Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Ideal Career Services Visit

Hi Legally Numb, yes I remember that you are interested in X law (but even if I didn't, I keep files on students that are assigned to me and take notes).

You have a question about networking? Well, you need to build a set of contacts. And since you are from out of town, let me get in touch with some alumni that might be willing to speak with you (I keep a list of willing alumni right here with their specialties and past jobs, including summer clerkships right here). Also, let's talk about the kinds of things that may be important to know before meeting with these folks.

You want to know what your best strategy is now that you know your grades are in the toilet? I have a few suggestions. The first is to talk to these small to mid-size firms that are aligned with your interests. They often either hire students part time or take them on as volunteers during the school year. We have had a lot of success placing students with these and other firms based on our continual contacts.

You are still confused about resumes and cover letters? Let's go through them to see what the best approach would be. And I don't think I am the best person to give you advice on this, seeing as I wouldn't know a gene from a hole in the ground. I keep a few names of people willing to analyze resumes and cover letters for people in particular subfields that do not lend themselves to the same "rules" as corporate or criminal law practice.

As for strategies, let's make a calendar. On this calendar, you will do so-and-so by such-and-such time and I will contact/email/call/look over. Then we will meet in one month to decide where to go from there.

Is this what most career services offices do??? Absolutely not. They plan useless get-togethers and their lives are made easier by the fact that the top 10-25% are going to do OCI and everyone else will likely leave them alone. The rest will flounder, attempting to piece things together themselves.

For 4 visists, I have been
(1) told to network
(2) never given alumni contacts
(3) have received very little feedback for resumes and absolutely none for cover letters

I should check to see if the ABA has a complaint department about this.

What I have actually done:
1. Contacted a few people to set up lunch/coffee meetings
2. Spoken with the Dean of Students about the problems I am having
3. Read 2-3 career books that were obviously written for people in at least the top 50
4. Read "Guerilla Tactics" which, though somewhat helpful, is written in a nauseatingly cute way. Much of the book could have been edited down.

Next steps:
1. I have gotten a few interviews
2. So, I will be researching the hell out of those firms
3. Which will lead to me creating good questions
4. And then, trying to put my grades in a different light while really pushing my strengths.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Over the next year...

I have decided that I am not letting grades beat me. If this is the worst thing that ever happens to me, I am one lucky son-of-a-bitch.

Why did I come to law school?
I came here to combine science with something else interesting
I wanted to move into a career that was a bit more stable with fewer hours

There were other reasons.

I started this blog to help me sort things out and that is exactly what it will do. Over the next year, I am going to get to know people in the field I am interested, work for professors, work to increase my grades, and try to find a part-time job in a law office during the year.

This blog is going to help me and, just maybe, when someone searches the web for bad grades and law school, it might help them too. Or not.

Thanks to all those out there that helped me put this in perspective.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Break downs and self pity

Wow, I can't make it through even one day without crying...a lot. I feel simply devastated. What does one do when confronted with their own horrible performance? How do you bounce back when you think you did well, but it turns out you were completely wrong? How do you ever trust your judgment again?

I break down every day. I find it hard to get through a day. I know this is depression, I know it is starting to get black and dark. I know that I have to find my way out before it gets really bad. But right now, all I can think is that I am stupid, stupid, stupid. And worthless, a waste of space.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Have I made a terrible mistake? So much for grades not defining me.

Spring semester grades are out. Not quite as bad as fall, but not really much of an improvement. I am still in the bottom 25% of the class.

So, should I quit and get a job in a laboratory? Or tough it out and hope for the best? I want to talk to career services about this but, in the 3-4 visits I have made, the only advice I have been given is "network." Literally, the only advice. Without names of alumni that are in the same area of law. So I have no idea if I should continue.

Why is there little information about what to do when you are at the bottom of the class? And does this mean that I am dumb? I sure do feel rather stupid. I mean over the course of one year, I could not figure out the key to taking an exam. I am feeling utterly humiliated, stupid, and ashamed. I am not very sure I want to keep going if by the end by whole identity will be destroyed.

Well, I have 3 months to think about it and try to find another job.