Exemplifying the diversity of the IE Community, she’s a multilingualist whose varied background has led to a very open mindset; indeed she actively enjoys having her own ideas challenged by opposing points of view. To say she’s a high achiever would be a considerable understatement.
Alexia Collot d’Escury Ariza is a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) student of Spanish and Dutch heritage, who lived in Marbella and Monaco before coming to IE Law School. We caught up with her as she’s about to embark on the fourth year of her program.
Where does your passion for law come from, and why did you choose IE Law School for your degree?
I’ve been searching for that answer my entire life! As yet, I haven’t found it. As far as my memory goes, I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t grow up in a household surrounded by judges and prosecutors, but I do have a very long family history of lawyers amongst extended family. My mother has a strong sense of justice, so perhaps it runs in our blood. With a strong moral compass dictating all of my actions, I’ve always lived with an undeniable attraction to the legal order.
As I grew up, a daunting question emerged: where should I study law? Since I consider myself to be a child of the world, I was petrified by the idea of committing to a set of frontiers. Down the line, I found out that certain areas of practice enable you to travel extensively, yet the restrictions always exist to some extent. Nevertheless, during my searches, I came across IE University’s comparative law methodology, and I immediately knew that this was the right path for me. It would enable me to keep my doors open and my horizons wide.
You’ve gained 26 honors during your degree, though you’re still a year from graduating. How did reaching this milestone make you feel?
When I obtained my first honors, I was unsure as to what these distinctions would come to mean to me. Certainly, when passion and dedication blend, it brings about a marvellous journey. Yet this benchmark had always been a distant ideal until my third year came around. When I achieved an honors distinction in all my subjects in my first semester, it caught my attention that, if I did so again in the next, I could actually reach this threshold.
Motivation then took over and won. When the last grade appeared on my transcript, I was overwhelmed by a whirlwind of emotions. I can assure you, such a feeling remains unequaled. At first, I shared it only with myself, because it was a very personal moment, the blossoming of lifelong work—not for the world’s praise, but for myself, my goals and my dreams.
What motivated you to pursue this unprecedented achievement and bring recognition to IE Law School?
First of all, my passion for law was not the catalyst for this achievement, but rather both the driver and the finish line. I’ve always been a very curious person, an avid reader and an extroverted public speaker, in a close relationship with my studies. Professional sportspeople endure pain and sacrifice to reach praise and recognition, and the same applies to academic achievements. Since I was a very young child, I most genuinely enjoyed studying, yet it takes something more than just interest or motivation: it’s all about your attitude. Even when I struggled, I always managed to find an ultimate learning purpose, a chance at emerging more knowledgeable, or perhaps with even more questions. Such is the beauty of being inquisitive.
Secondly, and most importantly, I was accompanied wonderfully along this journey, throughout my academic career and culminating at IE University. My professors, throughout the years, have been the grandest supporters and incomparable role models. There are no sufficient words to describe my gratitude towards all of the wonderful teachers who have shaped my learning experience, as they instilled in me their zeal and motivated me to stand up when I fell back.
At IE University, our professors are also legal professionals, experts in their field, and widely known for what they’ve built. Having the personification of success in that particular area teaching you is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; it’s then up to you to seize the chance, learn from their experiences, dare to be curious, and not be afraid to ask. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the inspiring professors who have guided me along the way, not because they had the secrets for success carved out for me, but because the invitation to fight for it was there.
What challenges have you faced during your studies, and how have you overcome them?
A misconception about students who achieve high scores is that they have a natural ability to grasp concepts or retain information. That might be the case for some, but it’s not a rule of thumb. Studying techniques are a careful craft that begins very early on, and on which we never stop working, adapting and improving. Creating the right habits and a strong mindset is a lifelong learning process that can be introduced by your parents and encouraged by your professors and mentors, but which you ultimately carry on by yourself.
Like everyone else, there have been subjects that I enjoyed less than others; some even scared me. When I find myself lost and challenged by an area, I do panic at first; I’m no different. What matters is my response: I proceed to work ten times harder to overcome the problem, even if that means taking twice as much time as my classmates to learn. That’s not to say that even the tasks which we’re good at bring effortless results, and improvement requires humility in admitting your vulnerabilities and daring to ask for a helping hand. I will never cease to repeat: excellence is not a gift, it’s something which you work on every single day of your life. Face the possibility of failure without fear, because failures are the most precious lessons, and prizes are the result of sweat and sacrifice.
How do you balance your commitment to academic excellence with extracurricular activities and your personal life?
Something which I‘ve heard many times throughout my life is “Choose your battles.” High achievers are not antisocials, cast away from society. Certainly, good results are the outcome of good work—everything comes at a price. But it doesn’t have to cost you your life, just good planning and a cold mind when it comes to making decisions. I’m a social bird, and an avid studier, thus I combine the two in such a manner as to reach my goals while doing other things which make me happy. Achievement is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and it’s important that while a grand sense of responsibility predominates in your mind, you can make the route enjoyable because the journey never ends: there will always be a new “finish line.”
So I‘ll reveal my personal, golden rule: you must look forward to one thing per day which is not academically or professionally related. That, for me, is grabbing coffee with my classmates after lectures, inviting my residence neighbours over for dinner, or having a drink with my friends as a recompense for finishing my last task. You can have an active social life and be proactive in your studies. It all comes down to balance, because anything, in its extreme, can be detrimental. You should be neither a queen nor a basement rat—just a fulfilled individual with clear ambitions in life. Sometimes, difficult decisions have to be made, but perpetual self-restraint is not the answer, because a healthy body and a happy mind are what keeps the efforts sustainable.
What are your plans after graduating, and how do you envision your future career?
I still have a year ahead of me before completing my bachelor’s, but I definitely know that I want to go on to study a master’s as well. I’m not entirely sure yet which field I want to dedicate my efforts towards. All I know is that I‘ve fallen in love with more than a suitor, and that I’ve long felt that I belong to the international scene. That’s precisely why I chose to study such a unique program as the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in the first place. In fact, I’m also open to starting work if an exciting opportunity presents itself. Time will tell.