The top half of a maple leaf in orange, yellow and brown, with Adinkra visual symbols originating in West Africa

Feb. 16, 2021

Law school an opportunity to combine student's interests

Stint working with high-risk youth opens Mikail Osman's eyes to new possibilities

Mikail Osman’s first experiences in Calgary were not great. His family moved to the city from Ottawa when he started Grade 6. In Ottawa, Grade 6 was considered middle school, which meant lockers. But in Calgary, Grade 6 was still considered elementary school, so no lockers.

“We moved in the third or fourth week of September, so to go from feeling like I was moving up in the world, into middle school, and going back to elementary school was kind of annoying,” he says with a laugh.

Despite that initial setback, Osman has thrived in Calgary ever since. He studied biological science at UCalgary, graduating in 2018, and took some time off to work at Wood’s Homes and McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association as a youth counsellor. He was working with high-risk youth who had lived through some serious early childhood trauma, but he really enjoyed the work and his academic interests began to follow a new path. 

Mikail Osman

First-year law student Mikail Osman thinks starting law school on Zoom has helped the class bond.

Experience in research lab helped chart course to law

“When I started my undergrad in biological sciences, I was planning to attend medical school. But my interests in the following years gravitated away from medicine and towards law. I also worked in a lab for a summer and didn’t find it too interesting, especially when we had to clean out the rat cages.”

Law school was a great option for Osman, giving him the ability to combine his interests in philosophy, geopolitics, technology, financial markets and law. While he is not limiting his options in his first year, he is developing an interest in intellectual property and corporate law, specifically in the securities or energy law areas.

In addition to his studies, Osman is the vice-president of finance for the Calgary chapter of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and has been working hard over the past few months to build a website for the group, which will help drive new fundraising efforts.

'Everyone super welcoming'

Perhaps it was the experience from sixth grade that prepared Osman for the “Zoom School of Law,” which he will happily admit he is enjoying.

“Even though we aren’t in class physically, everyone has been super welcoming. I honestly think starting law school on Zoom has really made our class bond quite a bit, which is really awesome.”

Find more Black History Month events and stories from UCalgary.   

Black History Month is a time to learn more about the Canadian stories and the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country. 

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