I was sitting in church and I had a realization…… I need to control law school. That may sound like a very small thought, an impossible thought, a completely unrealistic thought but it did come during church service so I definitely felt some divine inspiration here.
How do you suppose I go about this?? Well I have been reading some books about law school and have come upon a few specific things—
In the book “Law school for Dummies” I learned that I did not want to be a “gunner”. This is a person who raises their hand all the time, wants to answer every question and makes the other law students pretty much despise them. I am already going to be the “nontraditional student” that most likely no one is going to miss—-it’s going to be my smile that they notice first I am sure—insert sarcasm–I’m sure they won’t notice I’m as old as their parents (or older, yikes!). I digress, anyway I don’t want to be that person. It will be hard for me not to raise my hand or not to offer commentary but I will do my best!!
In the book “Law School Confidential” which I highly recommend by the way , I learned-
1. That I need to schedule my life around law school. This is an obvious fact I am sure but I didn’t grasp it fully until this book. I have put together an hourly schedule of classes, reading, life, drive time, etc. I know that life will get in the way and I will do my very best to keep this schedule but at least I have a feeling of control over my schedule. I want to be successful in law school but also continue to have some bit of life. This book has given me hope that I will have CONTROL of my life.
2. I need highlighters—-lots of them. I thought this was some kind of law school joke according to Instagram and Twitter. I was wrong!
3. I need to get my resume rewritten, made current and copied and ready in a file before school even starts. Do you know that law firms start looking at hiring (ha, free labor, no money) and interviewing on November 1 during the first semester of law school–before I even take my first exam? If I want any type of opportunity for a summer job next summer with a law firm I need my resume ready this summer.
I don’t have anything else today but I am still reading Law school Confidential so I will keep you posted—- my challenge to you all today? Learn something new, even if it is a line from a poem or a fact or a really long book about the next 3 years of your life….
I looked at my social media this week and saw a posting I had written a year ago….I had a dream and in it an unknown dream person asked me how many law schools I had applied to. I told the dream person that I had applied to two schools and they said that I had better apply to more otherwise I wouldn’t get into law school. To this I said (again in my dream), “No, I’m only applying to the two schools and I’m going to get accepted to both” Well often dreams come true. I did indeed get accepted to both.
In here lies my problem though. Both schools are good. One ranks 55 in the nation while one ranks 127. The lower ranking school is in my home town while the other is a 50 minute drive for me daily. The in town school accepted me first and I was beginning to really like that option. I felt I could be closer to my family, maybe break from the crazy day of law school and have lunch with my husband occasionally. The home town advantage was really appealing to me. Then the second school called and said I was accepted. The second school is $45,000 less, has great parking, just spent millions dollars on updating the school with law clinics for students, offers free continuing education for its alumni, the list truly goes on and on.
As excited as I was that the first school said yes, I am now even more excited that the second school said yes. This was my first choice all along even though it was the second school. I am about to embark on an entirely new season of my life, in an entirely different town that I do not know much about. I see this season as an opportunity for growth, for fun, for stretching, for trials and errors and for so much uncertainty. In the end though it is what I want to do and am looking forward to the challenge! Call me crazy but it sounds like fun to me.
The tale of two cities—two choices I am thankful that I had and a dream that actually came true.
My challenge for you all today—what are you dreaming about figuratively and literally? Go out and attain it, go get it–even baby steps can eventually get you to where you want to be. It took me 30 years plus this last 1 1/2 years of working hard to get partly to my goal. My end game of course is to become a lawyer but I am still in the baby steps. Go and take baby steps or giant leaps, which ever you are able to do at the moment!
This could be a really long blog considering I started college in 1985 and finally finished in 2016, however; I will give you all the condensed version……
- Went to college in the 80’s, took a couple awesome law classes but decided to drop out once I met my future husband, got married and had 3 great kids. Met friends along the way that became lawyers, 3 female lawyers specifically and that information always stayed with me. (The lesson of just dropping my classes has not been wasted on me as I had to get a 3.87 GPA just to get my overall GPA up to 2.98.)
