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How do you choose the right path after University?

Asked by SofaKingWright (530points) August 9th, 2012

I am a final year law student as of September. I am within the top 5 ranked students in the class, and in my opinion I am competent at what I have learned. With this in mind, the entire time during my studies, I was prepared to follow the train and go head first into whatever large corporate machine might have me. Equipped with motivation to earn lots of money, I forced myself to attempt to become interested in things like the economy and becoming commercially aware. I found all of this to be mind numbingly boring, hard to understand, and demotivating.

Is it really such a sin to not be interested passionately in these topics? Whilst I coped, and did excellently in my commercial subjects, I can’t say that I performed well due to a persuasive, underlying interest in the content.

However, after participating on two internships I began to connect the dots that I was miserable during both of them (in the commercial/corporate sector) and found myself wondering how I could encourage myself to wake up every morning to something that mundane.

Regardless of these feelings, I stayed on the train and I applied to quite a few jobs as a trainee, and not too shockingly I suppose I was rejected from them all. Not even an interview, with previous internships and top grades. Quite disheartening to say the least.

These past few weeks I have been doing a vast amount of soul searching. I have realized that my motivation for a large pay-check simply is not stimulating me, or making me happy. In fact, it is doing the opposite.

With this in mind, I have decided to abandon commercial law and for my final year I have dropped the advanced commercial subject and will be undertaking environmental law and human rights. I feel as though these are areas of law which I could become passionate about, and immerse myself in, rather than slogging through it for the sake of the end result.

What really motivates me actually isn’t money at all. I want to travel and see the world. I don’t feel ready to enter a career where I have to settle and put down roots in order to build success. I have discovered in my moments of soul searching that I really would rather continue my studying, giving me life flexibility and more time to think, as well as becoming an expert in an area of law – which perhaps would in turn be a route to a career I would enjoy.

With these revelations however I am facing more difficulties. Where I am currently, if I continued studying, I could continue my education but I wouldn’t be seeing much of the world in addition. I have a fantastic ‘significant other’, and I really do not see them being able to follow me around whilst I satisfied my wanderlust. I realise that studying environmental law to an advanced level may take me to some rather obscure places. This excites me, and really, this is the first time I have felt motivated about something to do with law.

My worries are that I will regret leaving what I have built here, and that I am having a terrible case of the ‘grass is greener’. I can’t really explain why I feel the need to explore so much – it really is rather inconvenient, but it is consuming my thoughts.

I could continue writing, and I apologise for the rather long essay. Any thoughts, advice, or perhaps experiences similar to this dilemma which people would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.

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