Post # 1
I just needed to vent. I’m going through a really rough patch in my life right now, and I constantly feel like I’m either on the verge of a panic attack or an emotional outburst. So here goes. . .
- I HATED LAW SCHOOL! I just finished my 1st year of law school, and from the 1st month I had the feeling that attending was the worst decision of my life. I haven’t been able to shake that feeling. I tried to talk to my friends and family about it, but they just didn’t understand. They tried to be supportive, but they just made me feel worse. My mom actually burst out into tears at the first mention of this, and told me how disappointed she would be. Then she started saying how strong of a person I am, and how much she knows I can get through it. A close friend of mine, my aunt, and my SO all had the same response when I intially told them that I wasn’t sure about whether I wanted to be a lawyer anymore. It was the “don’t be a quitter, you’re better than that” peptalk. After these responses, I just sucked it up and continued on for the remaining school year.
- I DROPPED OUT OF LAW SCHOOL! Then came the time for me to reapply for my Grad Plus Loans. . . I literally had a panic attack in front of the computer screen. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I already have nearly $90,000 in student loans, and it would take me about another $110,000 to finish my law degree. I just couldn’t see spending that kind of money on a degree that I no longer even wanted to finish for ME, but instead for all of those people who have supported me over the years, throughout my academic pursuits. Not to mention my grades were very mediocre, and mediocre grades just don’t cut it in law school. I have a hard time believing that I would have even been able to find a legal job to pay me enough that I could afford to pay the loans back, with such mediocre grades. So in a moment of panic, I withdrew.
- I HAVE YET TO TELL MY FRIENDS & FAMILY! I feel confident that I made the right decision by not contiuing. However, I’ve been nervous to tell people about it. I’ve told one of my very bestfriends, because I knew she’d understand (she went through a similar situation with med school about a year ago). I also told my SO, he was really bummed at first, but he’s been getting better & supporting my decision now. However, I’m horrified at the thought of telling my Mother, My Father, My siblings, My Grandparents, Extended Family, other friends, and so on. I don’t want them to look at me as a quitter or a failure. And honestly, I think this might stress my mother out to the point of physical ailment. Its so hard for me to keep it from my family, because they have always been my support system. before this I talked to my mother every single day. Now, I dodge her calls like she’s Sally Mae. We haven’t talked in at least 2wks. I know I can’t hide this forever, but I just want to wait until I have a plan for my life again first. I don’t need everyone calling me asking “What are you going to do now”, because honestly I just don’t know. And I have a feeling everyone’s enthusiasm to discuss the matter will only stress me out more.
- I CAN’T FIND A JOB! So about a month ago, I quit my summer legal internship with absolutely no notice. This is not something that I would normally do, and trust me I know how shitty it was. I was working for a non-profit, who couldn’t afford to pay me. I had a very long and expensive commute, and I knew I would not have time to properly look for a job if I kept working there all summer, because I was there 10-6, and spent 2hrs. commuting each way. I toyed with the idea of giving notice, but decided to save the money it would cost to commute in case I didn’t find a job soon. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found permanent employment. I’ve been applying everywhere! My undergrad degree is in poli sci, but the whole time I was in school I held sales, marketing, event planning, customer service, and retail management positions. I have no desire to actually use my degree, so I’ve been looking in the fields that I’ve worked in previously, but no one is biting. It seems the only people calling me back are those DAMN Multilevel Marketing Schemes, and I just can’t barely bring myself to do it. I have a college degree & actual sales/management experience for pete’s sake! I don’t see myself setting up a stand outside of Sam’s Club trying to pedal household cleaning spray for commission only and no benefits. Did I mention I have $90,000 worth of student loans. I can’t afford to work the same position as a high school kid, and I don’t think I should have to. However, I’m having absolutely no luck anywhere else, so it might come to that soon. I only have about 2mos. worth of rent saved up. I’ve been using all of the major job boards and what not. I’ve applied online through companies websites. However, I have not physically dropped off resumés. I feel like I should be doing this, but my SO keeps telling me that no one really does that anymore, and the most I will accomplish is annoying someone.
- I JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY, BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW RIGHT NOW. Honestly, I just desperately need some stability in my life. I wish I saw a clear path for my future, but I just don’t, and I think that’s what bothers me the most. I just want to hurry up and get a job, so that I can start paying back these student loans, so that me and the SO can soon afford the wedding that we’ve been planning in our heads, so that one day we can afford to start a family, so that one day we’ll be able to start our own business. But that’s just not where I am right now. In fact, I can’t even see any of it happening right now. I literally feel like I’m on the path to RUIN & I don’t know how to stop it.
Bees, I realize that this entire post has probably went in a million circles, but I really needed to get it all out!
