When I first typed out my thoughts on graduate school and shared them with the internet, I’ll be honest, I was a bit scared. Two years ago I announced I would be starting a grad program in business and for a number of reasons it didn’t work out. Looking back I am really glad I didn’t enroll in that specific program-it wasn’t right for me, I was floundering and rushing into the first opportunity that seemed decent. Still, I felt like sharing this opportunity and then not seeing it through made me seem flaky and non-committal. So when I shared my decision to study for the LSAT I worried…what if I don’t do well on the LSAT? What if I decide it isn’t right for me? What if schools don’t accept me? I can write “vulnerably” about dating or politics or friendships but writing about my own career and education highlights deeper fears and insecurities.
The Application Process
I studied for the LSAT every night after work and in coffee shops on the weekends, I sat for the nearly 6 hour test and consumed blogs, podcasts and books about law school (I don’t know if any of you are preparing for law school, if so let me know and I will prepare a post with the resources I used). I exchanged emails and phone calls with attorneys asking about their jobs, their experience in law school and I quit my job in fashion to work at a lower paying job at the front desk of a law firm. As I sent off applications I wondered “what if I don’t get into any of the schools I’m applying to?” What if I spent all that time studying and interviewing others, what if I gave up a higher paying job and forfeited sacred Saturdays for, well, nothing…? After weeks and weeks of anticipation (and obsessive email checking) the decisions started rolling in. Accepted, waitlisted, denied, accepted, accepted, accepted, waitlisted! For those of you that don’t want to do the math that is four acceptances, two waitlists and one flat out rejection. I don’t know what the norm is for most applicants but given the schools I applied to and my own individual variables I am happy with the results. Though I’m not quite ready to disclose all of the details of my decision (I promised to share more soon) I am happy to say I will be starting law school even earlier than anticipated. I’m starting law school this summer! My decision to go to law school feels so right because I worked for it.
I applied to three Washington schools, one Oregon school and three southern California schools. Most law school experts recommend applying to at least fifteen schools (crazy right?!) but I was planning to retake the LSAT so I didn’t feel stressed about reaching that quota. I honestly thought I would be resubmitting applications in the fall so I only applied to schools I was genuinely interested in and/or were in my home state. As silly as it sounds I thought I would use this admission cycle as a “trial run” and then base my next cycle of applications off of the results. Looking back I think this theory was my non-committal way of testing the waters because I wasn’t sure the schools I was interested in would accept me. Luckily the first decision I received was an acceptance so even though the second was a denial I never became too disheartened. I did not receive all of my law school decisions all at once, in fact the decisions trickled in rather slowly.
I attended a networking function for admitted students at one of the law schools I applied to. The day’s agenda included a mock law school class, a panel of alumi speakers, a lunch with the dean, alumni and professors, and various other panels/information sessions. The days leading up to the event I questioned whether I should even attend. I spent my lunch break at work reading and briefing cases for the mock class, but I still couldn’t calm the butterflies in my stomach. The night before I jokingly said to Jordan “maybe I shouldn’t go“. My apartment was still not unpacked, I couldn’t find my shoes or my hairspray-my life was a mess scattered in brown cardboard boxes. In reality I was afraid. Even though I was admitted to the same law school, even though I took the same LSAT, I subconsciously worried I wasn’t smart enough. I shook myself out of it and forced myself to go to the law school event and (no surprise) was really happy I attended. As embarrassing as it is to confess there was even a moment I teared up because I was so touched by one of the alumni speakers. Overall I walked away from the day with a clearer vision of the school, my future and the law school experience I want to have. Just imagine if I hadn’t gone to stay home and unpack dishes?
What type of Law do you want to Practice?
One of the first questions people tend to ask when I mention law school is “what type of law do you want to practice?” It’s a justifiable question but my answer is multi-faceted so I’ll give you the lawyer answer first “it depends” and the detailed answer for those of you who care to read on. I was drawn to law school as a means to work in a field that can promote social justice. I know I sound (and am) incredibly idealistic when I say I want to work in family law or human rights law however the school I will be attending places a heavy emphasis on social justice and has quite a few opportunities to become involved in the local community. I am not naïve enough to believe that I know much about being a lawyer (or even being a law student) at this point in my life. Sure I’ve read books, done research and asked the right questions but research can only get you so far-I know my experience in law school will expand my thinking and evolve my ideas of what I want to do for my career. I’m in the conscious incompetence place right now and I’m fully embracing it. I intend to go into law school with an open mind. Everyone’s first year of law school courses are essentially the same and it’s my plan to dip my toes in as many different subfields as possible to determine what calls to me. I’m open to social justice calling to me the way it has but I’m also open to discovering a passion for tax law or elder’s rights or whatever.
What…like it’s hard?!
I can’t wait to share this next big journey in my life with you guys. I have a feeling come summer my whole world will be turned upside down. I’m going to do my best to keep blogging regularly as it has been a wonderful creative outlet and stress relief for me over the past four years…I just don’t know what regularly is going to mean yet. Brace yourselves and be prepared for loads of nervous beginnings of law school content, lots of Legally Blonde references and probably a few stress/anxiety related posts here and there too #Truth. If you’ve made it through this entire post (even if you skimmed) thank you so much for reading and just know how much I appreciate your virtual support. I’m in for a massive journey and now I’m ready to begin!