Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Did someone say navel-gazing?

It's been a while since I posted anything about law school, aside from one rant about my terrible grades that is getting all the attention, but I've been thinking about it alot, so I thought I would try to come up with something.

When I first started this blog, it was to talk mostly about stuff I thought was funny, some of which is related to law school because, hey, let's face it, if you get this many socially awkward, tense, sleep-deprived, nutty people in one place, funniness is bound to follow. Right? And, as an aside, someone pointed out once that I make fun of my fellow classmates and my professors all the time but that I should be aware that I self-selected into this environment so there might be something wrong with me too. Duly noted. Let's move on.

This morning I thought to myself that the thought of failing out of law school is actually kind of a romantic notion. In my "failing out of law school" alternative reality, I am sitting at a cocktail party, just me and Cabana Boy and my 10 closest friends, and I'm recounting to my rapt audience how, once upon a time, I failed out of law school but it was actually a blessing in disguise because it led me to my true calling, which of course turned out to be marvelously intrinsically and extrinsically rewarding. They all murmur exclamations of support and envy over my ability to overcome such terrible odds and persevere through it all, finding my true calling, and a hottie Cabana Boy, in the process.

In real life, I'm not going to fail out of law school. You know why? Because I go to a first tier school with a B curve that doesn't fail you out but allows you to wallow in a nebulous state of "damned if you, damned if you don't." My grades are OK, middling, mediocre, minimally meaningful, etc. My motivation (love those "m" words today) is slightly lagging. My interest in the law is, ummmm...., focused. And by "focused" I mean "I know pretty much all the stuff I hate." I'm not doing well enough to be overly enthused. I struggle through a lot of my classes feeling like everyone else gets all this stuff on a much deeper level than me and that it's pathetic I'm still here plugging away and trying to keep up. On the other hand, I am still really interested in many things about the law and the legal profession. I like my current job, but wish I had more time for it. I'm excited about my upcoming summer job. I love the "people stuff."

So, the point of this post isn't to make you all go "oh, everyone feels that way in law school" or "don't worry, I'm sure you're doing great" or whatever. I know that people have varying degrees of enthusiasm about law school and that I am not alone, either in my ability to do my part for the bottom of the bell curve, or in my angst-ed-ness over this short-term situation. The point of this post (if it has one at all, which is, let's face it, doubtful), is that I've been thinking a lot about alternative legal careers and I've also been thinking a lot about the overall seriousness of my situation. I have somehow become sucked into the "OHMYGODTHISISLAWSCHOOLIMUSTCONFORM" panic that seems to sweep all law students, at least on occassion. The way I've always handled life crises before is to map out what the absolute worst case scenario is and then see if I could handle it.

Worst Case "I fail out of law school or am a failure as a lawyer" Scenario:

I have a lot of loans that I have pay off.
- I have a master's degree and tons of professional experience, I can get a job easily in several different fields. I have friends and family that love me and will never let me end up in a truly dire situation. There's always webcams for fun and profit.

My family would be disappointed.
- This isn't their life and I've disappointed them before and they've still loved me. I can always lie and say I'm a lawyer and do something else (i.e. webcams). Check into fake business cards.

I have bad grades on my transcript and no one will interview me/hire me.
- I actually have a personality, therefore, at some point I should be able to beat out some of these assholes who have good grades but are legal and social automatons. Barring that, I can invest in a wardrobe that is heavily low-cut shirt-centric.

I don't like it here and might get stuck here, either practicing law or not.
- I have moved roughly 25 times in my life, I am never stuck anywhere. There is nothing more freeing than selling what you can, packing up the rest, and heading out to parts unknown. Parent's basement is always a last resort, but still a viable option. Sorta.

OK, I am feeling better now. Nothing terrible is going to happen if I take the time to figure some shit out as I go along. I get so caught up in the things that have to be done RIGHT NOW, that I forget to go back and assimilate what I know, and synthesize, to use a favorite legal learning term around these parts.

I am going to *try* to find a way not to hate this entire experience. I know it is a means to an end. I know it is short term. I know that *some* other people are having the same reservations and concerns that I am(some are actually gleefully excited about law school and I don't know what to make of that). But, I can't, in good conscience, let the next year and a half roll over me with every day gone and nothing to show for it but 15 hours spent studying for grades which, as it turns out, mean very little to me, to show to employers who, as it also turns out, mean very little to me if all they care about it grades.

Whew. Glad I got that all out. Blogging is like group therapy or something. I can't stop talking, even though I know no one cares, because, well, I love to hear the sound of my own voice (I SHOULD be a lawyer). But also, I want to record this stuff as I think it, so that as I go back, no matter what I end up doing, I can see where I was at different points. These posts are little pencil marks on the side of the kitchen doorway of my life. Or something like that. Yeah.
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