Column Uni live: law students often stay among themselves

We live in a world where the promise of social advancement through hard work is omnipresent. From childhood we hear: you can become anything you want. You just

Column Uni live: law students often stay among themselves

We live in a world where the promise of social advancement through hard work is omnipresent. From childhood we hear: you can become anything you want. You just have to make an effort. On the one hand, looking into the past, this is truer today than it used to be. BAföG, inclusion and targeted funding are intended to compensate for differences. And for some, it actually works.

On the other hand: the "permeability rate" is not nearly as high as the mantra "hard work always gets you to your goal" suggests. In other words, if you come from an academic household, you are also very likely to go to university. For those whose parents, on the other hand, work in training professions or have no school qualifications at all, the path to study is still rocky and arduous for them. And the higher the desired level of training, the harder it will be. Out of a hundred non-academician children, about 21 start studying. But of these hundred, on average, just one manages the promotion. For comparison: on average, a whopping 74 out of a hundred academic children start their studies, ten of them are doing their doctorate.

Now, for God's sake, not everyone has to study and a degree is not the ticket to happiness either. But no one will want to deny that money, power and status in this and very many other countries of the world are closely linked to the level of education.

Elites among themselves

Studying is not the same as studying. To this day, "classical" courses of study such as law go hand in hand with a certain reputation and with elite thinking. And elites like to stay among themselves. By this I do not mean that the affluent children, who for the most part populate my Jura lecture hall - and to whom I also count myself - belong to a secret underground network à la Illuminati. Rather, I assert: there is a large part of them who are at least a little ashamed of their privilege. We are all in favor of equal opportunities and fairness, but somehow in the lecture we still usually only meet versions of ourselves – that is, all the others whose white parents are also judges, engineers and doctors with 1.5 children and a beautiful house on the outskirts.

So why is it so much harder for less privileged students without an academic background to get started and, in particular, to advance in the field of law? I think an equally simple and sobering part of the answer to this is: it's simply because of the money. In my experience, law is a course of study in which very few people work on the side compared to other subjects. Now you might think: Of course, many people don't need it there. They prefer to be fed by mom and dad. And this is partly true, of course.

At the same time, however, it is also a subject that is not as easy to combine with regular employment as others. Especially in the first semesters. Because the time required and the level of difficulty are simply very high. This is not supposed to be self-clothing. But it's just like that: in the first semester, we had two to three times as many weekly lessons as students in other subjects. And while many bachelor students study for one to two weeks for their exams, the library of the law faculty is already packed five weeks before the exam date. This does not mean that it is not possible to work while studying. But it is an additional burden in a demanding study. And thus a factor for social selection.

Updated Date: 11 November 2021, 00:01

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