Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Life Altering Decision

The last few days have been really tough.  I think I cried enough to fill a lake.  You remember how I was going through a crisis last week?  Well I finally decided I don't want to practice law.  I want to use my degree for something non-traditional.  And, I know exactly what I want to do.  I'm terrified because I just flipped my world as I've known it upside down, but I ... in my heart, know it's what's best for me.  I started thinking, "What am I doing?  Do I want this?  Do I want to work at a firm?"

Evan's going to start working 80 hours a week in residency.  I was miserable imagining being essentially a single mother and coming home in a bad mood because I hated my job.  I was reading over the Partnership outline in my bar studying last night, and each line that I read just made me cry harder and harder.  I just couldn't do it anymore.  I finished law school to make everyone else happy.  I stopped caring about myself somewhere in the process.  I think I honestly knew this wasn't right for me from the first semester of school.  Nobody likes studying, I understand that.  But at the same time, I don't think it was normal to HATE it, to hate the material, to hate the thought of being a lawyer.  I see why people do like it.  The material is so challenging and I loved that.  But, it just isn't for me.  Everyone is different right?

There was another couple that was a med/law couple our first year and she quit law school after the first year, and I remember feeling so jealous of her.  I was so jealous that she was confident enough to say "I don't want this."  That being said, I'm happy I graduated from law school.  Nobody can ever take that degree away from me.  I still worked really hard and I'll be able to use my degree for something.  It just won't be practicing law and some how, as ironic as it sounds, that puts a smile on my face.

So here's what I want to do: I want to work towards being a principal of a school.  Crazy huh?  I am going to get my teaching certificate as quickly as possible and teach for a few years and then go back to get my masters.  From everything I've read, my doctorate will only HELP in the job applications processes.  This decision didn't come from out of nowhere.  I taught (tutored a group of 60 students) for a year and a half while I was in college and it was by far the best job I've ever had.  Plus, I think I was really good at it!  I had three people email me and tell me they switched majors just because they enjoyed my tutoring sessions so much.  It was so rewarding.  I got paid for 12 hours a week but ALWAYS did more than that.  I WANTED to do more than what was required because I enjoyed it.  I even noticed that during law school and tutored for contracts as well.  I think I've always known this was what was right for just took too damn long to realize it.

I'm honestly really embarrassed about it all because I'm sure everyone in the world thinks I'm ridiculous and stupid for doing this.  But if for some reason later in life I realize I made a mistake, I'll take the bar then.  But I don't think that's going to happen.  I think, I know, this is what I want for now.  And I'm going to run with it, because at the end of the day what matters is that I'm happy, that Evan is happy with us, and that my Liliana is happy.  And I'm doing my darndest to make sure that happens as soon as possible.


  1. We love you and are praying for you! You're going to be sooooo awesomemly (yes, that's a word, well now it is) successful in WHATEVER you do, because that's who you are. You're AMAZING. Amazing mother, wife, daughter, not to mention FRIEND. =) Hope your day gets better now that your path is a little straighter! ;-) Let me know if you ever need anything! Hey, maybe we can both get our masters together! hehe..

  2. I think it's wonderful that you figured out what you want out of life, when so many always struggle in positions that leave them feeling less than fulfilled (I'm ashamed to admit it, but I fall under this category, too). It sounds as though you may have found your true calling and I believe that all the decisions you have made in your life have led to that realization. I wish you the best of luck and happiness in all that you do :)

  3. That's so great that you've figured it out, though. SO many people don't EVER figure out what they want to do. I'm not sure what I want to do with my law degree, either ... just kind of in limbo.

  4. I don't think there's anything wrong with following your dreams. Now is the time to do it. you don't want 20 years to pass and be stuck in a miserable job that's not for you.

    The only thing is, you're gonna have to change the title of your blog :-).

    Good luck!!

  5. Hi C -

    I am A and I have been following your blog for a little while now (found you through Blogger). It has been great to read about your and Evan's struggles and successes in being parents and students. Your stories are inspiring and give me something to look forward to in between my corporate monkey job and school (I am currently pursuing my MBA). Secondly - congratulations!!! You have had so many great things happen for you this year - you graduated from law school and you are now the wonderful mother of a lovely little girl.

    While I have been reading your blog for some time now, I feel compelled to comment for the first time now because I really resonate with this posting. I feel I am in exactly the same boat. I am not very happy in my job and I'm a few months from completing my MBA, but I feel like none of it is what I really want to do. I just wanted to let you know that I admire your bravery - it is not easy to start on a new path after you have been working on a different one for quite some time, with significant effort.

    In short - Congratulations, best of luck to you and your family, and keep up the great posts! Hopefully I'll figure out what I want to do one of these days.

