My greatest fear is that I’ll “settle” for a “decent” job and be secure but unhappy a la Peter Gibbons from Office Space
. All through college, I didn’t care about my future and partied 4-5 nights a week. Hence, these are the options that a 2.7 GPA and a decent LSAT score net me:USNews Rank/School/Cost of Degree
32 Wisconsin …….….$34.5K …(acceptance hopefully pending)
37 Indiana ………….$60.0K …(+25.5K scholarship)
37 George Mason ….$73.5K …(offer pending)
60 Kent ……………..…….$90.0K …(acceptance pending)
60 Tennessee ………..$63.0K …(+9K scholarship)
70 Loyola-Chicago .. $90.0K …(waitlisted)
70 Nebraska ……..…….$61.5K …(deferred)
80 Depaul ……….……..$42.0K …(+45K scholarship)
Tier 3 Akron ……….…..$66.0K ...(acceptance pending)
Tier 3 Arkansas ……..$25.5K …(+30K scholarship)
Tier 4 St. Thomas ….$15.5K …(+60K scholarship)
Tier 4 Hamline ……..….$10.5K …(+68.4K scholarship)
Tier 4 Valpo ………..…..$81.0K …(offer pending)
Tier 4 DC-Clarke …..…$42.0K …(offer pending)
If I get into Wisconsin, all bets are off. In-state tuition FTW. But right now I’m leaning towards St. Thomas.
Conventional wisdom says that my decision should be limited to Wisconsin, Indiana, and George Mason. Period. Law school is a long term investment, and employment opportunities directly correlate with the perceived size of the program’s male private part according to USNews. I’d have to graduate at the top of my class to even have a shot at competing with the average grads of the aforementioned law schools.
The typical law student’s decision making process is as follows:
-HAY I THINKS IM PRETTY SAMRT
-I don’t have a hard-science background, so med school is out.
-Going to grad school for English (or history etc.) doesn’t appear to make fiscal sense.
-Law school, here I come!
…and then they go to the best school they can get into with aspirations of having the biggest swinging lawyer male private part, with pretty much no clue what the actual practice of law is about. This thread
sums up my reservations about being a lawyer.My
reasons (/rationalizations) for going to law school are as follows:
1. The abovementioned reasons, with a political science major
2. I was a total ****off in undergrad, and squandered a chance to excel in school
3. I want to wind up a professor
4. Law school will make me a better writer (see 3); it’s like Strunk & White’s on crack
5. It’ll distance me from my undergrad performance for applications to master’s and PhD programs
...and the JAG plan, as follows:
Making General as a JAG is pretty much unheard of, but Colonel is just a notch down and a very respectable goal. JAG pay is more than livable, with 30 days paid vacation, 10 federal holidays, no insane billing hour requirements, and a sizeable pension at age 45.
The Air Force is conducive to the pursuit of my long term goals. While they do offer tuition assistance, this is a perk
, not a reason
for joining the military. More importantly, I see visible promotion opportunities that should imbue me with the ambition to set and achieve short-term goals. Furthering my education isn’t merely condoned, it’s encouraged: commitment to personal development is a serious consideration when it comes time for promotional review.
My fantasy life goes a little something like this:
Before I leave the service I’d have landed a stints orienting new JAGs (teaching operational law & the UCMJ), and teaching ROTC. Throughout my military career I’d be committed to furthering my education. This includes working towards an LLM, a master’s, a PhD, and assorted PME (Professional Military Education; it’s a temporary training assignment and usually involves relocating). Some personnel even get assignments where their “job” (with full military pay) is obtaining an advanced degree. Such postings are ultra-competitive and it’d be foolish for me to expect
, but hey, it’s my fantasy. I should plan on part-time night programs.
My education should be both interesting and useful. While I might enjoy teaching political philosophy upon retirement, Aristotle has no practical application for the military. Maritime Law or International Aviation Law could lead to some increased responsibilities, but ideally I could study something that’d tie the total package together. Maybe I could go for broke and pick something like establishing constitutional democracies in multi-ethnic societies
, and get involved in that hopeless nation-building business. On retirement I could teach undergrad
courses like “culture & politics” and “noobie constitutional law.”
My questions are thus:
-Should I take on the debt and go to the best school I can get into?
-Am I blind to the (harsh?) reality of what military life will entail?