Reasons for Leaving Law School

Finishing law school would be best for me and my family. It would provide me one heck of a good-paying job, an ideal career, a privileged status in the society, protection for my loved ones. The list is endless. BUT I know in my heart that pursuing it would be a wrong decision.

Law School sure felt like hell!
My primary reason for wanting to leave law school is because I'm not happy anymore. I was satisfied during the first few months. It gave me self-satisfaction and increased my self-esteem. However, my initial enthusiasm faded bit by bit as the true color of law school was revealed to me. I spend sleepless nights almost everyday trying to cope with our reading assignments. My life is so boring and stressful. I can't remember the last time I genuinely did something fun and enjoyed it without feeling guilty afterwards because I could have utilized that time for studying.

Each day is similar to me. It is spent for reading, sleeping, eating, and nothing else (Okay, I frequently hang out with my classmates after class but we still discuss law-school-related matters). Since I started law school, even walking slowly and calmly had been a luxury. I felt the need to always hurry so as not to waste time. Time is always scarce in studying. I'm certain that my outlook would have been different if I love law school. Trust me, I tried to be optimistic (proof: my past posts about law school) but the stress that it's causing me is too overwhelming to ignore.

Endless readings anyone?
Second, the reality of a lawyer's future is not enticing. I want to believe that the stressful nights and piles of readings are just necessary steps toward becoming a lawyer. But the truth is, these things are indispensable elements of a lawyer's life. The stress would not end after law school or after successfully passing the Bar Exams. In fact, it would be a hundred times intensified once I start my career as a lawyer. I don't want to spend the rest of my life sleeping for a maximum of four hours, or reading 100-page documents. I don't want to lose myself in paperworks and passive laws; I want to touch lives and build genuine relationships with people. It seems like lawyers (with few exceptions) live life without actually living it. 

Guilt is a heavy load to carry over one's shoulders.
Third, I consider myself laid-back (although, I can be very persistent when I commit to a goal). You see, studying Law is such a big adjustment. I force to discipline myself everyday to read books and cases. I do succeed in disciplining myself, however, there are times that I give in to distractions. Whenever I fail to accomplish the tasks I scheduled, I would feel REALLY guilty. I hate how my guilt negatively affects my self-satisfaction . Each day I curse myself for snoozing my alarm, for surfing the internet when I should be studying, for not being the perfect, responsible law student that I want myself to be.

I don't look forward to the time when law school makes me completely hate myself because I'm halfway there. My guilt is self-inflicted. As an ambitious person, I've always been hard on myself. A recent study by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame, explained that individuals with the ambitious character trait, like me, experience a constant sense of dissatisfaction. Being surrounded by competitive law students is not a healthy environment for me because it fuels my frustration. Unless I have mastered disciplining myself, law school is detrimental to my self-satisfaction and self-worth. Until then, I must keep my distance.

We imprison our heart when we allow society to dictate our lives.
Fourth, I have planned my life based on what I think would make other people, especially my parents, proud of me without giving much consideration on what I really want. Most of my decisions were founded on what I think I need to do. Now, it scares me that I would never have the courage or chance to actually pursue what I desire to do.

I have allowed myself to be imprisoned on my plans because other people's opinion of me have always mattered. I don't want to be regarded as someone who wasted her life doing something unworthy of one's attention, so, I engaged in activities that are considered to be worthwhile. However, I have realized that how we choose to define wasting or living life to the fullest depends on us. Our parents' and society's definition may differ from ours but it doesn't invalidate our definition.

For instance, no one can say that a person who chose to be a seamstress when she could have been a doctor, or someone who has the skills of a good lawyer but chose to be a housewife, or a woman who chose to marry a peasant when she could marry a prince, have wasted their lives. The reality is that individuals have varying definitions of a life well lived. We differ on what we value in life. After acknowledging these realizations, I want to liberate myself from the plans I based on society's definition of success and happiness and live my life based on my own definition of a content life.

Continuing a journey with a heavy heart is useless.
Fifth, I don't want to revive the feeling of resentment I had when I was in college. I felt trapped while I was studying Political Science. At some point I was happy but I knew that I would have been happier in another field say Journalism or Psychology. I didn't give up Political Science because of several personal considerations, including the time I have spent studying it and the company of my blockmates. I endured studying Poli. Sci. for 4 years and even graduated with Latin Honors.

