Sunday, April 15, 2012

Law School: Thinking it through

This is partly a response to a comment on my post about going to law school found here, and partly some topics that I want to work out in writing for myself.  If you click on that link and scroll down, you can read the thoughtful comment that I am responding to.

The topics in the comment are things that I have thought of.  I have thought of them, but I can never come to any crystal clear conclusions.  My thoughts surrounding these topics never form a clear picture.  I can articulate my thoughts and feelings well a lot of the time, but my thoughts and feelings about this stuff never come clear.  There are too many variables.  There is so much that I cannot know.

I have thought about the cost of law school.  I actually didn't know that UF was so inexpensive.  I thought all law schools came to about $100,000.  I'm glad to hear that UF is in the $45,000 range.  When I think of the cost I have to think of my alternative routes to avoiding that cost... and I can't think of what I might do if I didn't get a higher degree, which even if it isn't law school, will cost.  I think of the jobs I have done.  What would I do now?  How would I support myself and give myself the best chance of upward momentum for the future?  Not getting a higher degree means finding a job.  I've been in theatre my whole life.  This is where my ideas get muddy, cause I've rarely had a regular job.  I don't know what I would do now if I don't go to school.  And besides that, I do WANT to go to school.

I have read the statistics about law school graduates.  Many people don't find jobs.  Many don't find jobs that support their student loan debt.  Nothing I do will automatically mean PAYCHECK, unless I go back to Starbucks and get a paycheck that will just get me by and make me miserable.  Again, there are so many variables and so much that I cannot know.  Should I let these statistics change my course?  Right now I see a fork in the road:  Down one side I see school, down the other I don't see anything.  I can work toward school.  I can plan for the next step in my life.  I can anticipate good things from a realistic perspective.  I can't flounder aimlessly down that other path that, at the end of which, I see nothing.  Again, my choice after these considerations would be school.

And of course I think of Knox, and have thought of him in regards to this decision.  I would love nothing more than to be a stay at home mother, but unless I win the lottery or get swept up by someone wonderful who wants to take care of us, I can't be that, so no matter what I do, I will spend a lot of time away from him.  And again, I see these two paths.  Do I walk Knox down the path that I feel confident about, which is going to school (and the school I feel drawn to is law school), or do I walk my baby down a road where I don't know the monsters ahead?  With school, it will be hard.  Anything will be hard work.  With school, I will spend time away from him.  With anything I do I will spend time away from him.  I'm torn by everything I do that is away from him, but I can't halt my life over it.  When I look down the road that includes school, I know the monsters and how to slay them, and of course there are always the variables that no one can know ahead of time, but I feel equipped to handle what unexpected things may come in that world.  Down the muddy road with no goal, I suspect what might be down there... jobs that don't suit me with little potential for advancement.  I feel that if I go down that second road, at each road block I will begin again where I started.  With law school, I will never again be without the education I received.  I will grow.  I will strengthen my mind and improve my knowledge.  I will learn so much about how to handle myself in the world, and how to succeed.  No one will be able to take that from me.  And that's the woman I want to be taking care of Knox.  The world with more potential is where I want Knox.

I have attended a law school class in the past.  I have taken tours of law schools.  I think I happen to have a few of the most successful friends I could have that have been through law school, and therefore my pool for observation is skewed, but I understand the risks, and I have been weighing them for years.  And, I will shamefully admit that being from that same pool enhances my confidence a bit.  I have talked to very successful people, as well as friends who say it's a waste of time.  As with anything, experiences are what you make them, and experiences are different for each person.  Again, life is full of unexpected things and so much that we cannot plan for.  I took the LSAT in 2003 or 2004.  I have to take it again because my score is expired, and of course I hope to improve upon that score the 2nd time around.  I have been thinking about this for a very long time. 

You are so right, my friendly commenter.  There is a boat load of stuff to think about; and I do.  I try.  There is so much I don't know and can't know.  So, I do my best with what I do know, and in the end, follow my instincts.  What more can I do?

Thank you for your caring words.

From Japan,

1 comment:

sylvain said...

If it is truly what you desire, I say go for it!

I am in a similar process right now and I will know in less than 2 months if I am accepted at University, which will mean no time for myself for the next 4years (minimum), student loans, working every time I am not at school, tons of homework and stuff to do for school, some sleep after spending time with family/friends, but it will also mean that I will be working to achieve my biggest dream.

That said, no matter the field you choose, it will always be hard and you always need to work your ass off to get what you desire. People who think that just a paper is enough are lunatics. Yes, you need the paper, but you need the guts as well to go for it and conquer otherwise you stay at the bottom and just complain about everything. Instead, people should try turning all those frustrations into something useful which would help them get a better job! All the time they spend complaining, if it was spent on learning something new or doing something special at your workplace, might just give them the raise they so desire...

You friend made some very good comments, but like you said, every experience is lived differentely depending on the person. You can see it like a glass of water: either half full or half empty. If you see the glass half empty, no matter what you do in life will become a dissapointment; if you see it half full, you will get what you want (sometimes its just a question of perspective!)

And if I can allow myself, when it comes to money, no one should care. People say they struggle and they cannot manage to pay everything at the end of the month. I am sorry but with a salary of 58K$/year (which is what your friend mentioned), I can pay back a loan of 45K$ in 3 years(and I am stretching it here). I need roughly 15K$/year to live a very good life, I seriously don't understand how someone struggles with that much in their pockets!? You have a kid to take care of, sure, double it and spend 30K/year, you still pay it back in less than 10 years. There is nothing scary there!

People just live above their means, all the time, to impress their neighbors and people around them instead of thinking about what they really need. When you realize that, you can do whatever you want even if you just work at Starbucks all your life. ;)

Cheers and good luck with your thought process.

Take care :)