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Author Topic: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!  (Read 7079 times)

stephster416

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Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« on: December 22, 2009, 08:24:40 PM »
Got in, got scholarships, dropped out and am happier than I have ever been in my life! None of my friends can find jobs, and after leaving I worked in a sports store with 3 of my coworkers were out-of-work lawyers from top tier schools where they'd been on journals and had high GPAs. Yet everyone and their mom is still applying to law school...  hahah Have funnnn!
In - Cornell, Brooklyn, Cardozo ($$$), Baylor ($$$), Notre Dame ($), Washington & Lee ($$), Loyola ($)

ptoomey

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 06:01:21 AM »
Hey there, I'm glad you're happy with your decision. You're story is an interesting one. I looked back at your previous posts to see what would posses someone to turn down Cornell, BU, and Fordham in favor of Brooklyn. It sounds like it came down to money and location. Since you posted, I'm wondering if you'd mind answering a few questions for someone who is considering law school.

Did any of your out of work friends go to a T14 school? Did you drop out because you weren't enjoying it? Realized you didn't want to be a lawyer? Or was it directly related to the job prospects in the field? Also, if you're comfortable revealing, were you doing well at Brooklyn?

I'm still kind of amazed that you turned down Cornell to go to Brooklyn. It sounds like you're very comfortable with your decision, but I'm just curious if you think things might have turned out differently if you had decided to attend Cornell. I guess one thing that would have turned out differently if you still decided to drop out, is that you'd be in a whole lot of debt instead of none, and you'd probably be crying instead of laughing.

Were you unsure going in whether you'd like it, or was it a case of total disillusionment? If you were still getting a full ride, you must have really hated it to drop out. Please don't take this personally, but is working at a sports store really better than attending law school on a full ride? I seriously don't mean that as an insult. I just find it amazing, and I think people on here could really benefit from hearing more about your situation.

By the way, you were accepted at some pretty good law schools. I'd start studying for the GMAT if I were you. The stock market should be roaring in a couple of years ;)

stephster416

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2010, 01:51:00 PM »
My work friends were from top tier and not T14 schools. And in reality, they may not have done as well as they let on, but it was still surprising that they couldn't find work coming from the schools they'd graduated from. My main reason for dropping out was because I wasn't enjoying it and did decide that law wasn't for me. A lot of people told me to stick it out since "it can't hurt to have a JD" and since I had a scholarship. Maybe if job prospects were a little better I might have, but it wouldn't have been the right choice for me. I was doing well, and one of my professors actually tried to talk me out of leaving because of that.

In hindsight, if I genuinely wanted to be a lawyer and could go back in time, I would probably have gone to Cornell. I'm glad that I didn't because, yes, I would be in a lot more debt in that situation, and it might have made the decision to drop out harder since I would feel worse about dropping out of a more prestigious program.

I was a little wary about it going in. Part of that did have to do with me realizing employment prospects were not that great, but a lot had to do with the fact that around the time I was taking the LSAT and applying, I was realizing I had strong interests in some completely different fields. Also, it's hard to understand what law school is like without actually going for awhile. Or what practicing law is like, for that matter. No one makes you shadow a lawyer as part of your application to law school. There isn't much in the application process that ensures applicants know exactly what they're getting into. A few of my friends who dropped out as well (who I still keep in touch with) had similar experiences to me. One mistake I made was going in with a very vague idea of what I might want to do with a law degree. I thought that I could practice law for awhile, but then easily parlay the JD into other fields if I wanted to. Of course some people do that, but putting in the work to go through law school and pass the bar, IMO, is absolutely not worth it unless you are SURE that you want to PRACTICE LAW.

I take no offense to the sports store thing at all, haha! It was a great temporary job for me to figure out what my next step would be. I'm a long-time runner and I was working at a great specialty store that did gait analysis, with awesome people - it was definitely way better than being in law school! I'm not there anymore (back in school for something completely different that is making me much happier), but I had a really fun time while I was there.

The bottom line is, I made the very stupid, classic mistake of going to law school because I thought it was a good, sturdy degree to have, was somewhat interested in law, and wasn't sure what else I could do after undergrad. I did an excellent job of convincing myself I had better reasons than that, and since leaving I've seen friends doing the exact same thing. And just like me, they won't listen to anyone who tells them to think it over a little more. Basically, don't go to law school unless there is nothing else you want to be doing with your life and you are SURE that you want to be a practicing attorney. (If you get into a top school, then maybe you have more flexible opportunities coming out - I don't really know since I wasn't at one.) If you're not there for the right reasons, it's too much work and misery to put up with. (And personally, I thought it was boring as hell. But then again, my favorite subjects have always been math and science - which possibly should have been a clue to me that law school was not the right path!)

Best of luck in your decisions and let me know if you have any questions! Also, to people who do genuinely want to do this and become lawyers, good for you. I wasn't trying to be rude or suggest you'd all fail in life. I just wish I'd talked to someone with a story like mine before going! (Although I probably wouldn't have listened!)
In - Cornell, Brooklyn, Cardozo ($$$), Baylor ($$$), Notre Dame ($), Washington & Lee ($$), Loyola ($)

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2010, 02:12:21 PM »
good to hear you like your job in a sports shop.

