Some Encouragement from the Other Side
A positive note for students from a recent USMC graduate
Rory McCreight CONTRIBUTOR
Illustration: Jennifer Boothby / THE MIKE.
Like a couple of you I’m sure, I just finished my law school application. From the LSAT to rounding up references, tailoring essays for different schools to just working up that nerve to press submit — it’s a long and daunting process. Not to mention expensive, a separate issue from the scope of this article, but my full application process ran me over $1,000. I digress, what I want to say is my application process could have taken a much more serious mood had I not paid attention to my University of Toronto (U of T) emails after graduating.
My law school application originally felt like do or die, I had to get into law school or else I was just another unemployed schmuck with a university degree. Here’s something I didn’t realize, but maybe should have, in hindsight — that the University of Toronto doesn’t give some regular university degree. The school faculty will tell you this, the news will tell you this, and alumni will show up to remind you, but you are at a top tier university and you are doing top tier work here. This hard work and grind will pay off, but you are going to have slug it out a little longer — a month minimum, four years max (give or take a year or so).
After I graduated last May, I didn’t know how I was going to move forward, where I was going to apply for a job in my year between undergrad and law school, or how I was going to get a job with a philosophy degree. Then I got an email from one of U of T’s kind Undergraduate Administrators, in this instance I’m talking about Eric Correia of the Philosophy Department, who was passing along a job posting that was specifically interested in recent U of T philosophy grads — I couldn’t believe my luck. So, I applied, went through the rounds of interviews and I have been happily working for an awesome legal tech startup, Blue J Legal, for almost six months now. I’ve been really fortunate.
Here’s the thing though — most of you will be similarly fortunate. (And if you pay attention to those email blasts you’ve been ignoring, opportunity might even knock sooner than you expect.) Whenever I talk about my great new job with my family, my boss, former professors, they say the same thing when I tell them how lucky I was: “You worked hard for this.” They’re right, and I do myself a disservice when I forget this. I worked hard, put hours of work in and tried my best and it’s paying off. It’ll pay off for all of you too, just a little way down the line, whether that’s after a J.D. or a graduate degree on top of undergrad, the hard work and anxiety you’re running through now will pay off.
Now that the chaotic and unpredictable experience of undergrad has passed, I can see things more clearly and plan forward. I have a great job that I don’t need to leave for law school, there’s no more do or die situation, I can do what I want and what feels right. I can stay at my job and help the company grow, or I can go back to school, work hard again, and grow professionally. There’s no longer that rush, or despair, to do one or the other — I can take my time and take pride in what I have accomplished. Soon, you’ll be able to, too.
Rory McCreight is a recent USMC graduate and The Mike’s former Sports Editor. He currently works as a Legal Analyst at Blue J Legal and, when he remembers, enjoys reading a good book.