How Guiding Prepared me for Law School

I applied for law school while I was a Sangam volunteer, completing my personal statement and ordering transcripts between delivering WAGGGS programming, bringing Guiders from around the world to the bustling market and taking in the beauty of Diwali celebrations. I applied with the sisterhood and spirit of Guiding swirling all around me. As I filled in the forms, I was keenly aware of how Guiding helped me develop the skills that I hoped would allow me to succeed as a law student.

I’ve just finished my first year of law school. Looking back, I was right – my experiences in Guiding, as a girl and as an adult, have prepared me to study law in a number of ways.

As both a Brownie (LEFT) and an adult volunteer, Guiding has helped smooth the transition to law school for Melissa Moor.

As both a Brownie (LEFT) and an adult volunteer (RIGHT), Guiding has helped smooth the transition to law school for Melissa Moor.

Confidence – Each time I earned a badge, showed my friends a new science experiment, led a hike or planned a meeting, Guiding built my confidence. Through Guiding, I learned to step out of my comfort zone. Guiding prepared me to take on challenges, whether going to India or to law school, with confidence in my abilities.

Perseverance – Guiding helped me develop tenacity and determination. As a Guide, I learned to persevere in putting up that tent and getting the buddy burner to work. As a law student, the perseverance I learned on the camp ground helps me keep studying until I understand a difficult concept and keep editing until the legal memos I’m writing are my best work.

Preparation –  My Guiders always taught me to “be prepared,”  whether for our Thinking Day skit, for advancement or for camp. The skills I learned, like how to plan ahead, prioritize and prepare for multiple possible outcomes help me organize and complete my work as a law student.

Open-mindedness  – At home and internationally, Guiding has exposed me to a multitude of experiences, beliefs and ways of life. Volunteering at Sangam and participating in WAGGGS events, I’ve learned the power of open-mindedness. I’ve learned to question my assumptions. As a law student at McGill University, studying both civil and common law together, this interest in seeing other perspectives and laying aside my preconceived ideas helps me understand both legal systems and their relationship to each other.

Collaboration – While navigating orienteering courses, planning camp menus and playing cooperative games, Guiding taught me to work with others.  I learned to be a careful listener, a reliable teammate and an inclusive group member. These skills help me work with my fellow law students as we delve into new topics and work together to prepare our notes for final exams.

Commitment to service – Guiding has always inspired in me a passion for service and helped me understand my place in a multiple communities, both local and global. At my Brownie meetings every week, we promise to “take action for a better world.” Guiding challenges me to find ways that I can do this. As I continue my legal education, Guiding encourages me to see, and to use, this education as a tool in the service of others.

As a Brownie, I saw Guiding as a great opportunity to play exciting games, do crafts and make new friends. If Guiding was preparing me for anything, I thought it was to earn more badges and pack my bag for camp.  But it’s also about longer-term preparation, preparation for post-secondary education and for careers. I’ve been in Guiding for 18 years, and law school for one. Those 18 years prepared me to approach that one year, and the few years I have left in school, with confidence, determination and a willingness to challenge myself.

By guest blogger Melissa Moor. Melissa is a Guider in Montreal – where  she attends Law school at McGill University – and is also a member of the Canadian Guider magazine editorial committee. Check out her previous blog posts: Bringing the Sangam Spirit to your Unit: Ideas for a Sangam-themed Meeting; Girl-Centred Planning; Healthy Friendship Recipes; A Silent Meeting.


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