Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

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BasilHallward

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby BasilHallward » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:29 pm

Malcolm1991 wrote:I agree with pretty much everything that has been said and I appreciate the honest feedback. In the midst of putting everything into these final, I'm also trying to figure out a plan moving forward. If what was said in one of the previous post is correct that a JD likely wouldn't be worth 200K no matter what type of grades/job I received, then I don't really know where that leaves me. In the short term I agree that all I can do is work extremely hard for finals and do everything I can to improve, in a macro long-term view it feels like I'm driving towards a dead end or even an edge of a cliff. How am I supposed to be comfortable and not think about the fact that it is very possible IF I can actually find away to make it through with average grades at best, that I will likely be starting out at 50K or less with that amount of debt? To anybody out there who finished with or will finish with 200k+ in loans with grades that are/were average to below average, how are you not letting that affect your thoughts in the present and if you've already finished how did you manage the situation?


This exercise in cost-benefit analysis is futile at this point. I did the same thing during first semester for a few days, but was looking at half the debt and I'm at UT. In short, you should have engaged in this honest assessment last November and decided to retake, not attend, etc. Doing this now is counterproductive in every way imaginable. Cram, cram, cram and then take your exams. If you're not substantially above median or independently wealthy, then bail on law school. It seems that this is what you want to hear.

Malcolm1991

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:46 pm

BasilHallward wrote:
Malcolm1991 wrote:I agree with pretty much everything that has been said and I appreciate the honest feedback. In the midst of putting everything into these final, I'm also trying to figure out a plan moving forward. If what was said in one of the previous post is correct that a JD likely wouldn't be worth 200K no matter what type of grades/job I received, then I don't really know where that leaves me. In the short term I agree that all I can do is work extremely hard for finals and do everything I can to improve, in a macro long-term view it feels like I'm driving towards a dead end or even an edge of a cliff. How am I supposed to be comfortable and not think about the fact that it is very possible IF I can actually find away to make it through with average grades at best, that I will likely be starting out at 50K or less with that amount of debt? To anybody out there who finished with or will finish with 200k+ in loans with grades that are/were average to below average, how are you not letting that affect your thoughts in the present and if you've already finished how did you manage the situation?


This exercise in cost-benefit analysis is futile at this point. I did the same thing during first semester for a few days, but was looking at half the debt and I'm at UT. In short, you should have engaged in this honest assessment last November and decided to retake, not attend, etc. Doing this now is counterproductive in every way imaginable. Cram, cram, cram and then take your exams. If you're not substantially above median or independently wealthy, then bail on law school. It seems that this is what you want to hear.



I appreciate the response. Its not so much that I want to hear that in particular by any means, if there are options for me that will make financial sense then I'm definitely open to going that route instead of walking away. I know that a JD from a top school can open doors in a lot of situations, I'm just trying to figure out for my situation is the cost worth the benefit. To your point last November I wasn't planning on going to law school, decided to take the June LSAT in late march/early april. I realize to analyze this now is the worst time to do it, admittedley I failed to take the appropriate amount of time before making this decision and really jumped into it virtually blind, in hindsight I see this. I don't mind putting in the work and going through the grind, even if the grades that come from that effort after the best. I just don't want to end up putting myself in a worse position down the road for doing this.

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Wolfie91

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Wolfie91 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm

I mean, unless you have some pretty friendly relatives, spend your entire winter break applying for different external scholarships. Go to the financial aid office and see if they have a list of university wide scholarships that they offer.

200k is a ton of debt. I mean, it's going to take over a decade to pay it off(especially if you're lost in school and don't think you'll make good grades). Stick it out, do your best on your exams, and then over winter break spend an entire month applying for every scholarship you can find. Whether it's $500 or if it's 10k, take the time to apply for it.

At this point, you'd be better off saving 100k and getting a job that pays like 50-60k with a ton of room for growth. But see how you do on exams first and see if you get lucky with a scholarship search.

I know this sucks and it's always nice to receive friendly words of advise, but you're smart enough to get to this point in your life then you should be smart enough to weigh the advantages/disadvantages of the decision you have to make more than most of us could tell you.

Malcolm1991

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:00 pm

Wolfie91 wrote:I mean, unless you have some pretty friendly relatives, spend your entire winter break applying for different external scholarships. Go to the financial aid office and see if they have a list of university wide scholarships that they offer.

200k is a ton of debt. I mean, it's going to take over a decade to pay it off(especially if you're lost in school and don't think you'll make good grades). Stick it out, do your best on your exams, and then over winter break spend an entire month applying for every scholarship you can find. Whether it's $500 or if it's 10k, take the time to apply for it.

At this point, you'd be better off saving 100k and getting a job that pays like 50-60k with a ton of room for growth. But see how you do on exams first and see if you get lucky with a scholarship search.

I know this sucks and it's always nice to receive friendly words of advise, but you're smart enough to get to this point in your life then you should be smart enough to weigh the advantages/disadvantages of the decision you have to make more than most of us could tell you.


Thank you for the input and your right ultimately I have to make a decision, I have a tendency to be impulsive, so I'm trying to think this one through. (Definitely more than I did when I decided to go this route). Its just nice to get some objective opinions from people who do not know you, most of the people in my life can't help but put emotion into their feedback they give me about this and this is as far from an emotional decision as it gets. But I do definitely plan on applying for any scholarships I could qualify for if I continue on.

