Hello again! Today I finally decided to share with y'all my story of why I decided to go to law school just for any undergrad who is still considering signing up for this major life change or anyone out there who was just generally curious.
Why Law SchoolMy "why law school" story actually isn't all that great so I hated trying to work it in to my personal statement and still kinda hope that no one asks me about it in an interview because truthfully, I just kinda decided law school on a whim. It wasn't exactly like a Legally Blonde "I think I'll go to law school today" whim but also I definitely am not one of those people who had this great moment in my life that impacted my decision to come here.
My freshman year I was an extreme type-A person who had my whole life planned out. I was going to be married by 21, a doctor by 26, a mom before 30, and have my own practice by 35... But by the end of the first semester of my freshman year, I was heartbroken and had failed chemistry so my life plan kinda fell apart. I realized that the only reason I was upset was because I had set all these unattainable goals for myself so I decided to become a go with the flow kinda of person.
The next semester I was complaining to a friend about retaking chemistry and she told me that she didn't have to take that class because she was going to be a lawyer and there were no prerequisite classes for law school (ironically she actually ended up switching to pre-med). My mom had always joked that I'd make a great lawyer because I'm very argumentative so I started to consider law school a little more seriously.
I joined the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and loved it when we had lawyers come talk about what they actually do. One day we had a panel of current law students come talk to us and I remember this one 3L talking about how she decided to go to law school because she's a lesbian and one day decided that participating in rallies wasn't enough for her so she decided to be a lawyer to work for her cause from the inside. Obviously my story isn't as great as hers, but I loved the idea of the real power that comes from being a lawyer.
And that was kinda that. By the time that I was applying to law schools, I just had this gut feeling that I was doing what I was supposed to be with my life and that being a lawyer was meant for me. Two years later, I'm still just going with the flow and have kinda decided that I want to do business/commercial law but have absolutely no reason except for that I just like it so why not.
Why I Stay in Law School
First things first, I have come to realize this week that there are two kinds of people in law school — ones who love it (me) and ones who really really don't like it. At first I just thought it was 3L's having senioritis and wanting to be done with school already, but recently I met a girl who was explaining why she sincerely doesn't like it and now I realize that there actually are a lot of people who would drop out but they want to be a lawyer that bad that they stick it out for 3 years. I mean remember how Nick Miller from New Girl dropped out his 2L year because he hated it? I respect their commitment to being lawyers and really feel bad that they're not enjoying it as much as I am.
I think the reason why I enjoy it so much and kinda have the attitude that everyone should go to law school is that I genuinely love the challenge of it. That's not to say that I love law school all the time because I definitely don't. Some days I cry because I'm stressed and other days I have to scream into a pillow because I'm so frustrated. Frustrated at professors, frustrated at classmates, frustrated at the casebook author, at the majority's opinion, at the dissenting's opinion, at a certain subject, at the deadlines. It's hard most of the time, tbh. Think of it like college except for you're studying for finals all semester instead of just two weeks and there aren't any frat parties for you to go to after a bad week.
On the flip side, I love that I'm finally learning something that new all the time. Not to be braggy, but in college I felt like most of what I was learning was something that I could figure out on my own. For example, one time I took anthropology and honestly I already knew most of the things we learned from reading an article about it or watching an episode of National Geographic. But here in law school, almost everything I learn is brand new.
The self-satisfaction you feel after the challenge of learning some hard concept is amazing. And I love that what I'm learning is real-world applicable. I mean honestly I'll probably never use what I learned in most of my undergrad classes again, but I can use my legal knowledge all the time! That's another thing I like, that the legal profession is one where you're always learning. I like this because I still am a perfectionist so I'm always wanting to improve myself.
Lastly, I just love the power that the law gives you. Just like the girl who visited my pre-law meeting, I can change laws one day if I want to, or I have the chance to help someone be righted for a wrong. The other day this very rude man in a Walmart parking lot got heated at me and yelled "I'm going to sue you!" (it was really over nothing, don't worry) and I turned right back around and said "Oh yeah? Under what theory??" If I hadn't gone to law school, I probably would've cried when a huge man was yelling at little 5'2 me, but I wasn't intimidated by him because I knew better. And when my old landlord initially didn't want to give me my deposit money back, I wrote him a nice little letter like I'd learned in my legal writing class and informed him of the various statutes he was violating and he suddenly changed his mind about keeping my money. Again, if I hadn't gone to law school there's no way that I would've had the confidence to stand up for myself against a business owner.
I know my story isn't exactly going to motivate anyone to come to law school, but I hope it helps anyone out there not be dissuaded from coming here. Sure some students' parents and grandparents are lawyers and that's all they've ever dreamed about being, but you don't have to have this big compelling reason to decide to come to law school. Sometimes you just know. So if you're up for a challenge (and no, I don't use that word lightly here), then maybe you'll end up loving law school, too.