So I failed out of law school. Well, to be more accurate I was "academically dismissed" from law school, which is more accurate considering I didn't fail any classes and earn full credits for my first year, but I think you'd get the gist better if I said I just failed out. Before I continue, I just want to say two things. First, I am not trying to make any excuses. What happened happened, and that is that. I didn't have any sort of clarity that I wanted to do something other than law or anything like that. If I had gotten decent enough grades to go back, I would have. Second, I'm writing this out of my own self-interest. I don't know if it will be particularly interesting, but I am using this as my own sort of press release to inform people that don't know what's going on in order to save me from having to tell everyone I know individually about what happened. I'm not looking for pity or anything like that. As a matter of fact, I hate pity being shown in my direction. Sympathy is appreciated, apathy is preferable, and pity is loathed.
The more I have thought about this situation the more perplexing it has gotten. It is seriously the most odd thing that has happened to me. I cannot wrap my head around how this did not work out. How it works at Widener is that there is a minimum GPA requirement for the year. You fall below it and you are academically dismissed. I was less that .15 points below that requirement, thus I got the boot. But that is really neither here nor there because I shouldn't even have to worry about a minimum requirement. If I'm anywhere near there, then there is something wrong.
What went wrong? I really can't say. I worked harder at that school than any other time in my educational life. I was on top of work, I did everything I needed to and yet the grades were not there. If I had to guess what went wrong, I'd say that the form of testing is different than what I was accustom to coming from mostly written paper finals and such. Also to answer questions on exams there is a specific format you had to follow, and I'm not sure I ever really understood how the professors wanted the answers presented. I thought I had made proper adjustments, but that turned out to be not true.
Like I said, I'm not making excuses. I can say I wasn't comfortable with the format or whatever, but when I'm still doing poorly on exams, I'm just missing the boat on something. It's not like my answers were perfect but in the wrong form. That aspect of it is what I cannot answer for myself. What major thing did I miss that virtually everyone else that goes to law school in general get? I know I can do better, and I should have done better, but for some reason I did not. To be honest, when I found out I wasn't going back (about a month ago) I really just felt like God was just telling me, this is not what I'm supposed to do. I don't mean that in a religious aspect, but just as a universe and cosmos thing where the planets and stars were just like, this isn't for you. That's the only reasoning I can grab onto to make sense of what happened. I'm no genius, but I know I'm a smart person. Smart enough that I should be able to do well in law school, and yet nothing law-related in my life has worked out.
I could have reapplied or petitioned for readmission, but I decided against it. Mainly because at the time I was pretty distraught and took the, "if they don't want me then fuck them" role. Then I kind of gave up the idea of going back to law school all together. I told myself it was time to move on and find something else for me. The last phase of my reasoning for not petitioning was that the school said a petition for readmission would only be accepted under "extreme circumstances." Which I basically took as bullshit right off the bat, and an underhanded way of saying, "Do you really want to do this?" I mean let's face it X amount of kids transfer out, they're just dipping into the readmission pool to fill up the empty slots to get money. Bottom line. Anyway, I still thought I could make a good argument for myself, but then I figured if I did get back in then where would that leave me? I would be in the lowest percentage of kids at a pretty average law school. That would fuck me for next summer when I would have been looking for an associate position and that would have snowballed to me having an expensive J.D. at the end of 2009 and no job.
Don't get me wrong, I've always subscribed to the theory that there is no such thing as a bad law school. Which is absolutely true. If you're a good law student anywhere then you'll be fine. But when you're a shitty law student from Widener is different from being a shitty law student from Yale.
Where I am now is basically limbo. I've been on the job hunt looking for good opportunities, but I've only turned up rather poor ones and the jobs I have wanted, I haven't gotten called back for. Honestly, I thought finding a job would be easier, but it has been difficult. I'm definitely bitter about having to be home and not forwarding my life, but I don't think I show it too much. I think I've turned that corner and am more looking for opportunity rather than mulling over the past. While I will still be looking for a good job, I think I may bust out my old LSAT books to start looking them over for a possible return to law school in 2008.
I'll retake the LSAT's (as much as I loathe the idea) and let that determine whether or not I continue with law. If things work out, I'll reapply and go from there. If not then I know for sure law wasn't for me.
The main things I'm dreading about entertaining the idea of law school again is retaking the LSAT's, which is a horrible experience. Then having to retake classes I earned full credit for. Go through everything again, and do the briefs and outlines. It will be frustrating. Then I wouldn't graduate until 2011, which would probably be the worst considering I would have been working for 2 years at that point. It would just be a constant reminder of my failure. But I have to man up and move past those things if I want to succeed.
Ideally I'd like to find a good job in the city, either Philly or New York, and earn enough in a year that I could move into the city and continue working. I still have high standards for myself, so in the end, I'm not going to take some garbage job just to live in the city, I'm looking for a career opportunity that will allow me to be as successful as I had planned to be. If all else fails then I thought about some professions I might want to try my had at:
I. Music producer - probably rap music because it is so easy and lucrative. Eventually I'd work my way into videos a la Timbaland. I think that would be good. I mean if this guy can make it how hard can it be? I certainly don't need street cred.
II. Screenwriter - use my creativity and writing chops to pen a movie script. Sell it for a nice sum and move on from there. Sadly, this may be the most realistic crazy venture idea I had. Problem is I don't know the first thing about blocking scenes and whatever, I'd just do dialogue. So that's a problem.
III. Monk - just pack it all in and live in the mountains somewhere.
Anyway, I've been able to move beyond the fact that I won't be attending law school this year, but the thing that is the worst is missing out on the friendships I had established at school. There were some great people there, and while I can accept that i didn't do something well academically, having to bail on friends and such is something that is harder to wrap my head around. I know I will still maintain friendships, but I feel as though there was a sort of bond that we were all going to grind through this together. I guess it's the closest to a fraternity setting, in regards to the bond between people, that I've had. That is disappointing.
As for regrets, I don't think I have any pertaining to law school. I worked my hardest and did my best so I can sleep at night knowing that. Something about that school at that time didn't click with my head. Was I in front of a book 20 hours a day? No, but that's not my style nor could it ever be. I worked as hard as I could have and I know I put in the effort to be proud of myself in that respect. If anything I guess I would wish that I focused more on the LSAT's. Gave it a little more focus and effort. I was still in school and had other things going on which probably affected me negatively. Again, I'm not making excuses, tons of other people do great on the LSAT's right out of college and do well in law school, but for me I think some time off would have been better. I always told myself I didn't have a year to just refocus. I think I may have gotten into the kind of rut where you don't know you're in it until it caught up to you.
So I'll be around, keeping at it and seeing what turns out. I don't know if this is my brain in denial or an actual feeling I have, but I'm kind of excited to see what opportunities are out there for me. If it leads me back to law school and I succeed then that's fine. If something else turns up then that's fine as well.