Q: I'm interested to know a little more about what led you to go to law school,what other career fields you considered, what you are hoping to do after you graduate, and any tips you may have as far as financial aid/affording grad school.
A: I went to college to major in Psychology. I thought I wanted to do marital & family therapy. Then I did some internships in that my sophomore year, and eek - it was WAY too emotionally taxing for me. Every day I left and just wanted to cry. So I decided I needed to do something different. I added an English major my junior year, and I briefly considered getting a Masters in Library Science and being a school librarian, but then I talked to a few people in the pre-law program and that seemed like something I was really interested in. I just found the vast world of law and all its ambiguities fascinating.
I'll be a transactional lawyer after graduation, doing mostly corporate work. When I first came to law school, I thought family law would be a good option (with my Psych background and all), but I quickly realized that was far too emotionally taxing too. But I loved Contracts, and the corporate law stuff just seemed to fall into place! As far as financial aid, I picked a lower-ranked school that gave me a great scholarship rather than a highly-ranked school without scholarship money. That's not the best decision for everyone (because at a lower-ranked school, you do have to rank higher in your graduating class to get the same job opportunities), but it was an easy choice for me because Jeff was working in Houston. It ended up working out really well because the scholarship covers almost all of my school expenses, and we just pay the rest of the law school costs from money that I saved in undergrad and/or money we've saved since we got married (it's all in the same account now). Every semester I apply for additional scholarships (through the school, private foundations, bar associations, etc.), and I'm usually able to get about $1000 extra each year through stuff like that (totally worth the time you spend filling out the applications, but so many people don't do it!).
Q: Would you want to work after you have children?
A: If you had asked me years ago I probably would've said no. My mom stayed at home with my sisters and I, and I always thought that was really great. But now that I've worked a bit and I actually like it (and I just have this strong feeling that God meant for me to do the whole law school thing, and I'm not sure what will come of it), I'm not sure. It seems like very few mothers are staying home these days, and with the rising costs of sending kids to college, it seems a little like we might be more comfortable with two incomes if we want to have a few kids and pay for their educations at good schools (I've talked to a lot of people recently who don't think paying for children's college is necessary, but it's just something Jeff and I want to be able to give to our kids). I don't know. I can see myself working part-time, or I can see myself staying home for the early years and going back to work once the kids are in school. Or maybe I'll want to stay at work full-time. Or stay at home entirely? I honestly don't know how I'll feel. It all depends on when we have kids, how much money Jeff is making at that time, how many kids we have, how my job is going at the time, which of our family members are nearby and willing to help out, etc. LOTS of variables. I will say I have a very, very supportive husband who is willing to let me decide what I want to do for the most part, and if I wanted to stay home he'd be 100% in support of that. He'd also be 100% in support if I wanted to stay working too, so it's just something we'll have to decide when the time comes.
Q: I have a question about NFP. When you guys got married, did they discuss that with you/make you take a workshop? How do you you as a married couple feel about it? I know many Catholics who decided it wasn't important to them, and a lot of young people don't like the idea, so I wondered what you as a young married Catholic couple thought.
A: I'm going to go ahead and say this isn't something I'm really comfortable going into on the blog. It's not something we really talk about even with our close friends, so I don't think it's particularly appropriate for the wide audience here (although I'm sure a quick Google search will find lots of other young couples discussing it!). I will say that yes, we did have a quick intro to NFP at our Engaged Encounter retreat before we got married, and I think NFP/FAM is something everyone (Catholic or not) should consider (there are a lot of health benefits, environmental benefits, psychological benefits, etc.).
Q: what do you think the key to a strong marriage is?
A: I think it's probably something different for every couple. For us, I think it's two things: (1) prayer and a strong foundation in our faith, and (2) good communication. #1 is especially important when things get tough. Generally, Jeff is a really easy guy to be married to, but every once in a while something happens that makes it so he can't give me everything I need/want (like, for example, if I have a really rough day and come home wishing for comfort from my husband, but he's on a business trip offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where I can't even reach him by phone). In those times, it would be easy to get frustrated with my marriage if there wasn't the bigger, stronger love of God to back it up. It's so comforting to me to know that although Jeff loves me immensely, Jesus loves me so, so, so much more, and he's always there to give me everything I need. Also, we see our marriage as a true sacrament, not just a promise or a decision. We love each other a lot, but we're imperfect, so it helps that the sacrament of marriage covers us in a whole lot of graces from God. #2 is more practical... I think one of our best characteristics as a couple is our ability to communicate. We did the long-distance relationship thing for a long time, so we got really good at communicating. When either of us is upset about something or we have a disagreement, we're pretty good at calmly bringing it up right away and discussing it rationally and using the discussion to strengthen our relationship. When you're in a long-distance relationship, things like angry faces and the "silent treatment" absolutely don't work, so we had a lot of practice before we got married with healthy, productive conversations, and I think it's benefitted our marriage a lot.
I'd be interested to hear y'all's opinions on these things as well, especially what y'all think the key to a strong marriage is. I find it fascinating that there are so many successful marriages, and yet they all have different dynamics and characteristics!