Remember though, most people with a PHD who work grunt jobs do so while looking for other prospects and eventually move on while the others compete with GED dropouts and stoners for crew chief level promotions. Since you have a BA you should be able to work your way up to corporate though. Just don't get stuck working on a register at 70 dude, I've seen it and it's not always a pretty site. A job is better than no job, but remember there are other grad schools than just the JD. You could get your MBA online while working if you wanted too. Heck even a Masters in Retail is a good idea if you truely want to work retail. My uncle worked up to corporate in a retail company(not sports but retail all the same) and he makes over a $100,000 a year now. On the other side of the token, my Dad went to school to be a doctor and picked a bad location to set up his first office, had to work at Menards for a few years cutting carpet (his friend was a manager and got him a job) and then had to work under another doctor for a few years after that to get established. Now he had his own expanding practice and makes a lot more than my uncle. Just long term thoughts that might help.

mac n cheese

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 12:47:04 AM »
Congratulations on finding yourself! I find your story to be very intriguing and had some questions if you don't mind.
1)I'm curious as to how many courses you successfully completed prior to dropping out.
2) I also wanted to know exactly how focused on a career path you are at this point.
3) Will you be transitioning into a career within your areas of interest of math and science and if so, what specific areas of science and math would you be pursuing?
4)Did the earning potential of those that hold a JD play a factor in your decision to attend law school in the first place?
5)Do you have plans on climbing the ladder in the sporting goods store and therefore consider that to be your career?

I'm asking because it seems that you've substantiated your decision by pointing out that law school was boring; you have other interests; and that you and some friends who have law degrees from prestigious schools are actually working retail. I guess I'm trying to understand why this decision was the "best decision of my life!"...........
MacNCHeese



maCNCheese

stephster416

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2010, 01:39:30 AM »
I'm actually not working in the sports store anymore. It just happened to be a fun and relaxing thing to do for awhile while I figured out my next steps after leaving law school. I'm definitely not against the idea of more grad school - in fact I'm planning on it. Right now I'm actually in the middle of a pre-med post-bacc program. By the time I'd graduated college, I'd developed a really strong interest in neuroscience from some of my psych courses and I've always been really interested in health and medicine as well. Since I hadn't taken any basic science in college, the post-bacc is a great place for me to start. I've been doing some shadowing and clinical volunteering, which is making me lean toward medicine, although I'm also working in a neuroscience lab right now as well to explore the research side of things a little as well.

As to the second set of questions:
1) I dropped out after 1 semester.
2) It's now over a full year since I dropped out and I'm in the midst of a pre-med post-bacc program, so I'm pretty focused on a new path now.
3) Again, the stuff I mentioned above explains what I'm pursuing now. Even when I was about to start law school, I kept telling myself I could go into health law or neurolaw or even malpractice law, but really that was because deep down I wanted to learn about neuroscience and medicine and not really law at all!
4) Earning potential did play some factor, although not as large a factor as I think it plays for many people. I didn't go into it with the idea that I wanted to work in biglaw, so future salary was not my main motivator.
5) Again, answered above.

I guess I'd say it was "the best decision of my life" because now I'm pursuing things I actually love, rather than something I thought was practical and might enjoy only a little bit.
In - Cornell, Brooklyn, Cardozo ($$$), Baylor ($$$), Notre Dame ($), Washington & Lee ($$), Loyola ($)

mac n cheese

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2010, 12:44:19 PM »
Very insightful! I see that you have made a clear distinction between happiness and success. As for me, I actually ruled everything out except being an Attorney of Law. Then realized that not only does it match my personality type according to Myers-Briggs and Strong Interest Inventory, but being able to help people in this capacity will give my life substance and purpose. I am thankful to the Lord for this clarity. 
Best wishes,
MaCNCHeese
maCNCheese

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2010, 11:53:50 PM »
thats awsome. Hopefully the law you got will help with the medical since we live in a sue happy society and even the best doctor will get sued eventually.


I'm actually not working in the sports store anymore. It just happened to be a fun and relaxing thing to do for awhile while I figured out my next steps after leaving law school. I'm definitely not against the idea of more grad school - in fact I'm planning on it. Right now I'm actually in the middle of a pre-med post-bacc program. By the time I'd graduated college, I'd developed a really strong interest in neuroscience from some of my psych courses and I've always been really interested in health and medicine as well. Since I hadn't taken any basic science in college, the post-bacc is a great place for me to start. I've been doing some shadowing and clinical volunteering, which is making me lean toward medicine, although I'm also working in a neuroscience lab right now as well to explore the research side of things a little as well.

As to the second set of questions:
1) I dropped out after 1 semester.
2) It's now over a full year since I dropped out and I'm in the midst of a pre-med post-bacc program, so I'm pretty focused on a new path now.
3) Again, the stuff I mentioned above explains what I'm pursuing now. Even when I was about to start law school, I kept telling myself I could go into health law or neurolaw or even malpractice law, but really that was because deep down I wanted to learn about neuroscience and medicine and not really law at all!
4) Earning potential did play some factor, although not as large a factor as I think it plays for many people. I didn't go into it with the idea that I wanted to work in biglaw, so future salary was not my main motivator.
5) Again, answered above.

I guess I'd say it was "the best decision of my life" because now I'm pursuing things I actually love, rather than something I thought was practical and might enjoy only a little bit.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Dropping out was the best decision of my life!
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 09:59:52 PM »
True, but like they say in class "the facts speak for themselves" We just present them to the judge and jury.