I will answer these together.
English has always been my favorite subject. This spans all the way back to kindergarten, when I really enjoyed writing nonsense.
Some things never change.
I still have some of those little vignettes. They're even illustrated. I have some butcher paper with a Crayola picture of me on a bike carrying a bunch of newspapers. The accompanying text explains that I would be the best papergirl ever, and I would deliver papers all over the world.
Silly little dreams for a silly little monkey.
English continued to be my favorite subject throughout high school. I wrote for the paper and literary magazine. I won journalism and writing competitions, including one national contest. While I did rather well in all subjects in high school, English remained my best and favorite subject.
When I started college, I began taking all the classes I needed for medical school. My dad is a doctor, and there always seemed to be an unspoken assumption that I'd become one, too. I aimed to major in biology. After my first semester, I was very unhappy with my classes. I didn't do terribly, but they were so tedious. Boring. Sterile.
The best part of my first semester in college was my mandatory expository writing class, lovingly dubbed "Expos" (pronounced "ecks-PAAS"). Expos was the bane of every first-year's existence.
But not for me.
Expos was a joy. My classmates thought I was crazy. It was the only class I had that did not involve numbers, formulas, or chemicals. It didn't even seem like a class. My assignments were to write!
And I got an "A." I was the only one in my professor's two classes.
My second semester, I decided to take a Shakespeare class and a modern English literature class. Another "A." And another "A."
I became an English major that semester and joined the daily paper, and I quickly found a new home writing for the paper's weekly entertainment magazine.
The years went by in a flash. I read a lot of books. I wrote a lot of papers. I wrote a ton of articles. I became an editor.
And then it was senior year. And I didn't have a plan.
I couldn't apply to medical school.
I didn't want to get an advanced degree in English.
I had no interest in becoming a teacher.
I doubted that I had any business prowess.
As Avenue Q so perfectly put it:
What do you do with a B.A. in English?Then I remembered I still had one relevant skill at the time, aside from being able to write well.
What is my life going to be?
Four years of college and plenty of knowledge
Have earned me this useless degree.
I'm good at standardized tests!
I took the LSAT and did well enough to go to a decent law school. I went. The rest is history.
So, to answer Leslie's question, nothing about law really appealed to me. What appealed to me was acquiring a professional degree that would afford me a viable career. And, to answer Diabolina's question, law was basically a default option for an English major who didn't want to pursue a career in academia.
What can I say? As creative as I am, I rarely let the creative side win. Pragmatism always triumphs.
Looking back, I do sometimes wish I'd chosen differently. My good friend and fellow editor went on to write for Us Weekly for a few years and later taught English at a prep school in New York City. (How very Gossip Girl, indeed!)
I think of his life and get wistful over the imagined excitement of interviewing Brad Pitt, but he thinks of my life and longs for the financial stability that I've established. I also think of how brave my brother was to pursue a career in entertainment. I wonder if I could do what he does.
I'm happy with my job these days. I was unhappy for a long time, but now I'm at a place where good work is truly appreciated, and praise is given freely. Hours are no longer crazy, and supervision is not oppressive.
And I'm good at my job. There's no question about that.
I don't know if I can say I'm thrilled to be a lawyer quite yet or if I will ever be able to say that, but what I can say is that I'm really fortunate to have the job and life I have.
Stay tuned for more answers tomorrow. If you have any more questions, feel free to continue to ask!