Work has kept me extremely busy lately, but I wanted to check in with a law school debt update:
|Principal||Accrued Interest||Interest Rate||Total|
As you can see, I’ve managed to reduce the total since my last update. Of course, this has come at the expense of anything resembling a personal life. I take every paycheck I get and immediately submit it to the student loan debt gods.
But looking at things from a broader perspective, I’m glad that I’m making progress. It’s somewhat distressing and terrifying that I will have no savings and no financial security when I’m in my mid-30s, but it’s still better than having student loan debt. If only I could talk to my 22-year-old self about how student loan debt would destroy my life. This entire process has been an extremely difficult lesson.
Beyond the student debt, I’ve been confronted with another pressing issue: I find legal practice deeply unsatisfying. I seriously don’t understand how people can dedicate their lives to litigation. There must be a part of my brain missing, but I know that this is not the life for me. There’s just nothing satisfying or rewarding about it and it holds nothing for me. So, with all of my money going to student loan payments, I’ve decided to think carefully and deeply about my future.
I need to forge a new path – one that’s aligned with my interests, skills, and abilities rather than a path forged merely for the purpose of acquiring money. If I’m being honest with myself (something I’m getting better at), I went to law school because I was deeply insecure and wanted to prove myself to others. I thought law school was a solid bet that would ensure an upper middle class lifestyle, respectability, and intellectual challenge and stimulation. How wrong I was.
I’ve reached the point of professional and financial misery where I truly do not care what others think and I want to pursue a career that better suits my personality and skills. I think it’s almost impossible to excel at a pursuit unless you find some intrinsic motivation or meaning in it. And for me, I find the law and legal practice utterly devoid of meaning or motivation. You’re probably wondering why I went to law school. I wonder the same thing. I think it’s because I didn’t truly understand what I was getting into. I thought being a lawyer was more of an office job, where you dealt with important business filings, provided advice, etc. I thought it was more civilized and less tedious than I’ve found it. I was 22 when I seriously considered law school. I took the LSAT and did well and kind of got swept up from there. I had a “useless” B.A. and thought I needed more. I thought a law degree would impress my parents and other adults. I thought it would impress employers (even non-legal employers) and thought it would open all kinds of professional doors. I was also just naive, short-sighted, and more than a little bit foolish.
I didn’t really know what lawyers do for a living. I liked reading, writing, and research and thought a legal career offered me the best chance at using those skills productively and profitably. I felt like an alien after my first month of law school. I immediately felt like my classmates had different priorities and different personalities than me. I should have left then and there, but a mix of shame, pride, insecurity, and drifting kept me enrolled. And so here I am and I have a seriously mixed up life because of my lack of foresight and lack of appreciation for who I am. I’ve made a serious mess of my life, but if I can get on the right track by my late-30s, maybe things will turn out okay. Maybe.
Yes, I need to feed myself and put food on the table and that will most likely necessitate doing tasks that I find tedious and really don’t want to do. But I don’t believe my entire life should be consumed with tedium and misery, which is my gut reaction to legal practice. I don’t want to be miserable.
This is a rambling post and it’s evident from my recorded thoughts that I am only in the beginning stages of constructing a plan for the future. But I figured I would share them on this blog since this is supposed to act as a record for my escape from student loan hell.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and you are all making tremendous progress on your student loans. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive 2016!