Harsh Reality

As soon as you begin school, the famous question that gets asked is,

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I remember hearing this question a thousand times throughout my childhood. Teachers and parents would ask, and we were all expected to somehow know what we wanted to spend the rest of our lives doing at such a tender age. As a kid, big decisions like that are fleeting. One day I would want to be a doctor, another day I would want to be a lawyer, some days I felt like I wanted to be a psychologist, and once I even wanted to be the first female president of the United States. You can say I was pretty ambitious!

I always had a knack for writing but felt like my occupational dream needed to be more grandeur. I had an innate ability to connect with others and was empathetic to the core, which lead me to the decision to pursue law. Initially, I wanted to be an immigration lawyer because my grandparents and relatives lived overseas and I felt the pain and struggles of so many other children, who at such a young age like myself, had to grow up living worlds away from the people who meant the most to them.

In high school, college, and university, I kept my major as English but had the goal of taking the LSAT after graduation and attending law school. I remember my parents paying ridiculous amounts of money for those LSAT courses, in hopes that I would fulfill my dream and be a successful member of society. After taking a few of the full-length practice tests in my LSAT class, I knew I was in for trouble when I saw there were logical reasoning sections, which, in other words, meant math and logic games, also known as the dreaded word problems we all hated in school. Math was the only subject that I really ever struggled with my entire educational life. I always ended up excelling and receiving A’s but mostly because my dad had a degree in math and was a genius. Back home, he learned algebra ridiculously early in elementary school.

I struggled with the logic games like crazy. I surrounded myself with a wealth of resources, such as the Logic Games Bible, but no matter how hard I studied, my mind simply couldn’t wrap around and grasp the fundamental concepts of the logic games. The first time I took the LSAT, my score wasn’t nearly high enough to get into the schools I had my heart set on. The second time, my score had improved but was still getting me no closer to the schools I wanted to get accepted to. Despite that, I still held on to a tiny shred of hope. I went to the primary school I had my eyes on and met with the Dean of Admissions. I told him about my interest in the school but admitted that my score was lower than the average student’s. I still remember how unsympathetic he was. Sometimes, you hear remarkable stories about how someone in a position of power took a huge leap of faith because they saw potential in that individual but that didn’t happen here. Stories like that are so foreign to me because I feel like I have worked tooth and nail for every accomplishment I’ve achieved in my life. I was never thrown any miracles. My successes in life have been strung together with good old-fashioned hard work and perseverance.

The Dean simply looked at me and said in a very straight-forward manner that I basically didn’t have a chance. And, that was that. My childhood dream was crushed, my parents’ money was wasted, my efforts and their efforts were all fruitless. And, for what? Because I couldn’t pass the math section of the LSAT to get into the school I wanted? It seemed absurd. I was a smart student but according to law school’s standards, apparently not smart enough. I could have persevered, not given up on my dream, went to some out of state law school that would accept my score (and, there were a few that would) but I wasn’t willing to put any more sweat, blood, and tears into this than I already had, which lead me to believe that I never truly wanted to be a lawyer bad enough or else I wouldn’t have given up my so-called, “dream” without a fight.

It took years to come to this last conclusion and be at peace with my decision to not pursue law school. For years, I felt the guilt of failing — a feeling that really had been very unfamiliar to me up until that point. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, as cliche as that sounds. Now, although I am not a lawyer, I work at one of the top companies in America and have a work-home life balance, which is so important. I think to myself that God had something better in mind for me, that it wasn’t written in the stars for me to be a lawyer because I may have spent even more of an investment into the field, only to end up hating it. My own LSAT teacher became a lawyer, passing the LSAT with a nearly perfect score, but ended up retiring after a few years and starting a music band. When I found that out, it lessened the sting. Let’s not forget about John Grisham who quit his law profession to be a writer.

There are three points to this story:

  • Point #1: Life doesn’t always go as planned. You may have one plan for your life but God may have an entirely different one in mind for you.
  • Point #2: Life isn’t fair, but as the famous quote says, it’s still good.
  • Point #3: Everything happens for a reason.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems of all-time by an unknown confederate soldier. I hope it resonates with you as much as it has (and still does) for me.


4 thoughts on “Harsh Reality

  1. Wow! I am amazed when I can learn something new about you. What a path you went down, and you really did try your very hardest to reach your dream. Like you said sometimes we are meant for a different path, and I think we can still ask each other every day, “what do we want to be when we grow up?”

    • I know, it’s pretty rare to stumble across something we don’t already know about one another. I’m content today knowing I traveled down a path that I didn’t initially intend on. Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together. I still ask myself often what I want to be when I grow up! I think a part of me will always be a kid at heart with endless dreams and visions of a limitless sky.

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