Quarter-Life Crisis

Quarter-Life Crisis

Most people are familiar with the term “midlife crisis,” which we associate with fathers making unusually large and impulsive buys, or moms finding new, young boyfriends. What people may not be as familiar with is the quarter-life crisis, where people in their twenties are faced with choosing the life they want to lead both personally and professionally.

 

This summer while interning in Washington, D.C. I gained an immense amount of information. I had the opportunity to virtually work a full time job in the field I thought I wanted to pursue. And yes, I use the past tense, “thought,” intentionally. Even though before this summer I knew that lawyers had a great deal that they work on a weekly basis, I did not fully comprehend the life-consuming amount of hours that were required. I also learned more about law school and the financial gamble that it can be for some. So observing people at all stages of the field I wanted to go in, I am now faced with the personal question of whether or not I believe this path is right for me.

 

One assignment that the Washington Center requires of their interns is that we all must conduct an informational interview with someone in our field. I chose to interview the general counsel of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Robert Faulk. Faulk has a very diverse past in law. He attended Princeton for his Undergraduate Degree and Yale for Law School. After law school he was hired by a large firm in D.C. where he eventually was promoted to partner. When I asked him how he balanced his personal and professional life so that his job didn’t consume his entire life, he told me at one point he decided to work part-time. I had never heard of that before. Then he further explained that that meant 50 hours a week, so that he could regain his weekends. In most other professions 50 hours is not part-time. This really surprised me. I knew that being a lawyer required commitment and long hours in the office, but I did not fully comprehend that it meant my entire life could be consumed by work if I chose to go to work at a large firm. This was the story that I heard over and over again by attorneys working at such firms in the D.C. area.

 

One might think that the solution would be to choose a smaller firm to work at. The problem is that smaller firms do not pay as well as larger firms do. If I attended one of my top picks for law school, such as Georgetown Law Center, I would need a very well-paying job so that I could afford to repay my student loans. It is a bit of a sick cycle, in my opinion. Because the job market for attorneys has yet to fully recover, if you want to get a job you need to go to a really good law school. If you go to a good law school, then you need to work at a big firm so that you can repay your loans. And if you work at a big firm then, you may as well kiss a personal life good bye. I know myself well enough to know that because I am so highly driven, I would be the one working insane amounts of hours. So now I decide if that is what I truly want to do or not.

 

At the age of 20 years old, I stand at the precipice of life and must tackle some big decisions. Do I want to go to law school? Do I even want to be a lawyer? While interning this summer, I found myself at some points about to fall asleep while doing legal research at my internship site, which is much of what I would be doing as a law student and even associate attorney at large firms. Towards the latter end of my internship, I began to help the office manager at Marzulla Law make renovations to the firm’s website and social media pages. Additionally, I assisted her in creating professional PowerPoints and a uniformed email signature for all Marzulla Law interns and employees. I really enjoyed working on these tasks. So now I have begun to consider if possibly business management or administration is something I would be interested in doing. I still plan to take my LSAT and apply to law schools and see where I get in, but I may also take my GRE and apply to various MBA programs. Although I may be facing a bit of a quarter-life crisis, I know that whatever field or profession I choose, this summer has better equipped me to make an informed decision.

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

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