Make the most of everything that comes with that.