Post # 3
I actually went through this same process when I was doing my PhD (and quit to take a masters and get a job). I guess I was lucky in that they paid me to go to school (no debt) and I was able to easily find a job (so grateful!!!) but to this day I still feel a bit lost and not sure if I want to do science.
I think, in the short term, your goal should just be to get a job, any job, that will pay your bills. It doesn’t have to be THE job, or THE path you want to follow, just get a paycheck coming in, and then your survival alarm bells will quiet down enough to let you mull over what you really want/what feels right.
Some avenues you might want to consider with your background: Be a recruiter – they can make really good money! It’s kind of like a sales and marketing gig, but with placing people in highly specialized positions. Or, consulting. A lot of people get into that right after school – pays really well, gets you a lot of contacts. If you are in MD, you should have a lot of options in Baltimore and in the DC area. Start combing through it. I know you’ll find something!
Post # 4
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
Honestly, I think it takes more courage to quit something you hate, than to keep doing it for the people you love. It’s also the right decision, you’re up in the air right now, but I firmly believe you’ll be happier in the long run as a result of your decision.
At this point, no one is calling you back anyway, what’s the harm in dropping off resumes in person– you never know who you might meet in the elevator so to speak. One of the best engineers at my company got her job because she was a friendly and talkative waitress at a local cafe and happened to strike up a conversation with a project manager in desperate need of an engineer!
Even if it’s not the job you’re looking for, anything is better than nothing– and just because you take a mediocre job now doesn’t mean you have to stop looking. The right job it out there, you just have to find it– and in the mean time, find something to pay your bills.
Post # 5
@crayfish: I agree with this.
By the way, you always have really, really good advice. LOL. Everytime I post after you, I am always like..well…that’s actually perfect. Haha!
Post # 6
Leaving law was also a really tough decision for me, and I can’t find a job either. But I don’t regret leaving for one second. When I was still struggling with my decision, this blog helped me a lot: http://leavinglaw.wordpress.com/. Good luck. You are very brave and you are not alone!!!
Post # 7
@crayfish: This is really good advice.
Seriously, apply at a few retail stores or office jobs right now. Even if it’s barely more than minimum wage, even if you only work the job for 2 months in the end, at least you will have SOME income coming in.
I’m not sure that physically dropping off resumes is necessary if there’s an online application process. Have you researched ways to improve your resume and cover letter? You might have great experience but if you don’t present it right, you might get passed over… if you can figure out how to make yourself stand out, you will get employers interested. See if your local library or a local university has any free one-time classes or seminars about how to improve your resume and cover letter. I was told by my career advisor (I’m an undergrad student) that it’s better to spend more time on one application than to spend hardly any time on several applications.
Have you done any informational interviews? Think about a couple fields that you’re interested in, even if it’s only a little bit of interest. Call a company and schedule a couple informational interviews. Ask them questions about their company, what they do, what they look for in an employee, and if they know of anyone else you could get information from- stuff like that. It’s great networking. DON’T push for any jobs with those, but you might get lucky and someone in the field will hear about you or notice you and offer you a job. At the very least, you might be able to narrow down what fields you want to go into in the future, and a few people will know your name anyway!
Don’t give up!
Post # 8
You already made a smart move by leaving your program. @crayfish gave some really good advice. The only thing I have to add is that your event planning experience could really work in your favor if you market it correctly. It requires a lot of skills that are easily transferrable to other jobs. If you know someone who is good at putting together resumes, have them help you. Don’t even worry about your career path right now. Just focus on getting yourself an income. Everything will seem a lot more manageable after that.
Post # 9
@crayfish: its funny you said something about recruiting because I just had a call for an interview for a recruiting position right after my initial post. I hope this is a sign. I have the interview next week, and I hope it goes well. I’m going to take your advise though on just finding something to pay the bills, if this recruiting thing doesn’t pan out. Thanx for your input.
@juliette.eliza: very good point about dropping off the resumes. I think I may do this for some of the positions close by. I think small offices would be more receptive to this kind of thing. So I’ll do it with those.
@allihappy: Thank you so much for the blog link. I took a look at it and its really helpful. Out of curiosity though, how are you approaching the question of “why you left law school” when future employers ask? This is a bit of a tricky one for me. I don’t really feel like there’s anything I can say without sounding a little wishy washy.
Post # 10
First of all, major hugs.
Second: My mom actually burst out into tears at the first mention of this, and told me how disappointed she would be. Then she started saying how strong of a person I am, and how much she knows I can get through it. A close friend of mine, my aunt, and my SO all had the same response when I intially told them that I wasn’t sure about whether I wanted to be a lawyer anymore.
REALLY?! Who the fuck says that to someone they love?
Post # 11
You are very brave for actually quitting when everyone else didn’t want you to!
I was pre-med and found out it wasn’t for me and went the business-marketing route. It’s tough and I still wonder if I shouldn’t have switched, but then I think about the debt I would be in.
The economy is TOUGH right now. I go to GA State and the class that just graduated…only 56% of them had jobs upon graduating. It’s really tough out there!
But, all that aside, any amount of money coming in is more than none. Don’t think for a second that you will be thought of as less if you get a mediocre paying job for the time being. Atleast you were strong enough to realize that you have to do whatever it takes.
I know it may be hard, but every few hours, try to find something positive (even something small) that has happened that day and focus on that. It’s tough when life just sucks to get caught up in it and forget about the smallest things that are positive.
Try to stay positive and keep your head up!
Post # 12
@SincerelyShe: I actually finished law school, and worked at a highly competitive law firm before being diagnosed with a chronic illness. The stress of the environment I was in was not helping. I was forced to quit and then I had to decide whether I wanted to go back to law or follow my real passion. I started a masters in something else and I’m now looking for a job in this new field. I realised that being a lawyer was never going to make me happy. It was a “square peg, round hole” situation. In interviews, I tell employers that I got sick and that it was the wake up call I needed to change direction. Which is the truth. If I were you, I would get a job to pay the bills and start studying towards a degree which supports what you actually want to do. Then when you interview for those jobs, I wouldn’t even bring up the law school experience, as it’s not relevant.
Post # 13
I’m so sorry for what you’re going through! Although I haven’t had the exact same experience I get the “where am i going? what do i do now?” feeling.
I’m sorry I can’t give practical advice, but to cheer you up, maybe watch a stand up comedy special called “If I” by Demetri Martin – it can be found on youtube. It’s just him talking about basically your exact same situation only he almost finished law school with one year to go before dropping out. I think it mihgt cheer you up and shine some hope on you 🙂
You’ll find your way. It’s better to be a little lost right now than to be stuck doing something you hate. Lawyers have really high divorce rates and depression, anyways.
Post # 14
Just wanted to send you a hug. It took me a longer time than I thought to find a job and I’m having a tough time switching industries, even after going back for my masters. I just figure it’s all gotta be for a reason and the right job just hasn’t found me yet…
Post # 15
A lot of good avice here already, but I just wanted to chime in and say good for you for making the choice that was best for you. There were a number of people in my class who were there because they were “supposed to be,” and I cannot even imagine trying to stick that out when you know it’s not what you want.
What you did takes courage, and I am sure that if you can make such a difficult (but healthy!) decision, you will find a way into a job/career that is fulfilling. Keep your chin up, you are quite awesome for doing what you wanted and needed. Best of luck to you!
ETA- as for the telling family/friends issue and finding happiness, I say be confident and up front (in person…if your mom is that concerned, telling her face to face is likely best). I’d say that yes, you are strong and smart, and that’s why you realized you had to make a change to find something that better suited your skills and your desire. You get one life, and you want to make the most of it doing something you enjoy and that utilizes your talents the best. They raised you to be smart and strong, and you will make it through this because of that.
Happiness- you may find it when you’re not looking for it. Split your time job hunting with doing free-low cost activities to keep some balance. If you don’t already, schedule in some excersie for structure -a run in the morning, a walk after dinner, etc. Volunteer once or twice a week with places dear to your heart (animal shelter, women’s shelter, children’s hospital, etc). You’ll meet great people (with connections!). Even if a job doesn’t find its way to you through those experiences, you’ve boosted your self esteem by doing good works, making you more confident and personable during interviews you do get (and talking about your current good works will more likely come up in an interview than your stint at law school). Giving yourself a routine will truly help break up the chaotic feeling of waiting to be hired.
Post # 16
Update: I just wanted to thank you ladies for all of your support. I finally found a job and I think it’s going to be a really positive change for me. It’s nothing to write home about, but it’ll let me pay the bills and I believe that I have room to grow there. It’s in advertising, and they are really excited about me coming on board.
Yesterday, I told one of my sisters as well as my grandparents about me withdrawing from law school. My sister was very supportive and took it just fine.Mary grandparents, however turned the day into some sort of sob-fest. They pretended to be understanding when I talked to them that afternoon, but then spent the rest of the evening trying to guilt trip me. My SO and I actually had an amazing date night to celebrate his recent promotion and my new found employment. My grandparents completely ruined my mood. They called my phone 17 times and sent multiple text messages. When I stopped answering they started calling my SO’s phone. I guess this is just what I’m going to have to deal with as the rest of my family finds out about my new career path.