Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

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shookspeare

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Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby shookspeare » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:11 pm

Hi! I'm a very confused rising senior in university. The past 3 years have been anything but straightforward and I've changed my mind about what I want to do countless times. I was premed for a year then dropped that, tried out pretty much everything else (computer science, engineering, history, etc) and nothing fit. Nothing felt right. So... this past December, to my parents' delight, I told them that I would probably just go to law school.

Now I'm very much aware that this is a huge mistake. Pretty much the first thing that people tell you when applying to law school is to not apply to law school just because you don't know what else to do with your life. In doing so I resigned myself to just living a miserable life, which is not wise as I have already had a history of substance abuse and depression. And I'm feeling like I've spent my college years trying to avoid the inevitable, turning in every direction except for the one that life has probably been trying to point me in. I'm stubborn like that.

I've been studying about 8 months for the LSAT, averaging in the low 170s. Together with a high GPA (3.9+) I figured that I was a lock. I was glad that I would have at least something to do after graduating, even if that meant being miserable. But the thing is this: In all of my studying, I don't think I ever processed what this all meant. A few times the thought of actually being a law student would creep into my mind, but I would shove it away because the very thought is just so not me. I know I don't belong in law school. It's not what I truly want to do with my life. So I sat for the LSAT this morning (yes, just a couple of hours ago), ready to put my mind in autopilot as I've done in so many PTs over the months. I opened the test booklet and completely panicked, not really because I couldn't answer the questions but because reality hit. I had to go outside to catch my breath because the reality of it all truly hit me in that moment. I know it sounds stupid but up to that point the LSAT was just a test that I actually found kind of fun but now this was the real thing and I wanted none of what that entailed. Suffice it to say that I completely bombed it.

I feel incredibly stupid now and my parents are nagging me & asking when I'm going to retake. Even after 8 months of prep I'm not sure that I want to anymore. Now, I go to a top school (think HYPS) and I'm very good at what I do within my major. It's quite obscure, but what I study is one of my true passions in life and time and time again so many of the faculty in my department have told me that I'm wasting my talent by doing anything else. My advisor called me an idiot when I told him I was considering applying to law school. I was raised in a family that values cookie-cutter paths in life, from point A to B. No gap years, no traveling, even when I begged them to let me take a year off after freshman year because I had no idea what I was doing. Almost everyone in my family is a doctor/lawyer and most of them are miserable... I don't want to be like that but I'm so scared to diverge from what people expect of me. Everyone around me who isn't my blood has told me that I should do a PhD within my field of study because that's what I love (and do in my free time) and where I truly stand out. In essence I know what I'm good at but I'm too afraid to pursue it because it's the path much less travelled.

Plus I have no debt from undergrad so why in the world would I take on a mound of debt for something I don't even want? I feel like such an idiot. Sorry that this was all stream of consciousness but feel free to weigh in because I still feel pressure to follow this path I've committed to.

orion

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby orion » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:44 am

What is your current field of study? Don't go to law school if you really don't want to be a lawyer. You don't want to invest time and money into something that won't make you happy. You live life once, follow your instincts.

grainofsand

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby grainofsand » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:07 pm

Step away from LSAC! Do NOT go to law school! Do not spend $$$$$ for an education you have no interest in, especially when you have a passion that you can follow. It will cause some discomfort in your family-- you'll get through that and who knows, maybe your determination to follow your own path will help them shake loose of convention in some small way. You are young, life is long, and there's plenty of time to feel your way ahead. (I told my kid no grad school for 3 years after a BA--you need time to live and get to know yourself outside of an educational setting first.)

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doggo

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby doggo » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:34 pm

A job is a job. If you want to be a lawyer, or if a law degree will push you toward whatever career you want, go to law school. Otherwise, do something else. You're clearly intelligent - take a step back and try to have a goal in mind.

Just think of what you'd like long term and see what the next step is to one day get there.

Forget what your parents or other people are telling you. What do you want? Maybe it's law. Maybe it's not. Maybe you should apply to law school, get accepted, and then defer for a year. Or just apply to PhD programs - what's stopping you from that? I don't know what to tell you because you're a stranger on the Internet.

In other words:

(1) Determine your long-term career goal (the hardest part to me),
(2) Determine the steps to get there,
(3) Do said steps.

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Dcc617

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby Dcc617 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:51 pm

Definitely don’t apply. You haven’t given a single reason why you would.

Your parents (hopefully) just want you to be happy and support yourself. There are a million careers. Start looking into them, then be flexible as it changes.

