Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grow up

I'm currently a second year law student. I'm a father of three with a wife who works full time. Prior to starting law school, I served 8 years in the Air Force where I learned a foreign language, fought in a war, helped save countless lives, and trained over 50 successors. During that time, I also finished my undergraduate degree, one that I had all but abandoned by quitting school to work full time prior to enlisting. In other words, I worked to be where I am, and I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be.

This semester, I'm taking a Saturday class, Consumer Transactions. It's actually more interesting than I'd first imagined a class about DTPA to be. During the break, I overheard another student, a 20-something, talking about how it doesn't matter what he's doing, or how well he does, because the school means nothing to him, and the education is "just another thing." This statement brings me to the point of this post.

If you can't give a reason for being in law school, any reason, then you need to quit. You need to go and work for a living and find out what it is you want. Otherwise you're wasting your time, your classmates' time, your professor's time, and everyone who has supported you during your education, not to mention over $60,000 of your own money. If you've not workedyet, and don't know what it is you're missing, and don't appreciate what you're getting, then go and learn. Earn some money, learn about yourself.

And if you're one of those career students, who has never had a job that lasted longer than a summer, you're either in school because you're privileged and just checking all the boxes until you move into the family business or you're a coward. Yes. A coward. It's time to be responsible. Get a freaking job. Earn your keep. Be the adult you claim to be. If you haven't been able to do that through high school or college, then grad school won't give it to you either. Quit bitching about what's wrong with the world and be a part of the world. Better yet, to help you grow up, there's this thing called the military. They have an excellent program that pays you to grow up. You'll learn responsibility. You'll learn to depend on yourself as well as others. And more importantly in this day and age, you'll learn about loss, about sacrifice, about what it means to be a part of something more than just yourself.
And perhaps, after that time is done, you'll understand a little more why going to law school matters. If you are unwilling to do that, then shut the hell up and quit wasting my time.


Michelle said...

It makes me so cross that people like that are using the system.
Although i don't think it's just law students. I see young ones doing their teaching degrees........nursing both ultimately careers with daily people/children contact who just shouldn't be there or claim it wasn't their first choice! To me, you have to follow your calling, get a job till you find what "floats your boat", it may take did me, but don't use the system cause you can.

Cassie said...

Steve, I'm almost afraid to comment on this one. I can just picture your face while you wrote it.
I can't stand the people who look down on others who don't have a degree as being stupid or "low class" when their parents paid their way through college and their European backpacking trips etc. It's not as easy for some people to get a college education. I also know people whose parents paid their way and they acknowlege that they are lucky that they had that opportunity and don't take it for granted. But the 21-22 yr old who looks down his nose at the 35 yr old single mother working as a waitress all night so she can attend classes during the day and still care for he children, just makes me angry. I'd like to see him with a degree while in the same situation as the 35 yr old.

Bookworm said...

I was one of those who floated into law school. I always thought I'd be a history PhD candidate, and then suddenly I looked into that 7 year abyss, with no job prospect at the end, and backed off. I then defaulted into law school.

I took an LSAT class and told myself that, if I enjoyed it, I'd take the test. I enjoyed it, took the LSAT, and told myself if I did well, I'd apply to law school. And so on through the application process, the first year of law school, really right up until graduation and my first job. (By the way, I loved lawschool, but that was primarily because my law school was such a very nice place to be, not because I loved the law.)

Reality hit with my first job, when my true ignorance and lack of commitment were suddenly exposed for all to see. Growing up took four years and going out on my own.

Of course, real growing up took having children. As long as you don't have kids, you can indulge yourself in a way that keeps you forever immature.

English Professor said...

I understand. One semester I had a class filled with bright young people who just couldn't seem to make themselves do anything to prepare for it--do a little reading, take a look at some art, listen to a little music--they just wanted to come to class and have me tell them everything. (That course was required to graduate.) One day, I had had it, and I simply put the lesson plan away and talked to them in a calm voice about what I had given up in order to be in that classroom with them--two decades in the defense industry, with all the pay, generous vacation, retirement plan, and other benefits that go along with that industry, as well as a return to school myself to obtain the advanced degree I needed to be there with them. And I told them that I was happy to have made the decision, because I thought what I did, what I taught, was that important, and it was not just a job to me, but something I was dedicated to, had rearranged my life for, and I thought that they could uphold their end of the educational bargain by doing a little bit of reading before class.

Things got markedly better after that--sometimes young people just need to be reminded yet again that there are people in the world besides them.

Matthew said...

I could never get over the people who were paying $60,000 plus to be in law school, and who just coasted through. Why were they there? You get out of it what you put into it.