A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching Australia’s longest-serving High Court judge speak about his experiences at university.

Michael Kirby is Australia’s leading expert on international law and is one of the most intelligent and respected legal minds that this nation has ever produced. He used his time on the bench to challenge the operation of the law and toward the latter part of his career was known as ‘The Great Dissenter’.

While it is hard to overlook the many accolades that he has spent his career achieving including honorary degrees from 12 Australian universities, the most impressive part of his character is his perspective on society and justice.

Justice Kirby’s presentation focused on his journey through law school, and he berated his younger self for not questioning the world around him.

As a law student hoping to pursue a path of advocacy, it was this comment that stuck with me the most. As a young person, much of my time is spent understanding the world around me, finding ways to coexist within the societal frameworks and thereby accept the status quo.

Like many young people I have this belief that conformity leads to success, that the faster I accept the way the world works the faster I can do things on my own terms.

Why? Because as a university student I don’t feel qualified enough to question the inner workings of society particularly when I haven’t experienced all it has to offer.

But I think it’s time that I start questioning the world and ask the deep probing questions about institutions, policy, and the law, about the very foundations of society. Mere acceptance is no longer enough, in this everchanging world where social injustice is rampant, it’s time to question why the world is the way it is.

Contrary to popular belief conforming to the unwritten rules of society won’t lead to success but challenging it will, it will make you think beyond what you already know.  While I am no expert on the subject matter, I think that the faster you learn to question the world, the more insight you gain and the easier it is to address social inequality.