Journey, My Life

The Lost Wanderer

Ever since I was little, I’ve had a goal in mind. I knew I wanted to do to college then grad school and have this amazing job doing something I love. Once I hit high school, I made sure to stay out of trouble, get good grades, and find ways to pad my college admissions essays in furtherance of that goal. In college, I took relevant classes, made sure I was close with professors for recommendations, and worked hard in my classes. Then, I hit law school, somehow survived, and passed the bar. Mission accomplished.

I’m sitting at a place in my life where I’ve accomplished my biggest life goal. I am a licensed attorney with a full time (albeit non-practing) job. I get to take pro bono cases and help those who need it. I have a steady job with a good income that can support my family. So really, what is supposed to happen now?

Now, I’m tasked with finding this new goal. Some goal I can pour my heart and soul into in hopes that one day I will be successful. While the obvious choice may be starting a family or saving money, I find those goals are too reliant on other people. It’s hardly fair to put the burden of my success and happiness on a future child; or require my husband to put aside his wants and desires in search of my goals. Instead, I need to find a goal that only I can achieve, without relying on others for my happiness.

See, some wanderers are lost.

Advertisements
Journey, Law practice, My Life

The non-practicing attorney

The decision to stop practing, if that even what you call what I was doing, was not an easy one. It took a long time hemming and hawing over the right decision for me and it came down to two factors:

  1. Was I wasting all the work I had put in to not practice?
  2. What would everyone think?

I had spent the last three years in law school, toiling away for essentially a piece of paper and a big test. I had spent months preparing for the bar, waiting for results, and job searching. There were countless hours worrying over school and money, trying to keep my relationship together, and just trying to be human. If I decided not to practice, would I regret it? Would all that be wasted? And most importantly, would I be making a difference in the world?

Ultimately, I decided that practicing was exhausting. I went into law school wanting to make a difference and instead felt like the bulk of my time was spent plugging and chugging on motions or answer phone calls from strung out clients. I didn’t feel like I was making an impact in anyone’s life and I certainly wasn’t changing the world. The three years I spent in law school taught me a lot, and not just the actual law. It taught me to think critically, be skeptical, and always look for the hidden facts. It taught me I can be resilient, work well under pressure, and multitask like a champ. But, it was up to me to use those skills to do something important.

By not practicing, I am able to do just that. I still work with lawyers, I still have to keep up on legal news, and I still get to spend my free time researching things I’m passionate about. I get to talk to lawyers all over the world about things that made my law school and practice experience easier and can help them help their clients. But, because I’m not mentally and emotionally exhausted by practicing, I can take the skills I have to be a CASA/GAL, to help homeless individuals with their leases, and to take pro bono cases when I have the time. I’m able to be around for my future kids childhoods and go to PTA meetings. I can be actively involved in my community and create change there.

In the end, I’m happy with my decision. I think I got the best of both worlds, a stable job I love and the ability to effect change in my community. And as for what other people think, it just doesn’t matter.

Job search, Journey

My first vacation!

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve accepted a full time job! I will now be a telelphonic solutions consultant for Lexis Nexis here in Dayton. I’m SO excited to start my new job and can’t wait to see what I can learn.

That being said, I have another (almost) 2 weeks before I officially start my job. That means, I have a built in 2 week vacation where I don’t have to worry about anything! No bar prep, no classes, no job searching, nothing! It’s the most liberating feeling. I’m looking forward to getting things done around the house, relaxing, and visiting family.

Journey, My Life, School

A year out

Finding balance in life is not an attorney’s strong suit. We spend 3 years putting off our life to go through law school, 8 weeks doing the same for bar prep, and once we’re in a career it’s likely any semblance of balance goes out the window for life. When I was in law school, I had a counselor make a point that really helped me re-focus my life after graduation. For three years, we live in survival mode. Everything that isn’t law school or basic survival needs goes out the window. Once we’re out in the real world, slowly we can regain control and find actually hobbies and passions.

Now, I’m out in the real world. Finding balance is not as easy as I would hope it could be. This coming February, I’m a year out from the bar exam and just starting to find who I am as a person. I’ve found I love cooking and can’t just sit and relax. I love running and being involved in the local community. I’ve grown in my ability to make small talk and help other people solve their problems. I’m more compassionate and patient.

Being out of the law school trenches changes who you are. You become a human again. At the time, three years seemed like such a long time but now that it’s over, it’s become a little blip in the map. I truly feel for those in the middle of it, but stay the course and make it through!

Journey

Adapting to non-school life

I’m a K-JD, which means I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a full time student. I was also the “nerdy” student that went to summer school basically every year. Hey, they had fun classes! But, being a K-JD means for a long time, my entire life has been about school. I’ve spent countless hours in class, studying, reading, etc. and it has become a huge part of my identity.

