The Third Year Itch

June 21, 2012

As a bright-eyed high school graduate applying to study law I was constantly warned that I would be facing one of the biggest challenges of my life. Like many of my peers I did what the average aspiring lawyer would do – I laughed, shrugged off such claims and stood tall knowing that I was one of the highest achievers of my cohort. After all, I was unstoppable.


Pre-law school was a time in my life where I remained unbroken, yet to be scorned by law school’s disappointments and occasional failures (until last year failing a law subject seemed mythical… but it’s real folks). If you told me before law school that I was going to fail something, I was naïve and sickeningly smug enough to say “nice joke, chump.”


Here I am almost three years later. My romanticised notions of meeting my future husband in a peer mentor session have diminished, my visions of library study sessions garnished with freshly baked muffins and coffee have disappeared into thin air and I’ve come to realise that some lecturers never utter a single declarative sentence all semester. Law school can be painful: the content is often ambiguous, friendships can fade due to competitiveness and the workload is intense to say the least.


At some point in your two, three, four or five year law degree, it’s likely that you will begin to doubt your decision to undertake this field of study. I’ve hit my “three year itch.” I feel like I’ve committed to something that I now feel little passion for and I start to wonder if travel or dying my hair or working in a whiskey factory could liberate me from the dullness.


People constantly utter the same advice: “you don’t have to be a lawyer – you can do anything with a law degree,” but to me this rings about as true as saying, “you can do so much with a coat hanger” – I know that it works best when used for its intended purpose. I also see this phrase as my parent’s consolation for me doing this degree when I am very much on the fence about my future career. I am constantly thinking, “WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS LAW DEGREE AT THE END?”


But it’s true what they say about a law degree, it can take you to places unimaginable so don’t stress about seeking an alternative career pathway because you won’t put that hefty debt to use. A law degree is useful in just about every realm of employment so don’t see your passionate soul-searching as a waste of time. It takes a lot of courage and innovative thinking to seek an alternative legal career path.


While I’m sitting here considering all of my options I am consoling myself with the following:


  • There are going to be so many real life scenarios where I can put contracts knowledge to good use.

  • The lessons of organisation and time management that I’ve learnt in law school are invaluable.

  • Knowing a lot about the Constitution is cool.

  • My life has changed immeasurably because of Kirby J.

So there you have it, whether or not I choose to become a lawyer, my degree may still come in handy in my future career. 


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