Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Maggie Stiefvater helped me through a career crisis and didn't even know it!

Now fair warning this is going to be a long post. I don't often post things about my life, I like to stick to bookish things but this is something I wrote and wanted to share. I've also started thinking about my blog and I put a lot of work in to it behind the scenes but I feel like a lot of my followers don't really know me so here is the first step in getting to know Emily.

My sister Bethany and Me (I'm on the right)
I hope that at minimum you know I am in Law School. I just started my third year and that means in the next year I will take the bar and become a lawyer. What you might not know is that I have been dealing with a crisis of profession. I went to Law School right after Undergrad because if I didn’t go straight away I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. The way my student loans are I never would have been able to pay them without consolidating and I can only consolidate once thus turning all my yearly loans in to one big loan. Well, I couldn’t afford to pay 4 small loans so I would have had to consolidate right out of undergrad and then I never would have been able to pay 3 medium sized loans in addition at the end of law school so I was put in a weird position. Either choose to go to law school at 21 or never go at all. I don’t like being told what to do and I wouldn’t want to miss the chance altogether so I went to Law School.

This is USD Law School on a good day (there are few good days)
The problem I’m realizing now is that I went to law school for absolutely no reason. I’m not passionate about being a lawyer or what lawyers represent. To be completely honest I went to please my parents. And they are pleased with me. They have never been happier or treated me better then they have since I began Law  School. My Mom brags about me every chance she gets, and my Dad talks about me at work. It wasn’t like they were never happy with me before but I can finally tell that I have done something to make them truly proud of me. 

So that brings me to my crisis. I HATE Law School and not in that abstract way that makes you dislike things that are challenging but in the cringe when I wake up in the morning, don’t care what classes I’m going to pick next term because I will not like them anyway kind of way. I’m completely apathetic toward Law  School, I just don’t care about it and the reason I don’t care is because it was never what I wanted to do in the first place. Had my student loans not been forcing me to make a decision taking a couple years off from school would have been good for me! I would have loved to graduate college, evaluate my life, and actually see if Grad school was for me or not. At 21, when I was sending out applications, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my ENTIRE life! And now I’m stuck. I’m going to have to finish law school, become a lawyer, and live out the rest of my days doing something I don't like to pay for graduate school I didn’t really want to go to.

This is the part where Maggie Stiefvater comes in, in case you were wondering if I was ever going to get to the point or if I just titled this post something interesting instead of ‘crappy law school rant’. I read Maggie’s blog all the time, I still contend that the woman could write a post about paint drying and I would love it and rave about the character development of the paint as it went from wet to dry, seriously. For those of you who don’t read Maggie's blog she rally races (more on that here)! This is something I have always wanted to do! One of my first passions was cars. In High School I obsessively followed the WRC (World Rally Championship) and my parents even bought me the car of my dreams a Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Ralley, which further fed my obsession. In an earlier post as part of the Dear Teen Me Blog Tour I shared a letter my 16 year old self wrote to me at 21 and as you can see I’m not making this stuff up. It basically said love your family, love your car, better make sure to have a Ferrari! I obviously had my priorities straight.

So after reading Maggie’s post a little seed was planted in my head. Maggie is a fiction writer right? So what is she doing racing cars?! I started realizing that maybe I could be a lawyer but that didn’t have to be my entire life. I could be a lawyer and a:

  • Rally racer
  • Writer
  • Publishing intern (or at least I could get a job in the legal department maybe?)
  • Book Blogger
  • Graffiti Artist (I could take over for Banksy if he wants to retire)
  • Bakery Owner
  • Clothing Designer (Just BE clothing line of course, we would also do perfume)
  • Prison Warden
  • Regular Artist (In case Banksy doesn’t want to retire)
  • World Traveler
  • A DJ (Everyone’s a DJ!)
Okay, some of those jobs are a little less realistic then others but at one point in my life they are all careers I have considered. I’m actually totally serious about opening that bakery the only thing stopping me is the early mornings (and the bank doesn’t want to loan me more money =P).

In essence Maggie got me thinking (and listening to music you probably won’t like) that my profession doesn’t have to be my life. It only has to be a piece of the person I am. I can do other things! After feeling trapped in a life I made for myself but didn’t want it felt so liberating to know that I can be a lawyer and do something else; that this decision to go to school had not changed my life so completely that I would never be able to do anything I liked ever again. At 24 I’m still young enough to have a life, make dumb decisions, and I’m not stuck!

So I want to thank Maggie, without ever knowing she was doing anything she helped me realize I can still have a life. That I can be 2 or 3 or 10 different professions if I want! This year I’m happily going to finish Law School and become a lawyer because while it may be my profession it isn’t who I am. I am still Emily, but now I’m Emily the Lawyer/Armature Astronomer/Rally Racer/Bakery Owner/World Traveler/Graffiti Artist! 


  1. This is really amazing!

  2. I love this post! First off, I had no idea that Maggie was a rally car racer (or what that is -- to be honest, driving fast generally scares me nowadays because I got into a horrible accident in Atlanta.) But most importantly, I'm so glad that you were able to find some sort of peace with what you're doing now and what you can still do in the future. I think the hardest thing is the balance between pleasing parents and pleasing yourself. I'm struggling with that right now, and it's making my heart ache. I know what I want to do -- but sometimes, I feel as though it may not be what they want for me. Again, I love that you wrote this, Emily :D And good luck in Law School and your other outlets. Maggie is definitely right. You can do more than just one thing to make you happy :D

    1. Thanks so much Becca! It was hard for me to write this actually just because I felt like by saying I'm unhappy I didn't want to come off as ungrateful. But I'm happy I did because I know I'm not the only person dealing with this situation. It is a super hard line to walk between doing what you love and what your parents want, I hope your heart stops aching soon and you can find a happy medium!

  3. I find that doing a bit of everything (including the things I don't like as much) is what makes life great. All types of activities and people are what makes it interesting, and that the sucky stuff makes you appreciate the awesome stuff. And just so you know, I know lawyers who graduated, practiced law for years but then decided to quit and now do totally different things- it's all up to you! Glad you're happy:)

  4. Lovely post and it's true you don't have to decide what you are going to be at 21. Hell I'm 30 next month and still don't really know - what I do know is that if I had allowed myself to be pushed into the careers other people wanted for me, I would probably be deeply unhappy and resentful and even if I had the best job in the world I wouldn't be able to appreciate it! Glad Maggie helped you along your way!