For as long as I can recall, science has always been a great passion of mine. Throughout my childhood, I had dreams of becoming a doctor, a forensic scientist, an aerospace engineer, maybe even a roller coaster designer. Eventually however, I decided on becoming a physics major. Books on string theory and black holes fascinated me, and I had thoughts of working at NASA one day. As I came to college and worked my way through the introductory physics classes however, I realized I enjoyed electronic circuits more than theoretical physics. I switched my major to electrical engineering, and turned my thoughts towards what to do with the rest of my life. The idea of attaining a Ph.D. had always appealed to me, of becoming an expert in my chosen field. There were some thoughts of going into the work force upon graduation, but in my heart I knew I had always wanted to obtain a Ph.D. Fortunately, there was a professor who did research on lasers who was willing to let me work in his lab. I began work there in the summer. At first I enjoyed it, thinking about how this was going to help me get into graduate school. When I continued working in the lab into the fall however, a curious thing occurred. I found that I no longer enjoyed working in the lab.
To say that I was confused distraught is an understatement. Here I was, thinking about becoming a scientist or an engineer all my life, when I realized that I wasn’t having fun anymore. The only think that I could say for certain was that I had no idea what I wanted to do. Soon after this realization, a turning point in my life occurred. I was discussing engineering with a younger friend of mine. He was a sophomore who was planning on going to law school and becoming a patent lawyer. The thought of myself attending law school popped into my head, but I didn’t take it too seriously. I told myself that I would think about it, but I was probably going to stay in engineering. After all, could I really give up doing hands-on science, something I had loved since I was a child? The thought scared me, but would not go away. As the weeks rolled on and I became even more disenchanted the research, I started seriously considering patent law and law school. I discussed it with my friend and read all I could. The idea of being able to work with a broad range of technology, and not just a specific branch of electrical engineering appealed to me. I obviously still loved engineering and technology, but I wasn’t sure if I was still interested in research and design. I liked the idea of researching different technologies, of writing a patent application. The desire to attend law school grew quite strong with these thoughts.
There was still a voice in the back of my head though, asking if I was really prepared to not be an engineer. This thought seemed to be the only thing holding me back. I was fortunate to be in contact with an alumnus of my fraternity who had graduated law school a few years ago and was now practicing patent law in Chicago. Quoting directly from one of our conversations, he stated, “I enjoyed reading the papers on the new technology more than actually doing the research.” Reading this, I realized he was expressing the exact same sentiments I myself had been feeling for a while. It was at that point that I knew law school was the right choice. I understand the fact that my first year won’t involve any patent law and that it will be more reading and writing than I am used to. The fact that I have finally found what I want to do outweighs this though, and I am extremely excited to begin the next chapter of my life.