In this first blog, I’d like to give you an idea of who I am, how my perspective might be unique, and how I ended up at BU law school.
1. Who am I?
Oh great, an existential question. Well, my resume reads something like this: I graduated from Smith College in 2010, then worked in research administration at Dartmouth College’s medical school for a year and a half. During this time I also worked as a freelance writing tutor and editor, which I continue to do on a limited basis in law school. I traveled abroad to India in both high school and college, where I learned Hindi and conducted research. I volunteer as a liasion between an Indian charity, Ability Aid International India, and the church I grew up in, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in White River Junction, Vermont.
But who I am is probably more than my resume. I’m also a big sister, a dog trainer, a cyclist, a dancer, and a poet. I’m a native Vermonter and an avid lover of all the northern states of New England. I’m a joker and a prankster. I’m bad at keeping exciting secrets, like what I’m going to get you for Christmas. I like people, especially in small groups. All this comes to one major point I intend to make in my blog as a whole: you will still be you in law school, you’ll just be a busy version of you. You should plan accordingly.
2. How did I end up at BU Law?
My path to law school is probably a little different than most peoples’. During the years following college when I was working, I discovered that I am happiest when I have enough to do, and work that is challenging enough to keep my interest. As I progressed through my first jobs, I became more and more convinced that I would need to go on to get a higher degree if I were to reach the level of challenge and responsibility in my work that I desired. Once I reached this conclusion, I began looking at options.
For a while, my top choice for my next degree was an MSN in nursing. I wanted to pursue nursing because I like working with people, I believe in quality health care, and I liked working in a hospital environment. However, my boss, Dr. Paul Holtzheimer, encouraged me to look into degrees that would lead me to a career with more ongoing learning and research, because he saw a curiosity in me that he though might not be satisfied by a career in nursing. Dr. Holtzheimer imagined that I would be a good doctor. I knew from experience, thought, that the study of challenging science often goes slowly for me, so I felt that I would struggle with certain parts of medical school. This led me to ask myself – ‘well, what am I good at?’
Eventually, I came to look at my goals and options for a career in a comprehensive way. I was lucky to get advice from a great career counselor, who encouraged me to explore law as an option because she though it would be a good fit for my skills and personality. I then took some time to do “the flower exercise“, which I found in Richard N. Bolles’ book What Color Is Your Parachute? In this exercise, I considered all the things I was looking for in a career: what skills I wanted to use, in what environment I wanted to work, where I might want to work geographically, what level of responsibility I wanted to take on, what salary range I wanted to fall within, what kind of people I wanted to work with, and what my personal passions, goals, and values were. When I finished the exercise, I could see that a career in law would indeed be a good fit for me. I could see that I could still pursue my current interest in health care, and also be open to new fields of interest that I could discover while in law school.
Throughout my application process I considered the location, rank, and specialty areas of law schools. In the end, my decision to go to BU was informed by all of these things, as well as by BU’s reputation for having excellent teachers. So far, I am happy with my decision to attend law school in general, and I am glad to have chosen BU as my school. My point about the application process is generally that it is helpful to be reflective. Please see Stephan Pastis’ illustration of the depth of reflection one should use before making a big commitment:
Pearls Before Swine, October 23, 2012, http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2012/10/23 (last visited November 14, 2012).