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Author Topic: Making the decision  (Read 2498 times)

azirish

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Making the decision
« on: May 23, 2006, 10:55:39 PM »
I have been seriously thinking about going to law school for the last three years.  As of this point the closest i've gotten is that i created an LSAC account.  I tend to test well and am confident that i would get admitted to a quality law school.

What's my hesitation?  Mostly family considerations.  Actually, entirely family considerations.

Like most everyone else i've read about on the board, i'm early thirties, married and have three children.  I have an excellent job that provides for my family and allows us to live a great life. 

That being said, law school has always been an ambition of mine, one that i feel slipping away from me as i get older and life gets more involved.  My wife is incredibly supportive of this goal and encourages me to go forward.

What is holding me back is not so much the work necessary to succeed in law school or event he loans that i would accrue while going.  What gets me the most is the sacrifices that my children will have to make as a result of me being in law school.  Maybe it's materialistic, but i would feel terrible if my children couldn't play in the league they want to or be able to go on a nice family vacation for three years.  Maybe it's the provider in me who feels he will somehow shirk his duties if io'm not out there earning a living.

I've considered the "take one step backward to take two steps forward" logic and agree with it in principle.  But, for me, taking that plunge has been difficult.

What was it that finally helped you all make the decision to proceed?

Phatmal

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 03:58:54 PM »
While I do not have kids, I can understand a bit of where you are coming from.  Reduction in the quality of life and financial security from the loss of salary was a serious issue for me.  No matter how much you get in scholarships, it's still not going to make up for the loss in salary so if you go FT...that is just a fact of the matter.  I had applied and been accepted to FT programs or PT programs that would require me to commute back and forth (by plane) on the weekends to maintain my salary.  My spouse and I concluded that going to law school would effectually ruin the next 3+ years for us because we would be so financially strapped, and we decided that we didn't want to do that (yes, shallow but we were totally honest with ourselves).

Then I got into a local PT program and we decided to give it a go.  I don't have to move or quit my job, I work in government and my boss went to the same school so he is supportive, and we have a little more piece of mind.  I will have to work twice as hard with half the time everyone else has and MY life will still suck, but at least we still have some financial security.

That said, if I were you, I would go through the application process and get into school.  After seeing what your options are, I think your gut, and your wife's, will tell you what to do.  Trust me, if I had gotten into Harvard (I'm at a T2), none of this would have been an issue.  Find our what your choices REALLY are and then make a decision.   

Wyethia

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2006, 07:07:01 PM »
Ask yourself this: pretend you are one of your kids---would you prefer to say "my dad is such a great guy--he totally lives his dreams--he went back to school at 34, got his law degree and has been practicing law for the last 10 years.  It was hard while he was in school, but he really goes for his dreams.

or

"my dad always wanted to go to law school but never did.  I'm not quite sure why."

of course--tweak this to fit your situation!!

Honestly, kids adjust to the situation.  A great family vacation can be a week together, it doesn't have to be Disneyland or the Bahamas.  Learning to be frugal and that life isn't all about money is just as valuable a life lesson (perhaps much more!!) than getting everything you want handed to you.

Theresa

baytostay

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2006, 07:31:45 PM »
Seconded. I think that setting a good example for your kids and demonstrating to them that with hard work and sacrifice you can achieve your goals is more important than providing them with fancy vacations or expensive hobbies.  My friend, a mother of 4, ran her first marathon in her 40s and felt guilty that it took time away from being around her kids, but it had always been a dream of hers.  When she finally finished the race her 8 year old daughter told her she couldn't wait to be old enough to run her first marathon too.