You’re young. There’s no rush to get through life.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby totesTheGoat » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:47 pm

shookspeare wrote: I was raised in a family that values cookie-cutter paths in life, from point A to B. No gap years, no traveling, even when I begged them to let me take a year off after freshman year because I had no idea what I was doing. Almost everyone in my family is a doctor/lawyer and most of them are miserable... I don't want to be like that but I'm so scared to diverge from what people expect of me. Everyone around me who isn't my blood has told me that I should do a PhD within my field of study because that's what I love (and do in my free time) and where I truly stand out. In essence I know what I'm good at but I'm too afraid to pursue it because it's the path much less travelled. . . I feel incredibly stupid now and my parents are nagging me & asking when I'm going to retake. Even after 8 months of prep I'm not sure that I want to anymore.


Now is the time to tell your parents "thanks for your advice, but I'm going to live my life my way now." Whether or not you feel like it, you're an adult. Your parents are trying to baby you, but you need to grow the fortitude to make your own decisions and set adult boundaries between yourself and your parents.

Go get a job. Forget grad school for a while, and go work a job. You'll find that after spending a few months and years living your own life, things start to come into perspective. You can always go back to get your PhD or your JD, but right now you're struggling between a perceived obligation to your family, a perceived obligation to get an advanced degree, and the blunt reality that you're graduating very soon. Take some of the urgency and desperation away by graduating into a job and focusing on becoming an adult for a while. Your parents' opinions will find their rightful place after you've lived in your own place and paid your own bills with your own paycheck for a few months.

Then, once you grow some confidence, you can evaluate your grad school options with a sober mind. No family pressure, no insane obligation, and a bit of perspective about the real world. I remember the change in the tone of conversation between me and my dad after I had been in the real world for a couple years. It went from him setting expectations and monitoring results when i was a college kid to him giving advice and supporting my decisions when I was an adult. Your parents' opinions should be an asset to your decision making process, not a set of expectations weighing you down, dictating your path.

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aspire2esquire

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby aspire2esquire » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:09 pm

Might want to cancel your score: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/score-cancellations

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby totesTheGoat » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:19 am

aspire2esquire wrote:Might want to cancel your score: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/score-cancellations


What, exactly, is gained by doing that??

albanach

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby albanach » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:36 pm

So, I'm assuming you're still young, and you appear to be pretty talented academically. Most folk who do the juggling of majors aren't coming out with 3.9+ GPAs.

If you could maximize that LSAT, it's possible you could score one of the very few scholarships that come with a stipend and make law school free. Even without a stipend, full tuition might be possible, making it just a cost of living scenario.

Obviously this still requires you to become a lawyer, and if you can't find a legal career you'd want to pursue, you shouldn't do it. But this would open up a whole host of legal careers that pay less but might be rewarding. Impact litigation, legal-aid, environmental law, civil rights, etc. etc.

That would give you the prestige your parents seek and possibly a career you value more than being a cog in BigLaw.

On the other hand, you're also an adult. If you can't find a career that would be satisfying to both your parents and yourself, you should thank your parents for their support and move on to do something that works for you.

If you were to decide on law school, make sure the school can not only position you well to achieve your post-graduation goals, but also that the school has a culture you can thrive in. All law schools are not alike.

QContinuum

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby QContinuum » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:11 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
aspire2esquire wrote:Might want to cancel your score: https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/score-cancellations


What, exactly, is gained by doing that??


shookspeare wrote:I opened the test booklet and completely panicked, not really because I couldn't answer the questions but because reality hit. I had to go outside to catch my breath because the reality of it all truly hit me in that moment.


Depending on how much time shookspeare lost due to his/her panic attack, this may be one of the (very) few situations where canceling is legitimately warranted. Given the LSAT's time sensitivity, even losing a few minutes can have a profound effect on one's score.

albanach

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby albanach » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:00 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Depending on how much time shookspeare lost due to his/her panic attack, this may be one of the (very) few situations where canceling is legitimately warranted. Given the LSAT's time sensitivity, even losing a few minutes can have a profound effect on one's score.


I think Totes was asking what is achieved by canceling. Say OP bombs and comes away with a 150. Retakes in the fall and scores 172. It's pretty clear that, with a one paragraph addendum if necessary, the 150 was an aberration. If OP gets a decent score then it might save a repeat of the exam. If it's somewhere in between, then there's a data point for OP to build from.

It seems most schools have moved to firmly accepting the top LSAT score, since that's the one that's reported. Those that still give weight to multiple scores will know that OP has taken the LSAT more than once and just speculate as they adjust accordingly. In other words, there's really no upside for OP by canceling.

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aspire2esquire

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby aspire2esquire » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:21 pm

Will your score make the situation at home worse (and further discourage you from retaking) compared to a cancel?

mmac

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Re: Am I being stupid? Should I even be applying to law school!

Postby mmac » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:36 am

If you don't want to go to law school, I would not waste a bunch of time, energy, and money applying. Why would you? Don't feel like you would "waste" your numbers by not applying. What could potentially be wasted is your entire career and life if you're doing something just to make your parents happy. Time to grow up and figure out what you want to do. :D



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