As I’ve started going to job interviews, one question I get asked and never really have a response to is “what are your hobbies?”. Now, if my answer was completely honest, I’d say “I have no hobbies. My life has been school and I’m less than a year out.” But, usually I go with some of the smaller hobbies I’m attempting to start. Making the switch to the “real” world is difficult. Outside of doing adult things like paying bills and buying groceries, being in school gives you built in friends that just don’t exist as you get older. Learning and being interested in learning meant exploring whatever you were learning about at the time. Now that school isn’t a part of my life, finding things to fill that hole is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

The good part about starting fresh is being able to do absolutely anything that interests me. I picked up gardening when we moved into our new house because the woman that lived here before had a very beautiful, intricate garden. I’ve since learned it is not my strong suit. Working on my math skills (which have always been terrible) and brushing up on my French have filled a good chunk of my time. I love finding new things to try and figuring out what I’m good at but the initial shock of what is now my new life was very difficult to get over. It’s a hard pill to swallow that while doing something you love so much, law for me, you lose sight of all the other things in life that you should be experiencing. Luckily, I have a whole (hopefully long) life ahead of me to adapt to my new world.

Journey

Law School Graduation

13173666_10209401725943386_8008873558059453900_n

 

This past weekend I had the incredible honor of walking at my law school graduation! It was an incredible occasion receiving my hood and watching my best friends from the past three years graduate. We were lucky enough to have a distinguished alumni, Judge Frank Geraci of the Western District of New York give our commencement speech.

After graduation, my entire family went to lunch and hung out at our house. It was great having my family here to celebrate with me and I am so grateful that I have such a supportive family that drives 6 hours for a formality. I spent time with my adorable niece and nephew, got work done around the house, and was able to cook a pretty impressive meal for everyone. I’m very excited to see what my future holds and work toward getting my first lawyer job.

Journey

The Waiting

Well, Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part. It’s been about six weeks since I took the bar exam and while a lot has happened, waiting around for results has been the worst of it.

After you finish the exam, it’s a huge weight off your shoulders. The eight weeks of studying leading up to the exam suck but once it’s done, it’s done and there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome. The bar dreams, at least for me, stop and you feel like you can finally breath. But, waiting for those results is killer. Because there’s nothing you can do, all I’ve done is sit here and think over where I could have done better. I’m convinced my best wasn’t good enough this time around and I’ve come to terms with passing or failing.

I have two weeks left. Eleven days more specifically. It’s a countdown I’m half looking forward to ending and half terrified I’ll have to restart the process all over again. I’ve made it this far and even worst case, I will be licensed in 7 months so regardless I can’t be too upset. So here’s to distractions, projects, and a few panic attacks until April 22nd.

Journey

Law school isolation

Law school is a very isolating experience. When I first joined my sorority (or rather Fraternity) I was told that from the outside looking in, you can’t understand it; from the inside looking out you, can’t explain it. Law school is exactly like this. I briefly touched on this during my bar prep survival post but it seems to extend far beyond what I thought it did. People outside law school can’t understand obsessing over exams, ┬ábeing overwhelmed by loan debt, and job searching. It’s just not possible.

I’ve recently realized how isolating law school is when I started studying for the bar. For me, bar prep nightmares have already started and I’m constantly stressed out. Naturally, I lean on my family and friends when I’m stressed and no one outside my law school friends seem to grasp how important it is. When I talked to Patrick about everything, his only response is to not worry because I succeed at everything that I put my mind to. Ok, so that’s mostly valid but the bar is like nothing I’ve ever done before and if the past round of results showed me, no one is immune from failing.

Even outside the bar, non-law students have a hard time understanding exactly what you have to do to be successful as a law student and future lawyer. I constantly try to make notes about judges or attorneys, network when I can, do well on exams, etc. It’s constant work and I never take time for just myself. Somehow, this blows peoples’ mind. But when you talk to other law students, they understand completely.

Law school to non-law students is just another year of school, not a completely different way of learning. How have you dealt with the isolation of law school?

Journey

3L doubt

There comes a time during 3L year that every single law student I’ve ever met feels the exact same way: burnt out and over law. I sit here and think “can I be a lawyer?” “Do I even want to be a lawyer?” “I’m so sick of law” and wonder if I’m headed in the right direction anymore. Maybe being a lawyer isn’t what I was meant to do and going to law school was a huge waste.

I’m 95% sure that every 3L feels this way at some point during the last year of law school. It’s really difficult to be so close to the end and have this lingering doubt that the past three years actually meant something. Law is exhausting. It’s being nice to your clients, doing endless research, constant learning. Law in general is mentally exhausting. Do I really want to be mentally exhausted all the time?

Having doubts is totally normal. I feel this way off and on all the time. There is no guarantee that I’ll get into being a lawyer and love it. I could hate it. The last three years could have been for nothing. That’s the great part of life. Nothing is guaranteed and everyone is just going along trying to figure it out. I could hate law, I could love law. There is no promise of how I’ll feel tomorrow. For now, what I do know is that I may hate law sometimes, but the satisfaction of solving a problem and helping someone outweighs the struggle it can be sometimes.

Journey

PLEASE tell me this happens??

I know some law. I know the 5th amendment only extends to testimonial things. I know parenting Is a fundamental right. I remember things from class and can explain them fairly well. BUT I have no idea what case it comes from. Please, please, please tell me that at some point I’ll remember the cases well enough that I don’t have to Lexis search the keywords just to find them. There’s nothing worst than knowing something is 100% correct, but having to look around to find sources. Will I eventually remember cases to cite??