greengrl

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2006, 07:33:33 PM »
i don't have kids, nor am I married, but my mom went to school to get her bachelors degree while I was in HS. She worked full time and completed her degree one class at a time, taking correspondence and night classes; it took her six years. she would bring her books to my tennis matches, we would turn off the TV at night and study our respective subjects etc... She graduated college a few months before I did and I couldn't have been more proud of her. Although I was a bit older than your children I can imagine it was really scary for a single mother to bite the bullet and go back to school. your children will be fine--happiness with our own lives is what drives us to be stronger, happier people and this happiness will inevitably make you a better parent (not that you are a bad parent, omg, that wasn't the way I meant it to sound!! :) ) parenting, as far as i'm concerned, isn't just about packing lunches and going to little league games--it's about showing children that life will throw an infinite number of challenges and opportunities at you and the only thing you can control is your reaction. discipline and dedication are learned, and your children will gain so much from watching you during this experience. make them apart of it--help them understand why you are investing so much time in your dreams. as a former educator, i can attest that a sense of drive in the home "diffuses" into the children...

sorry to blab on. best of luck to you...invest in some good coffee, though :) you might get a lil' sleepy balancing all this :) but it WILL be worth it. Best of luck to you and your family :)

Momo09

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2006, 05:19:27 PM »
I live by the saying "if you think it, you better do it".

Bruin once again.

azirish

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2006, 01:04:18 PM »
Wow, so many excellent responses.  Thank you all for your input.

To address some of the points raised here, i'll go in no particular order.

Yes, i know children are resilient and they will ultimately be better for their dad going to law school.  But i am a dad, and the thought of my children missing out on anything causes me worry.  This alone will not prevent me from going forward with the process, but is just one of those things in the back of my mind.

As to why law school has always been an unfulfilled ambition of mine, that's somewhat of an intereting story (to me anyway).  In college, i had two ambitions - law school and/or to enter my current career.  I chose first to enter my current career because it was more immediately attainable and because i was ready for a break from school.  Next thing i know, ten years have gone by in my current career.  Then i got to thinking about my other ambition -law school.  As much as i love my job and the success and satisfaction it has brought me, i would regret not at least trying for law school.  So, as i said earlier, my wife and i have been discussing the option for the last two or three years. 

Finally, my co-workers and i have a motto that we have taken as our credo "Acta non Verba" - Actions not words.  Not unlike what Momo09 is saying, huh?  Guess i better get to studying.  September always sneaks up on me.

scottie

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2006, 05:33:31 PM »
Best of luck to you, and I admire your courage to chart that course.  I too am older with two kids.  They are in private school, in the midst of braces, and we have a house that cannot be realistically sold for the considerable equity that is in it.  A major consideration for me in the decision to try to go to law school is the time factor -- I intend to have more time with my family as a result as opposed to less.  My situation is unlike yours in that I will not go back to law school unless my financial situation becomes such that I can afford to comfortably forgo the income for three years without major sacrifice.  It is an option I may have.  It is an option I may not have.  In either case, I am willing to pursue the long held dream as far as it goes and also be willing to accept a closed door if that is what I find at the end of my pursuit. 

Basically, I would pursue the dream at least through the LSAT, applications, and number crunching.  Your kids will see that and admire/support you in it whatever you finally decide.

----------------------------------
Why am I doing this again?
http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=scottieUT

mobo

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2006, 04:49:58 AM »
What was it that finally helped you all make the decision to proceed?

1. i have had money and stability, and i prefer the satisfaction of doing something that resonates with my heart and head, not just my pocketbook. mixing in some risk and adventure works too.

2. i didn't outgrow my teenaged belief that one person can change the world. might as well be me changing the world.

3. as far as i know right now, this is my one and only life. if not now, when?

4. huge ego, coupled with an ability to fully commit. i want to, i believe i can, so i will.

Momo09

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Re: Making the decision
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2006, 08:02:41 AM »
What was it that finally helped you all make the decision to proceed?

1. i have had money and stability, and i prefer the satisfaction of doing something that resonates with my heart and head, not just my pocketbook. mixing in some risk and adventure works too.

2. i didn't outgrow my teenaged belief that one person can change the world. might as well be me changing the world.

3. as far as i know right now, this is my one and only life. if not now, when?

4. huge ego, coupled with an ability to fully commit. i want to, i believe i can, so i will.

hey you stole my thoughts.  >:(
Bruin once again.