Posted by: tinyoliphant | January 19, 2013

Long way home

I’ve been inspired by Dar and Jess to resuscitate this long-forgotten blog. It’s unbelievable that the last time I posted anything here was at the beginning of 1L year.

The first year of law school was a struggle that I barely survived. During that time I often questioned my reasons for going to law school in the first place, and whether I would even be a good lawyer, or be able to find a job once I graduated. There were several points where I came so close to quitting but the only thing that stopped me was not having any place to turn to if actually I went through with it. It was so tough hearing about Alex’s amazing experiences in far-off lands during every phone call or Skype session while I was at home reading cases for eight hours a day and having an internal crisis with no one to talk to about my struggles. I didn’t want to talk to my parents or siblings because I didn’t want them to know that I was struggling with school. I couldn’t talk to my friends at school because it’s such a competitive environment and I didn’t want to show any signs of weakness although I’m sure they were going through the same things I was. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my issues while everyone seemed so busy with their own school and work. In addition, the combination of stress and living by myself for the first time was causing me to gain weight at an alarming rate.

So I just kept going. I made friends, worked hard in school, competed in moot court competitions, volunteered, networked, and joined organizations. I did all the things that I was supposed to do, with a smile on my face, the entire time hoping desperately that I was making the right decision. For the first time in my entire life I wasn’t getting good grades, which made me doubt myself even more. I was also struggling deeply with my decision to focus on corporate law and turning away from public interest work, which was what lead me to going to law school in the first place. The real turning point for me was in March when I was offered a summer position with a large firm in town. I took it as a sign. If they wanted me, then maybe I was doing the right thing after all. Things got a little better after that but not much. I struggled through to finish the rest of the year and was so relieved once it was finally over.

My experience in the summer was nothing short of amazing and it completely reenergized my feelings about myself, law school, and my career path. The things that I had learned in school all year finally made sense when given a context. I learned more about the law in those ten short weeks than in ten months of law school. I actually liked the work, too. After seeing that there was actually a light at the end of the long tunnel, I left that internship with a renewed sense of purpose, which I had been lacking for far too long.

This year, I have been working hard to improve my grades (my fall quarter grades gave me more A’s than in all of first year combined), lose weight (12 pounds since the summer), and make more connections in the legal field in Seattle.  My long-term goal is to be able to live comfortably, manage to pay off my student loans quickly, and be able to support my parents financially as they retire. I don’t have any regrets about last year. I still hate being in law school but for me it has always been a means to an end. At least now I have a better sense of what I need to do to reach that end.

 

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Responses

  1. Oh wow! I had no idea you were going through all of that. But I’m glad you pushed through and I hope the light at the end of the tunnel is even more clear! My main struggle was whether or not I wanted to do the joint degree in Public Health and I’m really glad I am pursuing it now. But yes. Law school is a means to an end! I think we’ll be just fine :) And congrats on the 12 lbs!! That’s awesome!


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