I’ve decided to periodically invite guest authors to share their stories of humility, progress, and self-awareness via this blog. The first such author is my good friend, Candice. Like me, she is burdened with the excessive debt from law school and still trying to find out what she wants “to do with her life.” If you would like to share your story–be it introspective, self-deprecating, or just a statement of facts–please leave a comment and it can be arranged.
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Two years ago I graduated from law school. Five years ago I graduated from college with a Bachelors degree in political science. Eight years ago I graduated from high school, with seemingly an entire world of possibilities at my fingertips.
Sometimes I am jealous of High School Candice. That girl had everything: no debt, endless potential, and no cellulite. I wanted to be a writer, a filmmaker, a teacher, a politician. I wanted to be a lot of different things, but oddly “lawyer” was not one of them. Despite that, three years after finishing high school I found myself on a one-way trip to Lawyerville, Population: Too Many for the Profession to Sustain.
Now, two years out of formal education, I often find myself thinking of what could have been. I daydream about a life where, instead of following her now ex-boyfriend to some no-name state school, High School Candice shot for the stars and applied for programs at Berkeley or NYU or at the very least went to her first choice school – the University of Kansas. I look at writing programs at the University of Iowa and international relations programs at Georgetown and consider drop kicking that Godsmack-loving, parents-loathing teeny-bopper moron in the face. Visions of PhD programs and the London School of Economics dance around my head until I’ve almost convinced myself that it’s not too late to take the GRE and that racking up another $100k in student loan debt is a wise investment.
But, what if High School Candice had gone to Northwestern or Berkeley? At one of those schools I probably would not have graduated from college in three years. I may have not gone to law school, and then would have not met Adrienne, and then would have not met my boyfriend Adam, and then and then and then… I would not be the person I am today. Perhaps I’d be stuck in a job and city and relationship I hated, with an Ivy League chip on my shoulder and an even bigger elitist complex.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” trap of life. It’s easy to blame current situations or frustrations or struggles on decisions made in the past, but I also have to remember that I have those past choices to thank for the opportunities to make my present ones. Adult Candice has a lot to thank High School Candice for – more than just not getting pregnant and staying away from Methanphetimines. Eight years is a long journey in a life that’s only twenty-six years old. I’d be a much different person today if I’d spent these last eight years in any other way than I actually did. Sure, I could have an Ivy League education, but I also could have a kid – or fake teeth. Plus, it’s never too late to start working on that PhD.
You can read Candice’s blog here.