I am a writer, a painter, a dog owner, a prankster, a daughter, a friend, and an avid believer in the sanctity of Star Wars. However, most of my time during the past two years has been poured into my alternate identity, a law student. I’m not particularly bitter or unhappy with my legal education, but I do get frustrated with the feeling that my life is on hold until I can put those magical two letters, J.D., at the end of my name.
My journey to attorney-hood has been rocky, and at times I can’t help but feel a little detached from my chosen profession. While some of my peers indulge in the process of comprehending the legal system, I often find myself reacting to my education as a penance for my liberal-arts degree. I don’t hold a Finch-like passion for justice, I’m not a Law and Order kind of person, and John Grisham was never one of my favorite authors. However, I was still harshly swept into the profession and consumed by it’s demanding nature.
Somewhere in the battle for class rank, I lost myself in the intellectual bloodbath. I felt no joy in cultivating my creativity, my writing started to resemble an appellate brief, and my love of people faded into a cynical wall of frustration for human nature. I quickly discovered something remarkably crucial, I have absolutely no desire to be a lawyer.
As this realization bore into my naive spirit, I contemplated quitting, but had no idea how to start over. So instead of accepting my fate of becoming another faceless attorney in the sea of firm life, I made a change in my priorities and began to use my education to pursue my true passions.
Although I had once ruled out human rights work, disregarding the field as impractical, when I gave it up, I didn’t realize how much of myself I would be losing. After I began volunteering again and interning with human rights organizations, I finally felt like I got an essential piece of my identity back.
I found a reason to appreciate and enjoy my education, because it made me a better human rights advocate. I am more efficient, I am a better technical writer, and I approach issues through logical analysis.
The general consensus of our generation seems to convey that we have been deeply betrayed by higher education. There is some truth to such a generalization, but this has not been my experience. I’ll probably never be rich and debt strongly weighs on my shoulders, but that doesn’t mean my academic life has been a failure. Ultimately, I am more intelligent, a better worker, and a stronger asset to my field.
So call me naive, but I will not consider the accumulation of my knowledge a waste. It helped me become the best possible version of myself and understand my true priorities. Although I do not plan on practicing law in the conventional sense, I am deeply humbled and grateful at the doors my education has opened. Law school has been unyielding and exhausting, but I still consider my choice to attend one of my better life decisions.