Adam Goodman is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is majoring in History and Political Science. Adam will be joining Law School Podcaster as our guest undergrad blogger while he decides whether law school is the right next step for him. When Adam is not studying or writing, he can be found charming co-eds, playing intramural sports, and participating in various philanthropic events.
The Anxiety of Next
“I’ve decided to consider applying to law school,” I told my parents over Thai food, during winter break. I made sure to drop this nonbinding quip just as the food had arrived, hoping that their focus would not be on me, but on the spicy drunken noodles that had just come to the table. They love their Thai food after all. “Great,” said my dad slurping away at his steaming bowl, my mother nodded with approval, her eyes focused on her mildly spicy pad Thai.
“You’re going to law school?” Damn, he got me. I thought I was flying under the radar, but I guess not. This wasn’t going to be good. My perceptive and adolescently confrontational seventeen year old brother loves to nitpick until I‘m ready to strangle him.
“Um, Halo,” I countered in a verbal flanking maneuver. “How many guys did you kill on X-Box Live?” It was a trick that had worked in the past. My brother, an X-Box enthusiast, loves to regale the family with “that one time” he no-scoped some nube or whatever. “Well,” he started but then paused. His smile quickly turned into a frown as he mulled over what was going on. Rarely will I indulge him so easily.
“No, go on about law school,” he concluded out loud. “No,” I said flatly.
Truth be told, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I’m still up in the air, to be honest, but I had to legitimize a double major in history and political science, right? The prospects of teaching or working for the government do not get my mouth watering. Would either be so bad, with job vacancies so few and far between? No, but neither are my passion, and I don’t want to be the guy who goes to work every day doing something he hates for the rest of his life. Neither do you, I’m guessing.
These are the problems of a sophomore undergrad. A group of people who are in undergrad purgatory. If you’re undecided, it’s time to start making up your mind about a major which may lead you to a certain career. After all, if you’re a botany major, you won’t be designing skyscrapers or probably anything. Some majors aren’t as cut and dry as an engineering major. A number of majors could, and for many of us will, lead to the nine to five cubicle job, but honestly who wants to work in a cubicle like some real-life Dilbert comic strip? I feel that for sophomores there is an anxiety of next; halfway done but still not sure what we want to do with our lives. Like many of you I want to make a lot of money, preferably in as short a period of time as possible. Naïve and idealistic? Yes, but being in undergrad purgatory, a guy has got to have a dream right?
Which brings me back to the possibility of law school. A possibility that in itself may offer a rude awakening from the “Law and Order” type prosecutors and defendants that I have become accustomed to. As Americans, we tend to romanticize law on television while demonizing it in everyday life. Lawyer jokes aside, we see attorneys as sharks in the legal water, men and women only interested in a paycheck and fame, save for the occasional heart of gold types portrayed on television as seen in Kathy Bates’ new offering “Harry’s Law.” These days, many of us see law as a tool to control or triumph over a competitor in the legal arena.
This is the product of a skeptical nation with little faith in a flawed legal system and morally flawed lawyers. Does that make us pessimists? Hell no it doesn’t. Often, the feel-good stories of folks suing for real damages done unto them get strung up in the courts with a long pre-trial process and endless appeals. Would I have it in me to battle day after day as a result of court bureaucracy even if I got to drive a Mercedes to the court house? I may lose it and start throwing haymakers at the opposition’s attorney (which would surely land me in contempt if not on charges of assault).
For those of you who know that law is the career path for you and specifically what kind of law you want to practice, I salute you, I really do. For the rest of you who really are not sure or have no idea and are just testing the waters, you are not alone. It’s stressful, the anxiety of what’s to come in a few years time when the beer bongs run dry and the weekends on campus seem monotonous; it scares me too. Now is the time to start reaching out, making contacts, and getting a feel for what your future may bring. That’s what I’m doing and I hope some of you will follow me as I answer the question: “what the heck will I do with my life?” Hopefully the answers will help you out as well.
For more information on this topic, check out these great podcasts: