Lawyer Up

One question we’ve all been asked at one point of our lives is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And after realizing that becoming a superhero or a mermaid was not exactly realistic, we start thinking about our possible jobs in the future.

Now, I grew up watching a wide variety of American TV series. i remember watching ER and thinking of being a doctor. The good thing is that I’m not very squeamish, and I enjoy watching gory horror films. Some people would even refer to such movies as “torture porn”. However, the path to wearing that white coat and stethoscope around one’s neck was both 1) expensive and 2) long. Not to mention the fact that most pre-med courses involved a lot of math, chemistry, and physics. I feel like I could handle the chemistry and struggle through the physics, but its really the math that would get me.

Then I thought of the people who would stand in front of me from 8 AM to 4 PM from Monday to Friday for ten months: teachers. I’m pretty good at explaining concepts and ideas to other people. But teachers do so much work for little pay. Their patience is tested constantly, and I happen to be a very impatient person. Their social lives and behavior even outside school is greatly restricted by having to be role models for the youth. Thus, they are expected to be prim and proper at all times. No cussing, no provocative clothing or too much makeup, no smoking or drinking in or near the school.

So whenever I was asked this question, I said I want to be a lawyer. It’s certainly not the heated arguments, overwhelming paperwork, or constant pressure that caught my eye. It was, in all honesty, the supposed money. I have an aunt who graduated from the top law school in our country, and her life now is my dream life. She lives alone in a decent condominium unit, has her own car and driver, travels around the Philippines, collects paintings, has no debts and lots of savings, etc. There was no motivation to defend the oppressed or seek justice. There wasn’t any emotion behind my choice.

Of course, my parents, friends, and teachers all made it clear to me how challenging and tiring law school is. And after that, you still had to face the bar exam. Pass and you will be celebrated and praised. Fail and your dreams will be temporarily crushed.

According to one professor, there’s already an oversupply of lawyers in the world today. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll become a six figure earning hotshot. There’s not nearly as much glamour and excitement. There’s just more of what you had in law school: stress, pressure, and fatigue. I also recall reading an article about lawyers having the highest burnout rate among professions. Apparently, most lawyers stop practicing law upon reaching the age of 40 or 50.

It’s discouraging, of course. And being realistic, I considered other options I could explore after college. For some reason, I want to pursue something more. I just don’t want to stop with my undergraduate degree. Right now, I’m also considering taking a master’s degree in communication, economics, or finance.

However, law school is still my first priority. While I admit that I was first attracted to it by the money, I now fully understand that it is not guaranteed. Nothing ever really is guaranteed. But I don’t really know why I want to be a lawyer. Is it for truth and justice? Is it for the sake of being a lawyer? Is it to prove that I am intelligent, skilled, and determined enough to survive law school and pass the bar? Maybe all of the above.

I hope to find the answer soon. I don’t want to go to law school without knowing exactly why, since it appears immense willpower is necessary to force yourself to stay there. And while I can only imagine exactly how hard it will be, I just keep in mind that nothing great ever comes easily.

This post was inspired by a Daily Prompt: Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.

Cheers.

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10 comments

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