- I helped my husband run his business plus a few others along the way. I became a realtor for over 15 years. Became a children’s book author with my husband and a grief speaker and writer as well.
- Decided I wasn’t enjoying real estate much anymore and wanted to look into other options. I made an appointment with a counselor at my local university to see just how many credits I needed to finish that degree I started so long ago. My counselor was fantastic. If you are considering going back to school and don’t like your adviser for any reason switch! She made all the difference in the world for me, she fought on my behalf with the Dean of the school and made my transition back so much better than I could have hoped for!
- Amazingly I was told I only needed 10 more classes to finish my bachelor’s degree. Why had I waited for so long???
- Got a 4.0 my first semester back and then had to take a horrible, terrible accounting class. I was surrounded by triple majors and had no idea what the professor was talking about in the first class. I hadn’t had accounting for over 29 years. I freaked a little, actually quite a lot because I knew how much work I had to do to get that GPA up and this class was going to kill any opportunity for that. Fortunately I went back to a counselor, changed my degree with 2 concentrations and reduced my total classes needed by 3! Whew, that was a bullet dodged!
- Made friends with 2 of my professors- a political science teacher that was amazing–the Department of Defense came to town to hear her speak and a former lawyer and politician who taught a great state government class. I am very thankful that I struck up these relationships because once I decided to go into law school I needed to have letters of recommendation from educators. I couldn’t have picked better teachers for these letters!
- Registered for the LSAT. Bought some books on line, a few at Barnes and Nobles and studied as much as anyone can for the LSAT.
- Went to the 2 local law schools within my state to interview them and have them interview me. I was the oldest student at the tour of one school and I am pretty sure that I was nearly as old or older than the professor I listened to at the other school. The joy of being older is that when I was listening to the professor speak about land easements, etc I knew what they were talking about. Fortunately for me one is 30 minutes from my house and one is 50 minutes. One private and the other a state school. Both schools had their pros and cons and I would have been happy with either one!!
- Took the LSAT, got my score. Not happy…..went to a LSAT course at a local college and couldn’t stand the teacher. I had never been in a class with a teacher that was so condescending and seemingly unaware of how to teach. I knew facts she didn’t know and when I asked her a question about them she didn’t know the answers. I left the class completely freaked out and angry. I immediately got in touch with my contact with the class and switched over to a live-online class. This was a much better match for me and the teachers were 100% better than my first one!
- Finished my bachelor’s degree after only 31 years. Made the Dean’s list my 2 semesters back. If you ask me what my degree is I honestly do not know what it is, I do know I have a concentration in Political Science and Psychology but when asked I can never remember what it is officially. I didn’t care in the end what my degree was, it could have been basket weaving for all I cared, I just needed to get done!
- Took LSAT a second time only to get the same score again. What the ##$#%^^$^? I wrote a letter to both schools–an addendum to be added to my file stating why I should be accepted even with a GPA that I couldn’t possibly get any higher and an LSAT score that was not at the level I wanted or that they required.
- Went online for FAFSA. Spent a lot of time digging up tax returns and keeping my fingers crossed that the government would deem me acceptable for loans.
- At the same time got accepted to one of the two schools I applied to. Wow. Excited yet uncertain. So…. planned on taking the LSAT a third time to get scholarship money and maybe into the second school I applied to (which was about half the cost of the one I was accepted into). My LSAT score was good enough to get into one of the law schools, not the second BUT not good enough to get money.
