If I can write anything for this blog that may actually be helpful to at least some readers possibly out there, it might as well be this: failing out of law school, which I’ve done, and had done magnificently at that roughly about two years ago. If you’ve not failed out of law school, but have failed out of some other doctorate course of study then perhaps you’ll find this post useful all the same; but if you’re merely enrolled to begin study in law school, or in some other doctorate course of study, and hope this post might be useful as some kind of what-not-to-do guide, it’s my sincere hope this hope you hold proves useless.
So, where to begin, I guess I might as well begin with a brief introduction of my own relevant background—where I was and what I’d felt before my failed enrollment began. Well, I’ll settle to say that I was highly confident, I was admitted to enroll at more than a few different law schools, and the school that which I ultimately did enroll had welcomed me with a generous scholarship, the highest merit-based scholarship the school offers, in fact, and my LSAT score was above the mean for my admitted class, and so, in short, I’d felt I was the shit of the shit, or cream of the crop if you will, and although I knew full well that my path in law school would be one that’s more than rigorous, I had zero doubts it would end successfully.
To spare you all the details and reasons for my profound struggle in law school, because I honestly don’t believe it’d be worth your knowing, I’ll skip over and land with just my raw results: first semester zero-point-zero and ranked dead last in the entire admitted class, second semester not much better and still dead last in the class. I failed out, many thousands of dollars down the drain forever, and all despite even my stupid scholarship.
So yeah, that sucked huge and not at all just because the money that was lost. But to spare you those specific details, I’ll allow your imagination to fill in the void because I’m sure It’d be just as good as the truth. There was a lot at stake (I’m taking that imagination and filling voids thing back), it was my first platform as a professional adult; study at the doctorate level is not exactly undergrad, of course, students in these programs study as the professionals they intend to become, and I’d failed at this miserably; just as painful, the culmination of my studies happened to coincide (coincide at best) with the culmination of the most mature (mature at best) and committed relationship of my life up to that point, a fellow student with whom I’d lived and shared an apartment. So, yeah, obviously, reasons from living, there was much reason for stress and personal pains from failing out of law school.
If there was one thing however that somehow had managed to survive and endure those pains unscathed, it’s my inexplicably durable ego—this is not a bad thing I don’t believe. I never lost faith in myself, or in my ability to study the law. I was ashamed of myself, yes, tremendously ashamed, but not once did I believe not for one moment that I was just not cut out for it. Unfortunately for my law school, though, they hold a firm policy with failed students that allow them to petition for readmission and do so immediately. I milked this particular opportunity dry, and when all the milk was gone I’d butchered the cow, burned down the farm, and replanted new crops, I dragged it out as long as I could and at the sincere astonishment of those who’d witnessed it and, ultimately still denied my petition all the same.
So, finally it had ended, and there I was, shit stuck in a shit place in a good life. I returned home to my old town and my old friends. It wasn’t so bad, but if I’m accurate in my hindsight though I was probably depressed when the old scene had re-started; I wouldn’t have admitted this then or even believed it when it was, but when it was, I probably was depressed. I kept to myself as often as I could, and pretty much entirely because I was just so ashamed of myself, I wanted above anything just not to have to admit to those who knew me about what had actually happened. I told all my friends that I was just taking time off, and made up some details to pad my story; I’m a good liar but that’s a really tough lie to pass, and no one really believed me but no one ever really called me out on it either, except for a couple very close friends that is, they’d given me hell to try and drag it out of me. But I’m resilient though and never came clean. Until they gave up that is, then I came clean, one night out of the blue, drinking on a dock with my very close friend, I finally confessed. This was like more than a year after the fact, and I confessed only to him, and since him I’ve told really no one else, at least no one that matters that is, casual friends / eventual strangers I’ve also mentioned this to, at least to a couple people of that type; and my family, of course, they’ve all known since the start but that’s a much different story.
And so, now, maybe I’m rambling, but perhaps it’s worth your while, it’s certainly worth mine, but I’ll try to find some center with this… give me a moment…
So, first things first, once you’ve failed out and you are officially out and gone, you then of course must figure out what in the fuck it is that you are going to do. Many people in this situation I feel naturally gravitate towards some path to getting back to exactly the place from where they have been kicked, and at first, my own personal path was exactly this. After the smoke had cleared from my flamboyant and long drawn out petition for readmission to my law school, the powers as they’d been had told me that I could re-petition after a waiting period of at least one full academic year, and so, that was my plan. During that between time though, I would of course need to fulfill some activity, some accomplishment, at least something just significant and relevant to my plans for an impending re-petition; an ideal form of such fulfillment might be to serve an internship in a law firm, or maybe pad my resume with a masters or something if this could even be doable with my situation as it then was, but whatever I’d do I’d have to do something, and so I did, I got a job at a pet store.
