As we age we undoubtedly pass through many stages. But they are not merely childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, "middle-age", & old age. The intricacies of those general, numerical based, stepping stones are individual paradigm shifts influenced from preceding experiences. Over time they help us find our “true self”. That is to say, the passions and interests embedded in our subconscious.
Some people go through life with a building block that is more or less set for them from a very young age by either their parents or themselves. I have friends that in middle school knew they were going to be doctors and, of course, are now full into their residency programs. A few were simply drawn to that field on their own. Others fell into it by way of tradition- one or more of their relatives practiced medicine. I also had girlfriends that from the time they could hold a doll you could see their faces illuminated with joy. They are now happy moms.
So where am I going with this…since this is a blog (primarily an athletic one), and you certainly didn’t click the link to read an entire book!
Well, it’s my preface to explaining- not that I owe anyone an explanation, I just like to share my journey with others- why I decided (not on a whim!) to go to law school.
First, if you know me at all you know that I love to argue. That doesn’t mean I’m aggressive or angry, but the thrill of a good debate yields as much happiness and endorphins as the feeling of an “effortless” long run. As well, since the time I could thread words together I’ve been told I’m a natural manipulator. Too often people associate manipulation with deceit, selfishness, and basically deem it a vice. In the right context/use I believe it’s a virtue. I’m not advocating utilitarianism without the premise that it be good for the whole vs simply the individual- which as an attorney plays a vital role: arguing your case for the good of society (except of course defending a criminal/murderer). Namely, if you can manipulate a situation, or rephrase it, so that you can switch others’ perception for the best, then that is a virtuous skill!
Second, I didn’t just wake up one day and say “eh, to heck with this pro triathlon thing, time to move on to….hmmm….ooh, I know: law school”. By no means am I burnt out on this sport, and am certainly not giving up on my goal to turn pro one day (the day when I legitimately belong there- not just have a card in my wallet that labels me elite). Since I finished undergrad and moved out to California, I’ve slowly come to understand, by trial, that to be the best athlete you can be you need to balance it. Being an extremist, I figured if I had 24/7 to train, eat, sleep I’d reach my potential. Friends and family can say they told me so, but I needed to see for myself, in my own way, that it’s not the case.
As well, we can pretend to not care or like certain things, but the reality is we can choose what we like better but not what we actually like, for that is entrenched in our being (the soul, if you will) and sooner or later it will resurface. I told myself I didn’t care about pinching pennies, making minimal dollar as I chased my dream. But I call bulls**t on myself. I am entirely grateful for the privileged upbringing I was afforded and certainly want to maintain that lifestyle to old age. It is easy to go up, hard to go down. Plus, my passions have always related to the study of law. All of my free time as well as my elective courses in school, were filled with philosophy, sociology, political science, the Supreme Court, and debate. Moreover, as a highly driven individual, I’ll reiterate that it kills me to be 23 and not supporting myself at least more than 50%, immigration issues or not.
However, pertaining to the immigration side of things, law school certainly supports my trajectory toward permanent residency in the US.
Allow me to digress a bit and explain the immigration law:
- Right now I am on H-1B status for a part time job with Brundage Mgt. That visa does not lead to a green card.
- If I am hired for full time employment by Brundage, or any other company (a company has to sponsor you which entails proving you are more qualified than their US applicants, as well as pay the legal fees to bring you in to their co.) then that is grounds for a Green Card. But, for Mexicans, for the Green Card to yield permanent residency there is a backlog to 2005. This means all cases filed since 2005, go before mine. Translation: I see residency YEARS down the line- meanwhile I am working at a company that may or may not reflect my interests/skills or pay well.
- If my mom, now a citizen from marriage (sadly after I had turned 18) files for me, that is backlogged to 1992!! Haha…you see where that is going: nowhere!
- Another option, or miracle hehe, would be to suddenly become so amazing in triathlon that I am deemed “world class” and granted an O-1 visa which is like a green card. That, if possible, will not be anytime soon.
- However, with a masters degree- JD, MBA, what have you- if you are hired after graduation, it is an immediate Green Card with NO BACKLOG!
Ok that’s the short bit in layman’s terms. Wait, yes, there is the other fairy tale scenario that I meet my American prince charming and overnight I’m a US Citizen. Any takers? ;)
Back to my decision…
My mother half jokingly, half really not, told me when I mentioned LSAT registration, “you know, this could’ve been a lot easier right when you finished undergrad at SMU, and it would’ve saved a lot of money that went to triathlon. Also, you haven’t been in school in over three years, don’t you think you’ll be “rusty” to say the least?”
Let’s break that analysis apart: 1) It would not have worked at all for me to get a masters straight from undergrad. The reason is twofold. First, I was entirely OVER school. I had been a hard working, honors student for approximately 15 yrs and to say my brain needed a break is an understatement. Just like you need mental and physical breaks after a long season(s) or racing, I am a firm believer in academic breaks. Secondly, I had this triathlon bug, and my stubbornness that will make a great lawyer of me one day, was not going to accept anything but packing my car and heading to SoCal to swim, bike, and run. You cannot go into something as hard, and expensive, as grad school without being 100% committed to it.
Therefore, as dreadful as pursuing law school in 2009 would’ve been, going for it fall 2012 will be wonderful. My maturity, enthusiasm, and peace of knowing I can still make the most of athletics as I chase a challenging and financially rewarding career, will allow me to be the best student I am capable of those 3 years.
All that said here’s how I am going forward:
July 5th through August 18 I’ll be taking Kaplan’s LSAT prep course in La Jolla. Then I go home to TX & will be writing my personal statement and fulfilling all the other admissions requirements before heading to Kona late September. In Hawaii, Oct 1 I’ll take the LSAT and as soon as my score comes in will send in my application to the following schools: UT Austin, UC Berkeley, USC, Stanford, & SMU.
If I get in to any of those I’m on my way to becoming a lawyer
If not, I’ll keep seeking out full time employment at a PR/Ad agency while still working part time for Brundage.
Of course, through it all, you can rest assured that all my free time will be filled with swims, bikes, and runs.