My husband and I decided that we really needed a getaway of our own, someplace where we could relax and escape the stresses of everyday life with our two pooches. So we started out on our search for the perfect little cabin on a piece of lakefront property in northwestern Wisconsin. I knew the search wouldn’t be easy, but I never expected it to be full of so many twists and turns.
The realtor we started out with was a real piece of work. Most of the listings had not been updated with important information like, “you know all those trees that surround the cabin . . . well, they have been cut down to make way for additional lots.” And unexpected changes to our pre-approved loan amount because of all of the “stuff” going on in the lending market soured our disposition. However, the most frustrating point of all happened half way through our search. I found out that my company would be going through a merger that most certainly will mean staffing reductions, and my husband got the news that his salary had been frozen, so that the pay increase that was to accompany his promotion was not going to happen this year. So here we are, more stressed than ever, and torn about whether to continue on, hoping for the best, or put the whole thing on hold until conditions stabilize.
In a shaky market, buying property has it pros and cons, but so does spending a ton of money on law school. It is not hard to find a plethora of stories about layoffs in firms large and small around the country: Law Shucks even has a layoff tracker. So with everything that is going on, my potential job loss, a combined forecasted salary of a few grand less than expected, and an uncertain legal job market, why have I never questioned my attendance in law school?
For one, as a non-traditional student, I am holding out hope that the legal job market will be much improved in three or four years when I graduate. Still, that does not change the fact that the interest rate on my Stafford loans is higher than the interest rate I would be able to get on a mortgage for a second home. And while law school is an investment in my future, it is a pretty poor financial one, beause I likely will be making less practicing law than I am in my current position.
So, the real reason why I don’t question my attendance is simply because I don’t want to. I decided long ago that I don’t care whether law school is a good investment for me financially. Instead, I am attending law school because a legal education is something that I want, and that is enough of a justification.
As I said, I am a non-traditional student and have lived in the “real world” for a few years now. I love my job, but I could not imagine doing it for the rest of my life. There is something incredibly liberating and exciting about doing something for the love of it, and I could not imagine dealing with all the stress of law school if it wasn’t something that I really wanted to do. Not to sound like a Reese Witherspoon movie, but for me the choice to study law is a passion free of reason, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I hope that someday soon, I will be sitting in front of a campfire in northwestern Wisconsin, enjoying lake front views with a casebook in hand.