I'm cleaning out a folder where I keep drafts of posts and found this one, which I appear to have written in July 2006, right after graduation. Seemed like one of those interesting breadcrumbs, so I thought I'd post it now.
One of the law student bloggers I read recently posted that she’s decided to postpone applying to clerkships for a couple of years. I tip my proverbial hat to her decision. It takes a lot of personal fortitude to resist the tides of “Do this! Do that! Do it now!” that sweep through law classes (ex: journals, OCI, clerkships) but I increasingly think that if you can resist the ambient pressure to do these things before you’re sure you’re ready, and instead wait until you are, it will pay off in the long run.
For instance, I conceded to the pressure and applied to clerkships last year. And nothing came of it. Instead I feel like a lot of time was lost, swallowing up effort that could better have been applied to something else – something else that would give me something to show for it at the end. It’s not that a clerkship wouldn’t be right for me, it’s that applying for one right then was not. I had no way of knowing how I would feel a year from then. I guessed that I wouldn’t want to be geographically flexible and so only applied in a very narrow geographic area. Turns out, a year later, I would have been a lot more flexible after all. But how was I to know? By doing this when I was “supposed” to do this, rather than when it was right for me to do this led to necessarily mediocre results.
It’s more than just clerkship applications that were problematic like this. When I think about my donut-losing dismay a lot of it seems to trace back to the sense of having wasted a lot of time pursuing things I wasn’t ready to pursue. Instead all that time and effort simply evaporated, and endeavors I would have liked to complete – and otherwise could have completed had I been able to focus on them – went undone.
Still, there were times when I was able to march to my own drummer. I made the conscious decision, for instance, not to look for a job while I was in school. I was sick and tired of wasting so much time and angst looking for my 1L job, my 2L job… I wanted to jealously guard my 3L year so that I could get everything out of it I could, and also give myself enough time to figure out what I wanted to do before trying to find one.
I’m sure, in the cool, calm, collected rational recesses of my brain, that this was a good strategy and will up the odds of getting a good fit. Of course, it is a little scary not to have the next thing lined up. I do daydream about paychecks with increasing frequency… But the thing to remember is that I have bigger dreams than just that, and if I intend to achieve them I have to take a deep breath and give myself the room I need to do it.