My discontent of Poli. Sci. was so strong that when I look back, I still remember the feeling of wanting to shift courses. I'm tempted to pursue Law like what I did with Political Science and pretend that I'm not forcing myself. I know that I would be able to survive because I'm quite capable of achieving things especially when I put my mind and discipline on it. However, I'm choosing to be happy now.  I don't want to pursue something just because I can excel on it. If I'm staying in Law School, it would be because I want to and not just because I can. I REFUSE to endure the next four years with a heavy heart and wait until then to start the life I really want.

There are instances when you just have to be selfish and stop thinking about others. Right now, I want to invoke my right to be selfish. This is my life. I want to listen to my heart and follow my guts.

P.S. Although I'm resolved to leave law school, there are factors that still make my doubts linger. On my next post, I will write about what's stopping me from leaving law school.

11 comments:

  1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Believe me when I say that I can relate. It sounds like you are still continuing on, but can I suggest finishing the semester you're in, but then taking a break? I did so, and it gave me a great chance to step back and reflect on whether my profound unhappiness could go away and I could finish, or whether law school would just drive me nuts. You know from my blog I'm sure which direction I went eventually, but I came VERY close to going back. Just my suggestion, but of course it sounds like you're doing a good job of weighing the options already. Good luck! Sincerely wish you the best! -Jeff http://howtoquitlawschool.blogspot.com

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    1. Finishing the semester and taking a break are actually what I have in mind. I intend to read the rest of your blog and use your experience as my guide. Thanks!

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  2. What you have written here pretty much parallels where my emotions are at the moment as a 1L suffering through the first semester. I'm seriously considering walking into the Dean's office on Monday and withdrawing without even making it to finals. As the days go by I progressively realize I just don't see myself in the legal field and I should stop sinking my time and money into something I have no enthusiasm for.

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    1. I'm no expert but I suggest you follow your heart. That's what I'm planning to do. After all, nobody knows ourselves better than us. Leaving law school is a tough decision to make. Good luck!
      Thanks for dropping by!

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  3. I liked the post very much. Awesome article to read. I have been seeking this type of knowledge for a long time and by posting this article you have made my work so much easier. Thanks.
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    1. Thank you for the kind words. Reading your comment made my day! :)

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  4. Hi there! I'm in the same boat as you at the moment. I started law last year, quit, then came back to it this year. But now I'm having the same thoughts that I did last year. As you said, I just don't see myself in the legal field when I'm older. I keep thinking in the long run, about how much I will owe towards the degree. A degree I'm not even sure that I want. I have extremely strong interests in pursuing an career in the creative field, as a graphic designer/illustrator. But at the same time, I worry what people will think. I feel like my heart lies there though. I feel happy when I create things. I don't feel the same way about law.

    Thanks for your article, it has helped me clear a few things up in my head :) I hope you make the right decision for yourself and everything works out great for you in the end. Try not to stress!

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    1. Hello! I know how difficult it is to decide, especially if you're worried about other people's opinion. But if you have passion for arts, I think you should pursue it. Passion or in your words 'extremely strong interest' for what you do can take you places. I hope things work out for you as well. Thank you for reading my post.

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  5. Your blog posts speak to my soul, Maris. I'm in my second year of a double degree in law and business (In Australia, law is available as an undergrad degree) and I didn't love law at all last year. I've since taken a break from law for the purpose of reevaluating my academic life and deciding what to pursue next semester, but I'm coming up with nothing conclusive yet. Retrospectively, I applied for law for all the wrong reasons, but here I am! The other problem is that I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life AT ALL. Thank you for your insightful words and letting us law strugglers know that we aren't alone. :) x

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    1. Hi, Lexi! Thank you for reading my blog.

      I think I know what you're going through now. It was a difficult journey for me to figure out what I'd do with my life after I left law school. It's even more difficult when I decided to go back. One thing I've learned though with all the reflecting I've been doing is that no one actually has his life figured out. It's a continuous journey. Some people think they have until they'd question an aspect of their life. That's what happened to me. I sincerely wish you well in reevaluating your goals/life. Hang in there! :))

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  6. Well in my opinion, law schools are just one step closer for you to become lawyer, the rest is up to you. :)

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