When Mariana was in grade three, she was given an award for being the student with the greatest ability to solve problems in the school yard. Ever since, she has wanted to become a lawyer.
Mariana is about to graduate from the Arts-Law pathway at The University of Melbourne and has secured a job with international commercial law firm Ashurst. Mariana credits her Bachelor of Arts as foundational to her success.
"I always knew that I wanted to be a lawyer, but in order to be a successful candidate for the Melbourne JD (Juris Doctor) and to employers I thought I needed to have the breadth of skills and the depth of knowledge that the Bachelor of Arts gave me," Mariana says.
Having attended Mercy College in Coburg North where she took legal studies in VCE, Mariana continued her law and justice studies in her Bachelor of Arts (BA), taking on subjects such as Human Rights and Global Justice.
"Doing that subject gave me a taste of what law school would be like for me, and I really enjoyed that," Mariana reflects.
The flexibility of the Arts-Law pathway offered at The University of Melbourne allowed her to pursue interests outside of law as well - something unique to the Melbourne Model, where students complete a three year undergraduate degree followed by a graduate program.
"My majors in the BA were criminology and sociology, and the breadth subjects allowed me to pursue my own passions in languages," Mariana continues. "To have the people writing our textbooks teaching us in the classroom was something unique to Melbourne."
Campus life helped Mariana forge deep friendship with her peers at The University of Melbourne throughout the Arts-Law pathway. She joined various clubs and societies such as the Debating team in her Bachelor of Arts and was treasurer for the law student publication De Minimis during her Melbourne JD.
She also travelled to New York and Washington DC for the Melbourne JD as part of the subject Global Lawyer, with visits to the Pentagon and law firms to experience international organisations in practice.
"That opportunity solidified my passion for innovation and the law by learning from people with global industry experience," Mariana says.
Being able to complete three years of study prior to beginning her graduate law studies at Melbourne meant that her transition to the Juris Doctor was smooth, and made Mariana sure that she wanted to pursue law.
"During my undergraduate degree my skills were gradually built up to ensure that by my first year of law school I was ready to hit the ground running. The staff also guide and support you navigate your way into the study of law."