Why I’m Glad That I Didn’t Finish Law School

March 18, 2012 in Saving

Last week I was really inspired by the Forbes article about Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx.  Not only did she create a brand that I love, but the story of how she became a billionaire is pretty inspiring.  The one thing that I found particularly motivating was that she found all of this success after she found frustration in her first career path.  She bombed the LSAT (the law school admissions exam) twice and gave up on her dreams of becoming a lawyer.  She persevered after her dreams of law school didn’t come to fruition and now she’s making millions a year selling Power Panties and my favorite bra, the Bra-llelujah.

I don’t have grand visions of becoming a billionaire one day, but her story demonstrates that sometimes life turns out much better when it doesn’t follow a clear path.  I graduated college and hesitantly went to law school because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life.   I hated it so much that my left eye would twitch whenever my foot hit the stairs of the law school building.  I’m not sure how much I learned about the law during that year and a summer, but I did learn that I didn’t want to become an attorney and that law school made me miserable.

I’m frustrated that I’m stuck with a student loan from the experience, but I’m grateful that I had the forethought to choose to go to one of the most affordable law schools in the country.  I could be paying off a $25,000 loan from a private school (and that included a scholarship), but my state school tuition was only $6,500.  An even scarier scenario is that I could be a really depressed law school graduate with a mountain of debt and no job.  As this article points out, attorneys aren’t immune to the effects of the recession.  There are a lot of young attorneys out there working as baristas to make student loan payments while they look for work in the legal field.  It’s scary.

Two weeks after leaving law school I was working for a nonprofit and immediately became a happier person.  Sure, the income potential isn’t huge, but I love having the opportunity to help others every day.  Plus, my eye doesn’t twitch when I get to work.  I’m also working hard to pay off the $3,972 left on my student loan and then I’ll truly be glad to have any memories of law school behind me.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Aronica March 19, 2012 at 8:50 am

I LOVED that article. Ms. Blakely is such an inspiration for not only her drive but how genuine she is to her own personality. Love your confidence for taking your own path too. :)

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Single & Saving March 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thanks for your comment, Janet. I’ve heard a lot about her in the past, but that article did such a great job of capturing her drive and personality. She also does great things for charitable organization that work with women in the Atlanta community and seems like an all-around amazing person.

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Krystyn March 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

So glad I didn’t get my PhD in Chemistry as originally planned! Ick! I was pretty unhappy with it, too!

So glad your “plan” took a turn and you are much happier now, too.

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Single & Saving March 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I hardly made it through high school chemistry, so I can hardly wrap my brain around the idea of PhD in it. Being happy is so much better than just sticking with the plan. I’m so grateful that we could both figure that out.

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Carmen Grant July 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I was on the pre-law track ALL through college – I got married before graduating and got pregnant literally the week after I graduated. I had time to think about law school and all I could think of was “what can I do with a law degree other than be an attorney”…Truth is, I think I just wanted to go to law school to say that I went – not to be a lawyer. Thank GOODNESS I didn’t go through with it or I would be swimming in my own debt. My little BA has made me happy and successful and I’ve done more with that than I could have ever imagined. <3

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Single & Saving July 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Thanks for your comment, Carmen. I’m glad that you found happiness and success without becoming a lawyer! It’s good that we both trusted our guts on not following through on law school; we’re probably better people for that :)

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