For a LONG time, I planned on going to a top law school, specializing in corporate law, and becoming a Big Law partner by the time I’m 35. Yes, I had that life mapped out when I was 13. I like to read, I like to write, I like to nit-pick. I’d be the perfect lawyer!
I talked about becoming a lawyer all the time when I was younger. So Mom tolerated my liberal arts degree because she always assumed that I’d go to law school. This is how I escaped the dreaded, “so, WHAT are you going to do with that degree?” question for the first couple years of college. But my focus changed. After seeing older friends struggle with the Beast (also known as LSAT), and really wanting a break from 3 MORE years of schooling, I decided that I wasn’t sure about law school. Mom freaked out. In retrospect, I couldn’t really blame her. I mean, she spent $100,000 for me to read great books and think and delve into the questions of life, which is all fine and good, but doesn’t even BEGIN to pay the bills.
But despite the tension and pressure from Mom (and myself), I am really glad that I didn’t let what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life-let’s-go-to-law-school! push me into applying. Because once I’m on that treadmill I would’ve ran with everything I’ve got. So I knew, if I’m serious about law school, that would require a huge investment in terms of time, money, and energy. Then AFTER I get into a school, comes writing the tuition checks for $50,000 a year. After thinking it over, I concluded that I should NOT go $150,000 into debt to be tortured by the Socratic method.
I think this is something that many liberal arts students don’t think about. If they’re smart and don’t really know what to do after graduation, law school is often the default option. A J.D. is a valuable degree, but law school is such a huge investment when you’re not sure if you want to do law. Unless you go into Big Law for several years, it’d be pretty difficult to pay back the mountain of debt that you owe to Mr. Socratic. Fortunately, things worked out for me. I got a good job. I’m happy. Mom’s happy. 😉