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viz-luv

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby viz-luv » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:25 pm

Hey op,
I'm a recent uh grad. I can tell you more about what I and my non- big law friends found. Short answer is it may be possible to get a great outcome but you definitely will be looking at an uphill battle and it may not be worth it for you. Long answer involves how it might actually work, but I would need more specific info to show you career paths in areas you might like. I'm a real estate attorney, but friends are in da or other government and other small firms with varying specialities like disability rights, immigration, family law, compliance, plaintiff's, government agency representation, etc. some of us make good money, some don't. If you would like to pm and talk, or post on here, more about what practice areas interest you and what markets you are looking at I might be able to help more.

No matter what, focus on the best grades you can first. dropping out still may be your best plan, but grades will make it clearer.
-For what it is worth everyone seems to start overwhelmed with class and it does get easier. And I hated school but love working so it isn't like you spend life doing class work.

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zot1

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby zot1 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:11 pm

OP,

I came out with that kind of debt and then some. I work for the government, and I benefit from repayment plans. The large debt doesn't bother me because unless things changed, as long as I make the monthly payments and stay in an eligible job, my debt will be serviced. If you're really curious, you can go look at student loan payments in the legal employment forum.

But as others have pointed out, this should be the least of your concerns. A specific part career you choose now won't matter if your grades can't back you up. Think of a career as a good, say a car. And your grades are money. The better the grades, the more money you have. So if you want a convertible, you need to get as much money as you can. Getting the grades should be your one and only concern at this point.

Don't be so defeatist about your grades. My first semester grades were below average. Call it adjusting to school or whatever. I ended up graduating top 30% of my class. If you remove my fall grades, that probably puts me at top 15-20%. I wouldn't have had the job I have now if I hadn't gotten my grades up. Is this gonna be hard? Sure, but when your career is at stake, you can buckle up and get it done.

Like you, I was a super slow reader. Not because I'm a slow reader, but there was just so much going on. But with time, I got more efficient. This is really the key. Being efficient will be important on your road to survival.

Good luck!

Malcolm1991

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:56 pm

Wolfie91 wrote:I mean, unless you have some pretty friendly relatives, spend your entire winter break applying for different external scholarships. Go to the financial aid office and see if they have a list of university wide scholarships that they offer.

200k is a ton of debt. I mean, it's going to take over a decade to pay it off(especially if you're lost in school and don't think you'll make good grades). Stick it out, do your best on your exams, and then over winter break spend an entire month applying for every scholarship you can find. Whether it's $500 or if it's 10k, take the time to apply for it.

At this point, you'd be better off saving 100k and getting a job that pays like 50-60k with a ton of room for growth. But see how you do on exams first and see if you get lucky with a scholarship search.

I know this sucks and it's always nice to receive friendly words of advise, but you're smart enough to get to this point in your life then you should be smart enough to weigh the advantages/disadvantages of the decision you have to make more than most of us could tell you.


That's the only thing, if I leave I would be back at square one all over again. I wouldn't be opposed to getting a job paying between 50-60k with a lot of room for growth like you said but where are those types of jobs at?? With only a bachelors degree at that, it just feels like I'm stuck to be frank.

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MavEryck

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby MavEryck » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:29 pm

To the OP:

Leave your computer at home.

Two reasons:
1. You said you're "pretty good with not surfing the web. . ."
You shouldn't be surfing the web during class at all, especially if you're not grasping the material.

2. Taking notes by hand will engage your brain better.
Practice makes perfect.

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rcharter1978

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:53 pm

MavEryck wrote:To the OP:

Leave your computer at home.

Two reasons:
1. You said you're "pretty good with not surfing the web. . ."
You shouldn't be surfing the web during class at all, especially if you're not grasping the material.

2. Taking notes by hand will engage your brain better.
Practice makes perfect.


I don't agree that it's better in every situation:

1. There are times in class when you probably shouldnt/don't need to pay close attention. Certain people ask questions in order to prove how smart they are or to argue with the professor. To me, those conversations often veer to things you don't need to know, or they will confuse an issue you understood. So it's the perfect time to pick up some shoes on amazon

2. Taking notes by hand works for some, but not many. I've always been faster on the computer and my notes make more sense. I would think the muscle memory is a good reason except for the fact that most exams are typed so it's probably better to take notes with the computer.

Don't spend most of your time on the internet, but it's not always the worst thing to ignore/block out some things going on in class.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:22 pm

Work like hell and work smart. You don't know how you are going to do yet and everyone has moments of panic during this period of 1L. That being said, if you don't land above median, drop out before paying second semester tuition. $200k is absolutely, categorically unjustifiable for a degree from your school, and of you aren't even going to get a job out of it then you cannot stay there. Fight now, and if it doesn't work out, cut your losses and find something better.

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ManoftheHour

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby ManoftheHour » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:30 pm

Agreed with everyone above. Thoughts about dropping out are for AFTER grades have been posted. You're already financially in the hole for this semester. Might as well give it a go.

FWIW, I learned everything my 1L year during the last month before finals. It's a little past that but grind through it. Do practice exams if your prof has them. Like do ALL of them.



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