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Hello all. I have a BA in psychology and finished paying off my student loans about 3 years ago. It is (next to) impossible to find a job with such a degree, so I am considering returning to school to get my law degree. If I do, it will run about 20 thousand a year for 3 years and I don't know if I can bear the thought of paying off more student loans, but part of me thinks I will be in a better position to do it then being an attorney. I am just stuck. I think this may be my last chance to become what I may have been, but it is just so overwhelming. What would you do? BTW, I always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child. I am trying to look at this from all angles. I have a son and a husband and a home to take care of and I do need to work at least part time while attending school. any advice? thank you so much...
 

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I would go for it! I also have a BA in Psychology and always knew I'd have to go to grad school, which I am. I'm currently getting my Ph.D. in Communications.

I know people are all on student loans like they're the spawn of evil, but I cannot put a price on education. It's important enough to me that I was not willing to put off college and grad school for the fear of incurring debt. It sounds like you've made up your mind about going. What would you do if you didn't?
 

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I also would go all the way if situations allow. If your only fear is debt that I don't think you should be worried. The more education the more you'll get paid in the end more than you could currently and it pays itself off. It really depends on your priorities though whether you think you'd love the job more, you need the money, want a job of higher prestige, etc. I know if I added 2 more years of college the difference would be by at least an added 50,000 upwards to making 200,000 in a very short amount of time. However money to me isn't really a huge priority to me and I would get more enjoyment out it then the latter and I'm living good now making much less than I will be when my salary triples from a degree in time. If you think it's worth it go for it but I wouldn't let the money factor stop you as it'd bound to be more than worth it in the end.
 

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I agree if you really want it you should go for it. I am in a similar situation, I went to school for El. Ed. and it's next to impossible to find a job in that field now. I was thinking of going back to school for a Masters in psychology, however, like you many of my friends are having no luck finding jobs in that field either. I really want to be a contributing member of society with a career, not just a job. I am waiting now, until I hear my dream calling me. If you are hearing yours already, I would go for it! :)
 

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I am just stuck. I think this may be my last chance to become what I may have been, but it is just so overwhelming. ...
I am a firm believer in .... It's never too late to be what you might have been!!!!! If the time is right for you then go for it!!!!

I plan on going back to school myself when I can enjoy it and not feel guilty about emmersing myself in it. Hubby would be upset about me incurring the loans but I'd fight him on it if I felt the time was right. It's not yet ... but I feel it coming.
 

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I say go for it. I only have an associates but tons of experience. The job market is just tight all over. At this point, I am more focused on the kids' college options than mine, but once they are through I will complete my BA- not for the job options but simply to be able to say I did it!
 

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i say go for it, no need sitting around thinking 'if only', or 'what if....' i went 3 years in elementary ed and then changed it to criminal justice. i was just so tired of going to school and i knew i would have several more years of it since i wanted to teach the hearing impaired, now i sit and wonder where i would be if i had stuck with it. for me its working itself out in the longrun, but all that money spent on a degree i sat on for 9 years makes me kinda of mad at myself sometimes.
 

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I'm dealing with a very similar scenario right now. I'm graduating with a B.A. in English and a minor in poli-sci in May. I plan to teach high school English, at least for a while. But I'm back-and-forth about whether I want to apply to law schools or graduate programs. On one hand, grad school costs less, so my student loan debt would be a lot less. On the other, I would make more as an attorney than as a teacher, even with an M.A., so I'd be able to afford more student loan debt. It's probably going to come down to my test scores on the LSAT and GRE. Whichever gives me the better chance at being accepted will probably determine which route I take.
 

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I'm curious, doesn't a degree in Psychology qualify you to do counseling or not. As many fouled up marriages and lives there are in this country I would think there would be lots of places for someone with that degree.
 

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Sounds like going to law school is what you want, but here is a little exercise that may help. Don't remember where I saw this, but I like it. Pretend you are at retirement and are thinking back on your career. What do you want to have accomplished? Then, take action today to make that image come true.
 

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if you feel you'll make a good lawyer and you have the passion for it, I'd say GO for it especially if you have the means to support yourself through law school.

I am very fortunate my parents shouldered my education till I finished med school although I studied overseas. When I came here and had to pass all the exams all over again and the rigorous specialty training, I felt like backing out. Its good that I have a family who believes in me and helped me reach my goals. I was able to retire early because of it and I can enjoy my family while living comfortably now. It is a lot of hard work but its all worth it, just take it one day at a time.
 

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As someone who is graduating this year from law school (and who has a B.A. in psychology btw), I say go for it. You will have a lot of of options and there is a potential to make more money out of school. I would look at the financial situation very carefully, only take out the smallest amount that you need to get by (lesson learned the hard way on my end), and work your heart out to do well in school. If you want to be a lawyer, law school is well worth the work and incurring the extra debt.
 

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I am a first-time poster, and I will apologize in advance for the length of this post. I have lurked for some time and get so much encouragement and motivation from reading this board! Anyway, I just had to finally register and reply to your post, because women going to law school when they also have/want a family is a subject I feel very passionate about.

Please, please, please think long and very hard about whether to go to law school and investigate it very carefully. I say this as a married mom of a 1 and 1/2 year old daughter who has been a practicing attorney for eight years now. Believe me, I really feel a lot of satisfaction out of having gotten my law degree and would never say that I regret having done it. That being the case, it feels somewhat hypocritcal to advise anyone not to do it themselves. However, while I don't know if I could ever tell someone "don't do it," I feel compelled to "tell it like it really is" to anyone contemplating law school, particularly other women. This is because I feel like our profession, particularly the men who still dominate it, tends to paint way too rosy a picture of life as a practicing attorney to those considering entering the field.

