A different kind of law student

The beginning of 2L year is a busy time for many students.  In August, summer internships wind down and soon after students are busy with recruiting, which means resume collections, interviews, and eventually job offers. After classes start, many 2Ls find themselves submerged in work for their journals, researching for their notes and endlessly revising citations, amidst continuing recruitment interviews. And, somewhere in between all of this madness are classes, homework, clinics, and for the brave few, Stone Moot Court.

Yet, there is a minority of students, like myself, who are focused on areas outside of the traditional law firm (and even the courtroom). For us, at this time of year, there are no resume collections and no barrage of on-campus interviews. Life remains busy, yet we face a different kind of stress: the ever-present worry that we are taking the wrong career path.

My career dreams are somewhat unique; I intend to work in public interest law for the government or a non-profit doing more policy-oriented work outside of the courtroom. With the majority my peers headed in a different direction, it is hard not to wonder if I’m taking the wrong path or if I’m making the wrong decisions. While my friends are starting to get job offers, I’m just starting to think about applications (recruitment for non-profits won’t start until 2013); it’s hard not to feel left behind.

At the end of the day, I know I’m making the right decision and I know where I want to be come graduation. Yet, as I’m talking to the 5th person in an hour about recruiting interviews, it’s difficult to ignore that lingering question and doubt.

Being a different kind of law student can be tough. The trick is to finding fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumni that understand those challenges and can help bolster your confidence. When I start to feel that pang of worry, I repeat a mantra that helps me get through the day: “Head up, chin up, stick to your gut.”

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