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"There was no-one I knew in law. I had no guidance, only books."

Deakin University has many stories to tell, but one standout tale of success is that of former Deakin Law School student Trinh Thai.

If being born in Vietnam and coming to Australia with her family in 2000 wasn't enough of a journey, Trinh has transformed herself from an introvert to property law practitioner.

Her Deakin years were a defining moment in this journey as she sought to redefine herself to be more in line with her ambitions.

Setting up in Australia as migrants under the sponsorship of her Vietnam-born aunt, ten-year-old Trinh spoke no English and had no real sense of what this new country and culture were about.

‘Something about Aussie kids was different,’ recalls Trinh in what must be something of an understatement of what her initial impressions were.

A self-confessed introvert, Trinh says she ‘wasn't really outstanding at high school. I didn't stand out at sport, and I didn't say a lot.’

With this in mind, her journey from then to a burgeoning, stand-out legal career seems improbable, even counter-intuitive, especially so when, as Trinh notes, ‘There's never been anyone who wanted to study law in my family.

‘There was no-one I knew in law. I had no guidance, only books.’

Trinh realised she couldn't succeed, for herself or her family, if things stayed as they were.

‘At uni, things changed. It was overwhelming at the beginning and I knew I couldn't remain an introvert.

‘I had to step out and meet people, talk to people. I had to improve my self-confidence.’

Fortunately, the Deakin environment was conducive to Trinh's growing confidence, in particular once she started delving into moots.

‘I was selected in the University's 2010/2011 Vis Moot team and made great friends.

‘This was a turning point.’

She also credits being awarded the prize for the top first year commercial law student at Deakin as a highly significant curve in her remarkable story.

‘This told me my efforts had paid off. I knew I had my study strategy down pat.’

‘I still had to put the effort in,’ she’s quick to add.

In September 2014, Trinh was admitted to practice as a lawyer and has since focussed on property law.

This has involved her working in a variety of legal spaces, including conveyancing, leasing, development approvals, sub-divisions and settlements, which, in her own words, has been ‘a broad education’.

It's also some journey. The central point for Trinh as she succeeds professionally in a way that at one stage seemed unlikely, is to be willing to assess personal weaknesses and work on overcoming them.

‘You have to be willing to change and adapt, to find failing activities and take steps to change what needs changing.

‘I needed to be someone who can be a lawyer.’

For Trinh, the bottom line is taking advantage of every potential learning experience.

‘Take every learning opportunity. You have to take every learning possibility that comes your way, even the slightest whiff, take it!’

It's certainly worked for Trinh, her long journey from rural Vietnam to the top of the property law tree continues.