Life as a practicing attorney is VERY stressful. I truly cannot begin to describe the pressure and stress you will endure, and, unfortunately, you will eventually (out of necessity) just learn to live with it constantly and it will end up changing who you are at your core. You will turn into someone who needs a week away from the office to even begin to relax enough to really enjoy a vacation. Even someone currently in law school cannot begin to understand what it is really like. Law school and real life practice are completely different. Law practice is not at ALL glamourous. You will work your %*&! off, and only if you are lucky will you make good money doing it. It is a myth that all lawyers make a lot of money. I am one of the lucky ones who (finally) does make good money, but only after years of very hard work trying to "make it" in my field. You need to think about the countless hours you will spend away from your family trying to "make it" just so that you can succeed enough to pay off the school debt you will owe. I have countless friends who at this point are still not where they thought they would be financially, and I also have many, many female friends who are trapped, either by their school debt or the proverbial "golden handcuffs," and wish so badly they could quit so they could start putting their family first. While I personally have had a much easier time than many female attorneys I know balancing work and family, I still struggle with it on a daily basis.

The law is not like other fields where you go in, work your hours, and go home. You bring your work home with you all time time, literally and figuratively (as in not only working on weekends, but also developing chronic insomnia because you can't stop thinking about the jillion things that you're responsible for at work). You are completley at the mercy of the demands of your clients, the partners you work for and the courts. Please know I am not at all exaggerating. You have little to no control over your schedule until you are much farther along in your career path, and even then you are still at the mercy of the courts and the clients - just not the other partners anymore. I personally had to cancel a vacation just two weeks ago because of something that came up with work. They do not pay big money for nothing. You only make the big bucks by being extremely busy, working very hard and putting your job basically before everything else. Also, do not overestimate the money thing. Now that I make what I do, I am absolutely STUNNED how much gets taken away in taxes. Also, the lawyer lifestyle is not exactly suited to being "frugal." You can try your best (as I do), but, believe me, if you want to make the money, you will really need to focus on your job, thus, you will need a housekeeper, convenience foods - all the trappings of a "working mom" life that can cause you to feel like you really don't have much left over to show for all your hard work at the end of the month. Believe me, when you work that hard and spend that much time away from your kids, your time becomes your most precious commodity, and you will end up spending your hard-earned money to buy yourself some of it back. Then how far ahead are you really?

By the way, I live in a relatively small city in the middle of the country - so you are not hearing the perspective of a "big city" lawyer in a huge firm. While I do work in the biggest firm in my city, I certainly do not represent the extreme of the legal profession.

I am not kidding when I say that at least half the female attorneys I know are on psych meds to help them cope with their incredibly stressful existences. The stress of this profession really seems to affect women differently, in my opinion. I implore you to please talk personally to some real-life women attorneys and get their opinions before you make this choice. I am pretty confident that the feedback you get will mirror my own for the most part. You need to ask yourself why you want to go to law school and be a lawyer. I too felt like I wanted to be a lawyer "since I was a child." Believe me, that is not a good enough reason. You need to really investigate it from a factual perspective, and take the emotion of childhood dreams or the need for a sense of accomplishment as an adult out of the equation.

Well, I think I've been negative enough! Sorry, I really don't mean to be so poo-poo about your post. It's just that you've gotten a lot of cheerleading in response to your post, which is great and exactly what this board is for in terms of debt reduction, but not exactly helpful in my opinion for making this choice.

Good luck in whatever you decide!
 

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Wow. What a great reply from attorneymom, I had no idea things could be so stressful for lawyers! As for the original poster, go for your dreams but think about them realistically first. I wish you all the best in whatever you choose. :)
 

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I agree, think realistically about this dream and if it's something you can handle and afford than go for it but like AttorneyMom said, it will take up alot of your time and or course money.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide and read through AttorneyMom's post, she sure gives alot of insight on what to expect.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
WOW, what an amazing look at the world of law through the eyes of a mother and an attorney. This is exactly what I was talking about when I earlier posted that I have alot of questions, but do not personally know any lawyers to ask firsthand. I guess I will have to re-read and re-read your post again and think long and hard about all of the pro's and con's. That being said, my youngest is nine years old. I would apply for Fall 2008, so he will be close to starting junior high. I have discussed this at length with him. I have informed him of the time necessary to pursue this. I understand that he cannot fully comprehend this, but I have told him that it will take alot of time from him. I have spent 9 years focusing on raising him and I think it is about time to focus on my future a little more. It is a tough decision, but I still think that it is something I would enjoy pursuing and could be good at. Thank you all for your posts. I will continue to let you know what I decide. Thank you, especially, to attorney mom. Your insight is priceless.
 

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I agree, what attorneymom said is very insightful. It gives cara-lynne a more realistic perspective of what lies ahead.

It looks to me that your eyes are fixed on a goal and that's good. Just set your priorities straight, keep in mind that even if you pursue law school, you don't take a vacation from parenting your child. He will be in his teen years by then and be prepared for the problems with teens. Hopefully, you have a supportive DH which will make it manageable. Just keep your eye on the goal and be the best lawyer you can be. Whatever you decide on, keep us posted. Good luck!
 
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