It’s a question I’ve heard a million times. Scattered in between jokes about how bad the economy is and comments about how rough it is for a minority or a woman or both… It’s always a generic question I face.
I’ll tell you the truth – it took me a long time to figure out a truthful answer. Sure, I had something generic I would pop out with. I think it was something like “I wanted to make a difference” or something. I honestly don’t remember what I used to say because I didn’t know, myself.
I remember before I started classes as a 1L, I heard a joke about how there are three kinds of law students.
1) they always knew they were going to be a lawyer.
2) they did really well on the LSAT
3) they had no idea what the fuck else to do with their life.
I think for a good deal of senior year and 1L, I was #3. And that was with a year off in between. With a bachelors in psychology and minors in more criminal justice related fields, the only thing law related I did was join PAD. It wasn’t very beneficial either. But still I pushed ahead with thoughts of being a criminal lawyer in my mind.
Today? I have a much better sense of why I’m here. The circumstances that got me to this point, though seemingly random, actually all make sense now. Everything happens for a reason. But it doesn’t erase the months of stress and conflict that arose from that simple and generic question.
What no one tells you is that it is the underlying item that translates into everything else.
In an environment where you technically constantly have to prove yourself, in my eyes, “why did you come to law school” translates into “why are you here and why do you want to be here?”
If you’ll notice – It’s the very thing that employers ask all the time.
It also translates into “why do you deserve to be here and have this opportunity?”
That translates into papers and essays you turn in for scholarship money. You are consistently trying to prove yourself in law school, and it can take a toll on your motivation or dreams.
In law school, nothing is ever downright blunt. Unless you’re like me and don’t feel it’s right to hide secrets behind words. Nobody gets ahead that way. It’s not helping anyone to hide daggers behind thinly veiled sentences.
So today, I do have a better idea of why I’m here and what I’m doing. But it still never surprises me to be asked incredulously – why did you come to law school?
Now, I can say many things. And when I do, it’s with a grin. ;)