Wednesday, 26 June 2024

The first alum to answer our exciting new Our Alumni questions is the inspirational Defne, who has recently been accepted onto the prestigious LLB-JD Dual Degree Programme at Columbia Law School.

What is your favourite memory of your time at Brighton College?

The House Song competition was without a doubt the highlight of each year at Brighton College. In particular, dressing up as Kanye West in my final year for Chichester House’s mashup of ‘Our Song’ by Taylor Swift and ‘American Boy’ by Kanye West.

What takes up most of your time at the moment?

I am currently very fortunate to be enjoying holidays in Europe with friends from the College and university. Having recently sat my final exams at university, this has been a much-needed break ahead of my upcoming summer internship at Latham & Watkins. Soon I will be much busier, working under the Litigation & Trial and Tax departments at the firm. 

What about your life now would most surprise your Brighton College teachers?

The fact that I now run for pleasure, albeit at a very intermediate level and alongside every young person in London. Having been regularly ‘under the weather’ when it came to running the 1.5km for Sports Day and cross country, I think this would definitely come as a surprise.

What about your life now would most surprise you as a Brighton College starter?

Starting Brighton College marked my family and I settling down in the UK after having a very international past, consisting of us moving across 5 countries. I think it would therefore surprise my younger self that I am  moving overseas once more, and this time without the safety net of family. 

What excites you about the future?

I am most excited by how open my future currently feels. As I decided to study law at university, I believed that my future life would be restricted to the English jurisdiction. Since beginning my undergraduate study at the LSE, I have been introduced to opportunities across the Commonwealth and in the States. Having recently been admitted to pursue my Juris Doctor at Columbia Law School, I am excited by the prospect of working across different jurisdictions and living in many countries throughout my life.

How has your time at Brighton College shaped your outlook on life?

I think Brighton made me more well-rounded as a person. Whether it be through MAD Day, Sports Day, Carousel, House Song, Debating or Drama, I was constantly encouraged to try new things. Now, when I am presented with an opportunity to try something new, I make every effort to say ‘yes’ and give it a go.

What advice would you give to current Brighton College pupils inspired by your own journey?

Although I am very early on in my journey, one thing that has helped me thus far is not being afraid to ask. Whether it be for advice, work experience or overseas opportunities, not being afraid to reach out to and face the rejection of inspirational people has opened doors for me. Through this approach and making use of the alumni network of the College and LSE, I have been able to receive invaluable advice from politicians, lawyers and creatives.

What are the most challenging parts of your work?

Maintaining a good balance between academic work, applying for opportunities such as internships and the Juris Doctor programme at Columbia and having a fun time at university was definitely a challenge. However, planning fun things to look forward to and rewarding myself at each step regardless of the outcome has meant that I have hugely enjoyed my time at university so far.

What are you most proud of?

As much as I am proud of my own progress, I am most proud to be surrounded by a group of inspirational and interesting friends. Ranging from a friend who balances university with working part time as an assistant to a Member of Parliament for the Labour Party to one interning as a trader for Goldman Sachs, to another in the process of setting up his own business, there is no shortage of inspiration around me.

Which is your favourite house and why?

 Chichester. Simply because of Ms Cody and the girls with whom I made friends for life.

What is the best thing about being an Old Brightonian?

The network. Having access to a network of people with diverse careers and stories has definitely been one of the privileges of attending an independent school such as Brighton College. In fact, OBs I have reached out to via Brighton College Connect have become invaluable mentors to me.

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