Law's not a competition but I'm winning
I’ve never been the most competitive person. I was the kind of kid who abandoned losing card games before the final draw, who sat making daisy chains instead of fielding in softball, who donated Monopoly profits to more entrepreneurial players as I tired of lapping the board.
So how did I end up studying law?
By its nature, law is adversarial, challenging and inherently competitive. The people I’ve met at law school have been some of the most confident, driven people I’ve met and I’ve often felt nervous, unsure of myself and even inadequate when I’ve been around them. On my list of the top-three most challenging questions I could be asked in an interview is the question of why I’m studying law. Friends tell me of their life-long passions for law; of past injustices that they’re now seeking to correct, but I say that I had the marks to do it and I thought that I might as well.
I have trouble reconciling the fact that I chose such a competitive degree with the fact that I’m such a non-confrontational person. I wonder how I’m going to sell myself in clerkship applications, impress people in interviews, complete the extra-curricular activities required for my resume and ultimately argue a case in court when I’m the kind of person who would rather be watching television lawyers argue than make the point myself.
I’m ok with the fact that my law school competition of choice is negotiation, rather than mooting, and I’m not that bothered that I seem to be the only person who doesn’t read law journals in my spare time.
While I wasn’t driven to study law by a burning passion for the subject, I’m happy with my decision and I know that studying law is the right thing for me. I haven’t figured out my career path yet or even decided whether I’ll practice law, but I enjoy challenging myself to learn new things and the more I learn about the law the more I like it; the more it makes sense to me. I enjoy writing, and I know my law degree will open doors for me in fields more aligned with that interest if I choose not to practice.
For me it comes down to the fact that I’m happy where I am – on the sidelines watching the game, rather than participating in it. I don’t know if this attitude will limit my options when I graduate or not but I’m glad I can see it’s more important that I’m happy with what I’m doing. And for me that feels like a win.
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