I recently started my first year of part-time law school. I enrolled primarily because of how much money I hoped I could make as a lawyer. I’d been feeling rather aimless, a bit insecure regarding my job (I work as a contractor), and uncertain whether I’d ever make enough to do more than live hand-to-mouth in my very expensive city. I just started school, and I hate it. I hate that I’m putting between 40 and 60 hours per week into something I don’t love (on top of the 45-plus hours I put into my job). I hate that I’ve had to give up cooking, that I can’t see friends or family, and that I abandoned my writing group, yoga, and other hobbies. I hate that I’m not happy anymore. I’m numb and jittery, half asleep, or severely depressed. Do I hate the subject matter? Let me give you a proper lawyer’s answer: It depends. But do I love it? Do I want to spend the rest of my life reading hundred-page cases and trying to glean a rule from them? Things could get better. I know it’s a great opportunity and I should be grateful. However, in addition to the insane workload, most early-career lawyers actually don’t make much more (and some make much less) than I do, and I’m worried I’ll never learn to love it and will then be stuck in an unsatisfying career. At the end of the day, I miss my old life. I just want to be happy again. But is that enough of a reason to quit? Should I?
—Halfhearted Law Student