Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Burned Out

Law school is driving me crazy.

[This seems to be a recurring theme in my life - as seen here and here.]

Last year I kind of hated law school. I didn't particularly enjoy my classes (the subject matter or the random-questioning format). I definitely didn't feel happy getting out of bed every morning to go to school. I considered the possibility that I had made a huge mistake by doing this with my life, but I made myself get through the first semester (which turned into making it through the first year).

Everyone said "the first year is awful... it gets better!" I said to myself, "next year I can pick my own classes... I won't hate it as much." I told myself Come on Katie, just make it to May. It'll get better. Stick it out! I traded time with my new husband for time with my law school textbooks.

I made it to May, and I survived. Not only did I survive, but my grades ended up being pretty good. Actually, really good. So good that it felt like a clear sign from God that yes, I'm supposed to be doing this horrible, stressful, miserable experience called law school.

I had two summer internships. I really, really enjoyed both of them. I made Law Review (a big-deal-prestige sort of law school thing). Although I dreaded leaving the internships and coming back to school, I came back in August. I was happy. I was full of hope for a new year that would be better than the last.

Then interview season happened. I was never really set on doing the whole big-law-firm-career thing, but my grades were definitely good enough, and I didn't want to pass up a possibly wonderful opportunity. I fixed up my resume and sent it out into the world to be judged. As it turns out, the world liked it. I started missing a lot of class to go on a lot of interviews and missing a lot of time with Jeff to go to fancy wine-and-dine dinners. It was going really well. Again, it felt like a sign that I'm meant to be doing this... that this crazy, stressful path I'm on happens to be the right path.

The interviews had great results. All of the sudden I was actually doing the BigLaw thing. I found a great big firm with people I really like, and I accepted a summer associate position that has a high probability of becoming a full-time job. Now I have a plan. Plan = light at the end of the Law School Tunnel. Light at the end of the tunnel = happy Katie.

With interview season behind me, I started actually attending my classes again (rather than skipping them to go to interviews all the time). It's been a few weeks since then, and I've reached a startling realization: I don't like this year any more than last year. Sure, it's not as terrifying, but it's way more time-consuming due to Law Review. Even though I picked my classes, I just picked the ones you're "supposed" to take (Tax, Evidence, Oil & Gas, etc.), and I'm not really enjoying them. Cue more time spent choosing law school stuff that I don't enjoy over time with my (not-so-new anymore) husband and my new house.

Yet again I've found myself saying just make it to December. Make it through finals. It will get better! But this week it hit me that even after I make it to December, I still have three more semesters of this. There's a chance that it won't ever get better. If I really want this law degree (and I do), it's going to add up to three entire years of stress, not liking what I do everyday, and reading for classes that I don't enjoy. I'm wasting my early twenties doing this. By the time I graduate, I'll have spent the first three years of our marriage as a grumpy law student who complains all the time (and by then, will I even remember how to be regular, happy Katie?).

Honestly, if I make it to December (which I will... because let's face it - if I made it through last year, I'll do this too), I'll be halfway done (not to mention the fact that we'll have invested almost $20,000 in the whole law school thing by then - thank God for scholarships or it would be way more!). Once I'm halfway done, then I'll have to finish, right?

Anyway, law school is driving me crazy. I have crazy thoughts like maybe I'll just accidentally get pregnant, and then I'll have an excuse to just stay home with the baby and stop going to law school. And then I have crazier thoughts like maybe I could kinda-sorta-on-purpose get pregnant and make it look like an accident and stop going to law school. Let's be clear - I would never, ever do that. But I do think about it.

And really... even if I did, I'd still have 9 months before the baby arrived, and I'd have to finish out this whole year. And with two years behind me, it would be dumb not to do the third. This is the ridiculousness that goes on in my head.

One of my law school friends interned with the Houston Texans (our NFL team) over the summer. They offered him a full-time job, starting immediately, no law degree necessary, and he took it. He didn't come back in August. I'm jealous of that guy every single day. Every single day.

Basically, it all boils down to this: law school is really hard. Intellectually, emotionally, and even physically (because I'm not getting as much sleep as I should, and because we all come to class even if we're sick, so viruses and stuff go around like crazy).

But then again, I don't regret the effort I put into last year, and I've never been more proud of myself than I was when I saw my final first-year grades and class rank last June. I have a new sort of self-confidence because of that. Law school is really tough, but it's pretty rewarding too.

I'm pretty sure no one likes law school. I think we all just do it because we want to be lawyers one day, and that's what we have to do to get there. Three years of crazy isn't a whole lot in the long run, right?


  1. you must be so exhausted, katie! do grades not matter quite as much know that you've got an internship then hopefully full-time job lined up? i certainly hope so. you can get through it and you will be so proud when you're done! and please, please, please take a big vacation after graduation - you will certainly have earned it!

  2. I'm trying to decide where I want to go to law school next year and am so nervous!! Prayers would be appreciated please! I'll pray for you to get through the next few years too!

  3. @ Caitlin - Thank you for your sweet words! Yes, grades aren't such a big deal anymore as long as I keep my class rank in the top quarter or so. At least that makes this year a bit easier. And yes - we're planning a fabulous vacay for right after the Bar exam in 2013... the tentative plan is an Athens/Santorini trip. :o)

    @ Cat :) - I'll definitely be praying for you during this time! It's a big decision. My advice would be to try to talk to some real students at each school you're considering... I think that's the best way to really get a feel for what your life would be like in each place! Oh, and don't worry - everyone else is just as nervous as you are. :o)

  4. No words of wisdom....just a virtual hug! Thinking of you!

  5. Keeping you in my prayers, girl! I know how difficult it is to feel like a grouchy/stressed version of yourself all of the time - Just know that your efforts WILL be rewarded and it will all be worth it! The holidays are just around the corner and then you'll be halfway done!

    PS - I love that you shared your 'maybe I can accidentally get pregnant so I can just stay home!' thoughts! Haha, I rationalize things like that SO often (obviously would never do it, but it sounds good in your head!)

  6. I know how you feel somewhat, because I hate my masters program. But that's mostly due to the actual program. I'm finishing this year though and currently in the process of applying to both PhD and law programs, so this kinda terrifies me. But everything grad school related makes me feel sick with anxiety lately.

    I hope law school actually does get better for you at some point and I'm glad you at least like the work part outside of school!