It was only supposed to be a temporary job, I don’t add this detail up there just to be facetious, I needed money, and while I had worked there I also looked for internships, I didn’t look too hard but I looked. The truth was, I really didn’t want to return back to my old law school, I just unfortunately had believed and rightfully so at this that my old school was my only option if I was to ever actually return to law school. I’d failed out from there, and so why would anyone else take a gamble on me as a student. I was kind of locked-in. I began to think about my strong suits, and what I possibly could do to make them stronger, to be strong enough that I could strike real interest from an other law school either as good or better that would actually take a chance on me. And unfortunately, at least academically, under my circumstances as they were, my thoughts had become somewhat misguided and as what I’d believed, my most viable option for this would be to slave away again for the LSAT, to inch myself point-by-point until I’d raise my score enough that it would then be significant, or so at least so I’d thought, and even if then, if say that I’d have done this, that I’d have accomplished whatever score it was that I desired, I’d be left still with far much more to do, I’d need to convince whatever schools that I could maintain myself as a student; my LSAT was already decent as it was, and for my old school it was more than decent, but had meant absolutely nothing there after I’d ranked last in my class, so in short, this would not be easy, it’d be very fucking hard. If I truly cared enough, if maybe I was dedicated enough, if maybe, dare I say have what it takes, I could certainly at least get back into my old law school, at least, this is what I believe, that is, provided that I’d jump through the necessary hoops to do so that is. I feel that they’d give me a second shot, they do give those out some times, as to whether or not I’d capitalize on a second shot is of course a different story, and if you ask me, I’d say that I would be able to capitalize, but that’s just my own opinion though and of my own self at that and I’m a law school fail out.
But back to that pet store though, yeah, I really did not mean to be facetious, it was a great experience, and every job I’ve held has been to me an important experience, you learn much through working, no matter what it is that you’re working, but this job at a pet store though in particular, has proved more so as that it had reawaken a strong passion that I hold and have held, although, by held it I mean, albeit latently I’d held it in the some years prior to the job but, I’ve always had it all the same. This was not some lame, big corporate, pink plazas dime-a-dozen, run-of-the-mill place like PetSmart or something of its likes that I’d worked at, not at all, and it wasn’t some cute, modest little mom-and-pop’s shop either, this was a truly unique store, a specialty store, one that deals in the trade and private breading of highly exotic reptiles; and a pretty large-scale operation, as well, that does some really serious shit with some really serious animals. And I had a great privilege to work with these animals hands-on, and to work and to travel in their sake, and had met countless great new people as I’d done this and immersed myself deeper and deeper within the truly amazing subculture which is that of herpetology though, more so herpetoculture. Passion is a funny thing. If a passion is true, you don’t let it die, at least, I mean, I don’t let them die, I don’t know what other people fucking do. But all the while that I’d worked at this pet store, when I was still gunning to get back into law school, I incorporated this passion into my own plans. I became very interested in environmental law, because the environment is extremely important to me. However, I will admit though that I’m not as environmentally responsible as perhaps I should be, but do let me tell you I can preach a damn good sermon on it and mean every word. So I’d started thinking about volunteering, to get myself involved with organizations that care, and I wanted to do this because I wanted to do this, not because a law school admissions board would appreciate this if I’d do this, though I did also realize of course that they would, and so such a plan suddenly seemed pretty stellar and quite savvy on my part.
But as of yet, I’ve quit the pet store, and although I do still care about wildlife and the environment, as far as volunteering well, I’ve not done this yet, yeah, go me, but hey, life is a long time, and I do plan on doing it some day and I’m sure that I will—volunteer for such an organization, that is, not law school I meant, but law school could possibly one day happen for me again, I don’t discount this as a possibility, who the fuck knows, as of course life is a long time.
One more final piece of stuff though I must say on this before I’m done here… When you hit rock bottom, no matter what that rock bottom might be, or however you got there, if it’s rock bottom, and it’s rock bottom because it’s what you identify in your life as a true rock bottom, something beautiful happens from it, and I choose that word carefully. You’re forced to think differently, you must think differently, it’s not an option, it’s not a Mac advertisement, it happens and it’s different. It’s a process. And it’s beautiful.