Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tears of a Fool

I run into lawyers everywhere these days but the most annoying lawyers I encounter are the ones who just don't seem to understand (a) why I think law school has been a waste of my time, my life, and my money; and (b) why I am not enthusiastic about the practice of law. 

It is as though these lawyers I meet, who gush about how much they loved law school and love their law practice, have never made a bad decision in their lives. If they had, then they would understand that sometimes reality and expectations are dissonant. 

See, I was one of those people who thought law school would be an extension of undergraduate: fun and interesting. Oh, how stupid and naive I was. I still have fond memories of my undergraduate years. I loved my alma mater so much that I cried during commencement because my time there was over. I was nostalgic in a way I know I will not be about law school.

Oh, I am sure there will be tears during my law school commencement, but my tears will be for very different reasons. I will cry because I have six figure debt for a career path I loathe. I will cry because I will be so overcome with emotions - happiness, relief, gratitude, regret - that will all come pouring out of me through unchecked sobbing. 

6 comments:

gudnuff said...

I am quite surprised that you received no comments on this post. Your feelings are not atypical, which you probably know already and probably doesn't really help much to hear, I guess. I dunno, hearing "you are not alone" always makes me feel a little better. Anyway, sorry to hear that you're going through this, but it is what it is, and whether you value it or not, you do have this education, this formative experience inside your head now. You're not the same person as before. So while there's a bunch of bad stuff like debt and angst and frustration, disillusionment, resentment and ennui (maybe not ennui?), you have a pretty solid take on a lot of things, presumably you know how to write better, know about issues that affect adults as individuals and as citizens and as a society, know a little something about economic realities, about business realities...don't take that knowledge for granted. A lot of people are walking around clueless when it comes to stuff like that. It's not nothing to have a grip on that stuff. Yeah, a bunch of bad sh-t comes with it, especially the debt and the pressure to get some kicka-- job, but the point is, no matter what, you'd STILL be the age you are now, and you'd STILL have to be doing some kind of work in some kind of field, and you might know a lot less, hating things a lot more. I guess I'm trying to point out the half-full part of the glass. And if other happy attorneys are bemused by your plight, then screw them. Don't compare yourself to them. Don't talk to them. You are not a cow. You do not have to follow the herd or be upset that the herd doesn't see or feel things the way you are seeing thing or feeling things right now. Bottom line, the half-full part of this is not nothing. Don't just piss on it and take it for granted. There's a lot of pain, but there's a lot of good stuff too.

LawSchoolMom said...

People are probably not commenting because they are most likely tired of me whining about my law school experience which, as you point out, is not atypical.

gudnuff said...

Yeah, you're probably right. Or it hits too close to home for them. Or maybe they figure...sympathy is for suckers?

Well I've not lost my soul yet, and it's not ALL about me...I can spare five minutes for somebody else.
If I posted that, I would be even more disheartened by a complete lack of response. Seems like the human thing to do is to reach out and say we hear you, hang in there.

So......................

Hang in there! It's not over yet and it's not ALL bad. That's all I was trying to say. Hope things brighten up for you.

leisa said...

You have my sympathy. I started law school 7 years ago, left after 3 semesters, with the same feelings you expressed, got a master's, got married, started a career, then went back to finish. I am done now ... with the bar 2 weeks away (and let me say, I would take law school any day of the week over this!). But, I wanted to add, to say "a career path you loathe" is a little broad ... there are SO many things you can do with a law degree; I don't think it is possible to say a "career path" given that the options are almost limitless. You will be able to find a fit for you and make it work. I took a job in public interest, a nice extension of being a therapist (which I was in my past career) and have most of my loans paid for me as a result, still managing to make as much money as many of my friends who are lawyers. But aside from that, you can use the degree to do non-litigation things like mediation or something totally unrelated to the legal field, like education or corporate management. It is only a degree, the career is what you make of it.

LawSchoolMom said...

Leisa: You are right. I was being hyperbolic. There are many career options available to me with the law degree. Law school is just very different from what I expected and that is the real source of my unhappiness.

Catherine said...

I went running with my friend tonight who said her husband wasn't fond of law and most people he met didn't like it. I think law is something that it might take time to hit your stride in since it is so vast and figuring what you want to do or what opportunities you have. Remember Susan in another post? I don't want to be her. I want to help people without feeling like I'm being used. I want to be in a position where I'm truly making a difference. Look at the job you have now! I think in 10 yrs and 20 yrs and 50 yrs, you will look back on this with very different perspectives. Can't you even become a professor of law? Most colleges require you have a graduate degree or Master's in a specific area to teach. In 30 years, you can retire to a new career.