So, I quit law school yesterday. Actually, I took a leave of absence, which gives me the option of coming back in Spring 09, but I likely won’t go back.

What Happened

First semester, I struggled to keep a balance between school and the rest of my life. But, the system kept crashing that in. What killed most of my finely-tuned schedule was that damned Legal Writing class (lots and lots of assignments, very little reward), but I also got sick over my Fall Break and then started rebelling against the workload, setting me several days (up to a week and a half in one class) behind in the readings and making it tough to catch up. I eventually did catch up and I passed all of my finals, but by the end of the process – really throughout the whole process – I was nothing short of angry all the time.

Then Winter Break started and I went back to work to make some money. I was still continuously angry through January 1st, taking it out on Brent the whole time, when finally I started to detox. I began to feel more like the person I was before I started school. I felt positive and happy. I had energy. I looked forward to each day without the sense of impending doom. It felt good.

Critical Mass

Then Friday, January 11, I started to get the e-mails. Professor #1 – pick up the Property packet from the copy center and read it for Wednesday’s class. Professor #2 – pick up the text from the copy center and read pages 1-22 for Wednesday’s class. Professor #3 – pick up the text from the copy center and read chapters 1 & 2. Professor #4 – read pages 3-69 in the text for Thursday. Mind you, not all of these came on Friday (which would have theoretically given me plenty of time), but even if they did, I was still at work and the copy center wasn’t open over the weekend – forcing me to take a day off from work to go pick this stuff up and start reading it. I chose that day to be Tuesday to give them the latest possible time to add more to my To Do list so that I only had to make one trip to Albuquerque. All the while, Professor #5 was strangely silent.

Then I got an email from a fellow classmate (sent at 4:30 PM, Tuesday, read at 6:00 AM, Wednesday) telling me that Prof. #5 had an assignment posted on a bulletin board upstairs (pick up the text from the copy center and read pgs 1-18 for Wednesday morning). Now, (A) I was in the copy center at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, no text for his class was found (I later found out that he requested the books to be kept behind a desk and as luck would have it, the copy center was devoid of people to tell me this), and (B) even if I had the book, there was absolutely no time to read the stuff before class. So I wrote to Prof. #5, apologizing for my lack of preparation, and requesting that he not call on me during class. Surprise! He called on me. A few times.

Now, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he didn’t read the e-mail before walking into the classroom. But the result was the same as if he had done it on purpose. I was already anxious and pissed off when I showed up on campus, and that was just the last straw. I felt like every time I walked into a classroom I was preparing for battle – defenses up, ready for the inevitable attack. The process wasn’t fun or rewarding, and my mind was just closing off. Then when I started looking through the syllabuses of the other classes, I decided there wasn’t anything in it that I gave a crap about and I no longer wanted to do this. Enough really was enough.

The Aftermath

Even though I’m sure this is the right decision, I’m feeling like a big, fat Quitter. I haven’t slept well in a few days, either, which doesn’t help. But, as I tell people my tale, I’m feeling a bit better. I wish I was one of those people who loved law school because I know that the degree would help me do what I set out to do – policy analysis, lobbying, etc. The cost/benefit is completely upside-down, though, and the fact is that law school was 3rd on my priorities list (after my health and Brent), but I was treating it as if it was my only priority (in fact, the system is designed for you to treat it as your only priority), ignoring the really important stuff. I definitely don’t want to be that person.