Since the day I graduated high school I knew I wanted to pursue education beyond my bachelor’s degree. I entered my freshman year of college determined to prepare myself for law school after four years in undergrad. Somewhere along the line my education path became pretty muddled. Since there was no clear “prelaw” pathway I felt free to study whatever whenever I wanted. In many ways the pursuit of whatever knowledge caught my attention was liberating. I changed my major from history to fashion and back to history. I took courses on the sociology of the family, religious hymns and children’s literature. I have always enjoyed learning about a wide array of subjects and in that sense college was truly my wonderland!
It wasn’t until the end of my senior year that I officially decided (100%) that I would major in history. Admittedly, a large part of my decision was based on the fact that I had already completed most of the necessary course work. I liked taking history courses so I had already taken many upper level history classes and really only needed to complete my capstone project and a historical research class. As silly as it sounds I never really cared what I majored in as an undergrad because I knew my undergrad degree was meant to be a stepping stone.
If it had been up to 22 year old me I would have enrolled in graduate school immediately after graduation, however, my very wise and less impetuous family encouraged me to take a few years off from school to work and experience the real world. My “few years off” from school have been both beneficial while simultaneously discouraging.
Rather than giving me clarity on the direction I should be going, my first year and a half out of college confused me! I held a handful of jobs in different industries all of which had their own set of perks and disappointments. Each day I felt more confused than the last…but looking back, in hindsight with time to reflect, I feel more clarity.
I will never be the girl with a sole interest. If I had to choose a sole skill set it would be research, analysis and writing. You can write and research and analyze in a lot of careers though. A love of learning and a drive to push myself intellectually is a strength…and often a source of insecurity (I’ll explain in a moment).
Jordan often jokes that my dream job is as a professional student. It’s true! I love classes, I love lectures, I love note taking and highlighters and hours spent studying in a quiet coffee shop. I like writing papers and libraries and study dates with other students. I know I have the drive to learn and a vested interest in higher education. The insecurity that often holds me back is my perception of my own intelligence. I worry I’m not smart enough.
Intelligence has always been at the top of my value system. I idealize intelligence over kindness, over friendliness, over beauty…over everything! That’s not to say I don’t see value in kindness or compassion or someone who can throw a fabulous dinner party, it’s just that intelligence has always been the trait I’ve most coveted.
Defining yourself as outgoing or kind or creative or athletic seems relatively straightforward to me. I can easily label myself as introspective or friendly, loving or loyal, fit but uncoordinated. When it comes to intelligence it’s a lot more difficult for me to pinpoint how to define it. There are so many kinds of intelligence. We can’t solely define intelligence by a GPA, a single skill set, the results of a test or the number of classes we’ve taken. Perhaps because intelligence is the trait I admire most, it’s also the trait I always feel I fall short of reaching.
Woah, where am I going here? I promise I’m not completely directionless with my rambling. I have spent a good deal of time reflecting since last September, it’s been a major year for self exploration. I decided to give myself the freedom to pursue several interests before fully committing to a graduate school path. Since fashion has also been a continual interest I found a job in the field (which then led to another job) and began taking online courses related to fashion during my free time. I am so happy I have followed my interest in fashion as it helped me to discover my desire for a career that places a strong emphasis on academia, research, writing and logic is the environment I crave!
I am so grateful for the brides I had the opportunity to meet and work with while working as a bridal stylist. I am so grateful for my current job as a fashion specialist at Amazon. I’m not planning on going anywhere and I am certainly not any less dedicated to my day to day responsibilities but I have decided to take the initial steps towards a pursuit I have put on hold for quite a few years now. I have started studying for the LSAT.
Sharing ambitions centered around learning is very scary for me (one of the first realizations that clued me into my insecurity with my own intelligence). I don’t want to tell the world I’m studying for a test like the LSAT because that means if I don’t do well I have to admit that I failed myself or that I wasn’t smart enough and that sort of confession is embarrassing.
Tuesday night on the phone with my family I realized how silly my hang ups on my own intelligence and willingness to share my plans really are. My aunt had told my grandparents and Dad about my plan to study for the LSAT and potentially go to law school…and for whatever reason people knowing my “secret plans” freaked me out. I immediately assumed they all thought my goals were stupid. Internally I put up a guard and changed the subject because on the inside I was convinced they thought I would fail.
Whether or not my own relatives believe in me isn’t the issue, the greater issue I’ve realized is my willingness to believe in myself. At this point I’m not 100% certain of my long term plan, I have my ideas and interests but I’m taking this test (and my future) in baby steps.
I’m enrolled in a rigorous LSAT prep course that begins at the end of this month and I intend to take the December LSAT. Does this mean applying for law schools for fall 2017? Potentially. Does it mean retaking the LSAT in February or June and applying for law school in 2018? Potentially. I’m working on planning for the future without getting hung up on arbitrary dates or binding myself with self inflicted timelines. I’m taking each day, each milestone and each goal step by step.
Consequently my LSAT study over the next few months will probably affect my blogging schedule. I’ve already cut back quite a bit in attempt to balance work, a social life, exercise and studying. My decrease in blog posts in no way reflects a decrease in love for this space, for the relationships I’ve formed on this strange internet world or my love for writing. I’m not sure I’ll ever achieve a perfect balance between blogging, work, studying, exercising, relationships, etc, etc… but I intend to strive for it.
If any of you guys have ever taken the LSAT I would love to read your tips. In the meantime I’ll do my best to keep this space versatile (aka not just discussing test stress or study strategies) but I can’t promise I’ll be perfect. This blog has always been a reflection of where I’m at in life at the moment.