Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Why (Not) of Lawschool

People still ask me sometimes, usually after I make the mistake of mentioning my plans for life back before I created a little life known as Kristina, but there is also the occasional person who knew me 6 years ago and thinks to ask about it every year or two, about why I don't go do Law School now.

And all I want to say to them is WHY.

Why should I go do Law School?

I wanted to go in the first place not because I thought I'd have that instant awesome amazing legal career I'd always dreamed about, but because I thought the school part itself would be fun to do. I had no idea what else to do at that point, and lots of Very Important People in the world have law degrees, so it seemed like a good box to check.

I took the LSAT (Law School version of the GRE) on impulse, but then I scored very high on it and going on to more school was a very respectable option and sooo much safer sounding than trying to do the real world.

So now, 6 years later, I never went to Law School, have had more than my fair share of dealing with the real world, and STILL am completely clueless of where to go in life career wise.

I think it would be fun to do more school. I think I would enjoy it, and excel at it (and so long as I'm picking up miscellaneous degrees, I wouldn't mind a MA in journalism and a Doctorate of Philosophy).  But I also think it would be very hard, and cost lots and lots of money.

The one thing I have managed to figure out regarding what I want from life going forwards is that I desperately want to buy my own house, and have been doing everything I can to get to a place where it is a viable option over the past year. And I think I'm getting really, really close....

But, going to get an advanced degree is all sorts of levels of expensive. There's the basic cost of tuition and class materials (I haven't been out THAT long, I remember how much those textbooks cost!), on top the part where I doubt I could be a full time student and continue to work full time as well (because I'm all sorts of slacker and like to sometimes sleep and/or see my children).

So if income were to drop simultaneously with expenses increasing, all that number crunching and long term financial planning I've been trying to do goes right out the window.

And then it comes back to why would I even want to go to school. "Because I think it'd be fun to do" doesn't cut it any more. And sure, I could always claim the career advancement bit, but it's REALLY hard to even pretend like I think there'd be a real chance of that when I got my BA nearly 6 years ago and have yet to use it for anything.

I JUST got my student loans paid off (in hopes that relieving that debt on my credit score will help my ability to get approved for a mortgage, re: long term goal of buying a house), taking out more at this point is such an incredibly soul crushing prospect.

And as for a career... places want experience. I have done lots and lots of job searching, and they want years and years of experience. I honestly feel that I would be better off to be able to say I worked at Target for 4 or 5 years and had these various promotions and raises than to quit to try and do something else. Which is depressing on so many levels in of itself, but it's also the state of the world today.

Did you know most major retail chains, including Target, require 3 years of management retail experience to apply to be a store manager? Did you know those people actually make very respectable salaries (the very unofficial talk is that the Boulder Target Store Lead makes over $100k a year) and are considered genuine professionals in their fields? Did you know they have real offices and everything?

So maybe retail experience isn't all that great, but it just might be SOMETHING to have on my stupid resume that might actually get me a not-completely-pathetic job someday.

Law School would still be a fun thing for me to do. But playtime ended years ago. 

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