- Studied the LSAT magic of tests for 2 1/2 months-about 5 hours 5 days a week. Basically it came down to me taking timed test, after timed test, after timed test. Going onto the website for the online LSAT class I still had access to and reading all the explanations of every question I got wrong. Exhausting mentally and physically. There is one thing that I liked about the LSAT though–every paragraph or study written is a real article. The instructors with the LSAT class tell you not to learn anything on the way, “do not learn anything when reading the material.” Well, for me learning along the way helped me to respect the LSAT test and read with a different mission. I learned that airplanes used to recycle their air every hour in the 80’s but now only do it every 30 minutes. No wonder we all get sick when we fly. I learned about flagellum and bacteria again after so many years of being out of school. Stupid trivia comes out of my brain from all the reading I did on the LSAT and for that I respect the test and the test makers just a little. I did discover also that as far as the LSAT games go, the test makers want you to get the right answers, they give you all the information you need and you just have to dig it out. Sometimes you just have to dig really, really hard!
- Took the LSAT a third time. This one seemed a lot easier than the second test which was extremely difficult in the games sections especially. Perhaps the 2 1/2 months of studying made it seem easier.
- As of this writing I am still accepted into the first law school and I have paid my deposit. I haven’t received my LSAT score yet but even if I don’t do as amazing as I think I did I will be in law school this fall. The government deemed me acceptable and is giving me money (that I will be paying back until I die). If I did as good as I am hoping on the LSAT then that amount will be less because of scholarships. In the end what matters and what makes me most excited is that I will be in law school this fall. I will be in class with 100-some 24 year old’s and maybe a few 30 and 40 year old’s. And oh yah, I will be in class with a few professors that I am older than too.
I have probably bored you quite a bit but I write this to inspire anyone who is thinking of changing a career, a life, a journey. My road map is long but not impossible for anyone else to journey along with too!! Take a chance, make that appointment with that adviser, you may be surprised at how little you need to do to change your path. You may discover that you have a completely different path than you thought. I may be rambling here a bit. My final statement—GO FOR IT, YOU AREN’T DEAD YET!
Okay, I am starting this blog by lying first and foremost—hmmm, doesn’t make for a very good lawyer. My lie is that I am 49 but will be 50 later this year, while I am in law school. Law school at 49 1/2 doesn’t really roll off the tongue as well as Law School at 50. Forgive me this small lie, I will try hard not to ever do it again, but as in life there are no guarantees.
You may be thinking that I am crazy and wondering why in the world would someone my age want to go through the pain and trials of law school. It is certainly a valid question which I hope I can explain well with a few bullets of why’s and why not’s.
- I did not have a mid-life crisis. Many of you reading this may think so but it is not the case. I am level headed enough to know that decisions made out of a crisis mode do not last or generally go well.
- I love the law. I didn’t realize I did until I began thinking back upon my school life. When I was in college the first time, oh soooo many years ago my favorite classes were Business Law and Criminal Justice. I should have realized sooner that I wanted to be a lawyer. Even now over 30 years later I can remember a few of the class cases I learned back then.
- I love Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. Okay, yes, I know that sounds completely irrelevant but I have a weird mind that likes those kind of books, television shows, movies…..the way of thinking that this kind of media stresses. I have weird facts in my brain that don’t seem to have any need until just one day and I can pull it out of my hat–I’m weird like that.
- I want to live until I die. If you know me personally you have heard me say this quite a bit. I usually say it in regard to working out, I want to be healthy until I am not but this also comes into my personal career life as well. If I am not stretching myself, if I am not growing then I am dying and I do not want that. I do not want to be stagnant.
- “Life is too short not to do what you want” Yes, this is an often overused statement made by people explaining their life decisions. In my case it is too true. Again, if you know me personally you know that I lost my 13 year old son DJ to a skateboarding accident over 10 years ago. He lived life fully, without question 110%. How can I not chose to live my own life this way in honor of his short life? No one is guaranteed any certain amount of time in life and I too want to make the most of mine in the next 50 years I have!
- I think it is going to be fun!! You can all ask me if I think law school will be fun in December after my first finals but until now I am going with it! I am excited to learn new things, new concepts, new ideas, make new friends, new connections, make a new life!
I am sure there are other reasons but for now these are the my top 6. I will give you a history of my life before making this decision on my next blog–this is enough for today. Hope you all enjoy,
Lisa–lawyer in the making, maybe a crazy person, a bit of a fanatic..