Ever since my second year of college, I’ve been planning around what to do after I graduate. There are several options I could take, none of them too appealing to me. I am enrolled in a course that requires creative thinking and consumer deception (both of which do not at all interest me), in a family that sells motorcycles (which I absolutely detest), and the only path I see ahead of me is the mundane desk job, and I always was too flighty for those sorts of things. It’s not like would succeed in that field, anyway; I’m not competitive enough, and my (political) sentiments are probably “too komunista” to attract the favor of multinationals.
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. A professor. Doesn’t matter who I teach, really, as long as they are above the age of sixteen. I’ve always wanted to teach something substantial enough but also something I can easily grasp, like geometry. Or history. Or society. Sociology (which I am absolutely interested in). Media. Computer (in high-school, anyway; I’d like to think I am proficient enough to teach basic HTML, word processing, and Photoshop). The caveat of such a career, though, is that it is not deemed honorable enough to receive reward in the form of big paychecks. In other words, my parents will hate me for it.
Because I do not have much in the way of choices, I have decided that perhaps a career in law would be suitable to appease both sides. Ah, yes, finally–a profession reasonable enough (decent enough) that my parents would not object my pursuing it. They would certainly see it as a bigger investment than, say, a Master’s in Sociology (which I really want, goddamn it), and it seems fun and challenging enough for me to not get tired of it so easily.
There are the detractors, of course. I’ve read all the articles detailing the low demand for lawyers and the high yield of law school. Think I’ve read all pessimistic articles imaginable: the job losses, unemployment rates, low-as-fuck starting salaries, doomed fates for those not belonging to T14 law schools… the future seemed bleak. In the United States.
I live in the Philippines, though, I convince myself; I live in a country where I am (or at least, I’d like to believe that I am) capable enough to vie for a slot in the country’s top 10 law schools (hint: there are really only three). And besides, I’d tell myself, the field I’m interested in isn’t so highly in-demand. I think.
(For those wondering–and there are probably none, because no one reads this, anyway–it’s Intellectual Property. Either that, or International Law.)
I was equipped. I was ready for the consequences; I knew the prospects, going in. I didn’t decide on this because I watched too much Law and Order or Suits or those procedural shows where courtroom litigation and co-worker drama seems to be the only thing law revolves around (and maybe nice clothes). I’m diving in near-cynical. Surprisingly, the thought of too much paperwork does not seem as daunting as it did when my only option was corporate (where the paperwork was precisely the source of my distaste). And yet this “realism” that I convinced myself I had was shattered. All it took were a few choice words, all of them scathing, (probably intentionally) inflammatory, accusatory, and (the worst part?) true. Very goddamn true.
You know how it feels like when you’re doused with ice and water and you’re left freezing? Yeah, that’s how I feel at the moment.
(Well, to be honest, having that happen right now would feel pretty good in this weather, but seriously, that’s bound to make you blink and wonder why–which is why I used that metaphor in the first place.)
I feel like I was slapped in the face. Double-bitchslapped (yeah, okay, that’s probably a better analogy). Because yeah–there seems to be some sort of overglorification of lawyers in this culture, in Filipino culture. Because there is a point to all this sama ng loob (I’ve no other words to explain it) towards lawyers. There are even comments on there (and these, I agree with the most) that lament the lack of attention to the sciences, technology, engineering, innovation-related fields the way there is a shit-ton in law. And now I’m stuck, and I’m wondering if I made the right decision, the right plans for myself, because–
–because oh my god, what is a lawyer’s use in society? What does a lawyer contribute, how is a lawyer constructive? From what I understand (and I claim to understand very little), law is reactionary. It does not create. It interprets, it exists. If I wanted to create, wanted a tangible “I created something,” wanted to be constructive, I would plan a political career, plan to be in legislation. And yet lawyers who decide to become politicians are the precise kinds of lawyers most Filipinos hate. Politicians who have had a law degree, use it to their advantage, wield the exact “naked power” that the article mentions at the very end.
One thing that had made me hesitant about law in the first place is that it seems like a jerkoff for individuals already residing in the upper strata of society. I’m already expecting to encounter all sorts of douchebag assholes in business attire, in a toxic environment of competition. At least, that’s how it is from the outside looking in. I always look in. I walk past that brick building almost every day.
I could turn back, but the investment I’ve already started will go to waste. I’ve purchased a bunch of LSAT review books for the express purpose of ensuring I get in school. Any school. All schools I apply for. Moreover, I’ve already poured some hours into revising for that test, made my schedule such that it fits the curriculum that these institutions demand of undergraduates, already told my parents. I don’t know if I can let them down.
More importantly, I have no other options.
I don’t know how I convinced myself that law was the best option until I’ve arrived at this: it remains my only option. Time is ticking, and I hope that by this time next year, already having graduated, I will find (at least) some direction in my life. Heaven knows I need it.
(On a final note, it strikes me as odd that my most recent pop culture/fandom infatuation is named the opposite of my life right now. I’ve certainly no direction, let alone one.)