  6. I know this is completely unsolicited advice, but here goes---I am a lawyer and have been for 10 years. I will say that I pretty much hated law school, too. I felt that many of the courses were boring and useless (I had 2 years of required courses) and most of the professors were arrogant people who knew nothing about the actual practice of law. The studying/taking of the bar/waiting for results was the worst experience ever. I know it sucks. No two ways about it. I actually took two different states' bar exams (including TX in subsequent years). I would not want anyone to make this decision only a few days before the bar exam and weeks after having a baby--far too stressful. I think you are right to give yourself some time to study/think things through, but don't make a lifelong decision, because you are stressed out about the looming bar exam now. I think it is important to get admitted soon, if you ever intend to practice law. Taking the bar exam and studying will not get easier, and it is fresh on your mind now. The first couple of years of practice are the hardest, then it gets MUCH easier. There is a big learning curve--just like in any professional career. Keep in mind that, if you specialize, then most of the topics on the bar exam will not ever come up in practice (or rarely). Nobody has ever asked me about oil and gas law, criminal law, etc., and I never intend to practice in those areas.

    So back to my story, after a crappy job, I finally found a job I really like at a small firm where I have been for the past 7+ years. I promise you, it *does* get easier. I think your story is why we need mentors in the legal profession (especially for young female attorneys). I know I am a stranger, but I stumbled across your blog (and found a few other great blogs that you follow). I am actually on leave right now due to a high risk pregnancy. I would be happy to talk/email with you, if it would help you in some way.

    By the way, I don't think I have ever talked with a lawyer who said he/she enjoyed the bar exam process. Studying anything for 12 hours per day for a couple of months will make you hate it!

  7. Ellen and to everyone else: Thank you so much for your kind words and advice!! I haven't felt this content and at peace in years.

    Ellen, I really appreciate your advice. However, the problem is, I don't want to practice law and I don't intend to's just not for me and I've known that for years now. I am SO glad you finally found a job you liked though.

  8. Good for you, Cristina! As someone who practiced law for 6 months before "retiring" from the law to go work for a non-profit, count me as someone who definitely does not consider you "ridiculous and stupid" for doing this! We definitely need our best and brightest in the education field, and you will be great at it! And you are correct, having the law degree will help you in whatever you choose to do- I am always amazed at how much stock people put in a legal education (although I didn't feel like it changed my thinking and reasoning processes all that dramatically, I never try to disabuse them of their misconceptions!). Best of luck to you in this next adventure. Jason Stuart

  9. What a horribly difficult decision. I think in your heart you know what's best for you. Go with it!

  10. I don't think you should be embarrassed at all! I think you need to do what will make you happy, because if Mama isn't happy, nobody's happy!

    One question though, will you change the name of your blog??

  11. You were my SI for Political Science and you did GREAT! You were totally the reason I passed that class! You will be a great teacher! Good luck with whatever you do! :-)

  12. You are not ridiculous or stupid for following your heart!!! You go girl!!

    Love, Steph Allied Moms =)

  13. I hopped over here from Blog Frog. As you said, whatever happens, you will still have the law degree and can take the bar later. Do what makes you happy.

  14. I can't imagine doing all that...I'm glad that you made the decision that seems like it's in the best interest of you and your family. I think you'll be much happier!

  15. I have been exactly where you were, although sort of in reverse. I graduated from college with a music degree from one of the best music schools in the country, and went to get my masters at my dream school studying with my dream teacher. The problem was, I finally realized what I had known (but tried to ignore all along): that while I was really good at music, I didn't want to be a professional musician!!! I had this realization as I was walking to my car from class one day, and I just called my mom and started crying and said I didn't want to do it anymore. I went to law school a year and a half later, and now I've been practicing for 2 years and could not be happier with my decision! You just *know* it's right.

    Congratulations for being brave enough to admit this to yourself and the world!!! The best is yet to come!

  16. Hi Cristy! I'm a new mom-to-be and the law half of a lawyer/doctor couple, too, and though I did decide to practice, and have come to enjoy it, I had serious doubts, too. I still distinctly remember in my 1L Legal Writing course, maybe second week of school, professor was handing back papers and called out the name of a student who had, unbeknownst to us, dropped out of school. Another student said, "Uh, she's no longer with us." I remember thinking to myself... I'm not sure if that means she left, or like, she died, but either way, I'm kind of jealous of that girl!" Which, I mean, how horrible of me, but that's how brutal the first semester of law school was for me. It only got marginally better from there, but after starting my career, things all kind of fell into place.

    Best of luck to you in your endeavors as a teacher and a principal. I know your JD will serve you well in your career; the persistence and hard work it takes to get it, coupled with the mastery of research, writing, oral communication, and logic/analysis, is a great foundation for anything you wish to do in life!

    All the Best,