Thursday, August 9, 2007

The college years and on to law school

My last year in school was a blur of the usual senior fun and rites of passage. I decided to go with the drumbeat of lawschool. I took the LSAT's and got accepted different places and ended up at the University of Pittsburgh, ranked in the top 20 in the country. Kind of driven to prove I could do it, and part of a corporate culture where women were still a minority, I was intense, to say the least. When I got to law school, I felt that the competitive chicanery was really bringing me down. I was in the top 10% of my class halfway through, but it just seemed like other people knew that this was it for them. I was so unsure. I had once said I wanted to help people and this did not feel like that. By the end of my first year of school, church was a distant memory, and I was burned out from school. I wanted to quit but did not know how. I took a waitress job at Chi-Chi's the now defunct Mexican restaurant. The smell of refried beans permeating my apartment was enough to send me back to lawschool.
My second year, two cool things happened. First, a bunch of us formed a group that raised money to fund public interest legal internships for those who were willing to not take a big lawfirm summer job, and I met the man who would ultimately become my husband. Hokey as it may sound, when we met and were talking, I actually heard a voice tell me "this might be the man you marry." I am known to be a skeptic, but I kid you not.
I was the first guinea pig for the internship program and at the end of my second year of school I packed up my car and headed to Allentown PA to help with an elderlaw project with Legal Services. Maybe there was meaning afterall.
I spent the summer not only helping the impoverished elderly, but also abused women, evicted tenants and pretty much any person in need. I learned how quickly life can change in an instant. And how emotionally charged a situation can be. Although I saw these things through the eyes of a 23 year old. There was still much about life I did not know.
But when I came back to law school it was clear that I was to take a real job, at least in the eyes of my peers and my parents. Even among law students the "free" lawyers are seen as second class. Which is too bad because they tend to be better because they have less to work with.
I had also learned that while I could get a great job in the State Department with a pay incentive for knowing Russian, I could be assigned anywhere and that could be Ethiopia where my language would be worthless and my coworkers would hate me because I made more. Besides, by now I suspected I might be getting engaged to my husband who was from a different part of the state and who had already graduated. I took a position with a judge in a county near him for a year to see what might come next.

1 comment:

Diane said...

this is so cool! I love the internship program and how you met your husband!