Change of Plans

20110822

Brock's not going to law school.

About a year ago, Brock felt that law was the right thing for him to do. It really does open up so many doors professionally. I'd always told him that his going to grad school was pretty much a non-negotiable for me (grad degrees are the new bachelor's degrees), so he was vacillating between law school and getting an MBA. The more we thought about it, the more we saw a JD as giving you all the opportunities that an MBA does and then some. Seemed like a grand idea. So we sunk $900 into a baller LSAT prep course, and Brock studied tenaciously. At least an hour per day on top of an insane work and school schedule (500-level math classes? Are you kidding me?), 3+ hours on Saturday, for nine months. I've never seen anything like it. In the weeks leading up to the June LSAT, he was consistently scoring in the mid/high 170s. (A perfect score is 180.)

For practice, Brock took every LSAT test distributed in the past ten years (the week before he took the actual test, he literally ran out of practice tests to take). Coming from a guy who can tell a killer LSAT when he sees one, my heart broke when Brock told me that the LSAT he was given on test day was the hardest he'd ever taken. He ended up scoring 163, which is decent, but for Brock it was devastating. (To put things in perspective: A bad practice test for him in April/May was a 173.)

This completely threw us for a loop. For a while, I was even a little mad at God because I felt like he'd left Brock high and dry. Whatever happened to the whole idea of "You do the absolute best you can, and God will be there for you in your hour of need?" I felt like Brock had done more than his share, only to be abandoned. Even though this rattled me a little, I took comfort in knowing that we weren't the only ones to have ever felt like this (Matthew 27:46; D&C 122:5-8).

In retrospect, I am so grateful for that 163.

If Brock had scored a 178 or whatever, he'd be off on his way to an Ivy League law school without a second thought. But a 163 gave us pause. It made us think. Is this really what Brock wants? Is this really the path, we, as a couple, want to take? And the answer was no.

It made zero sense for us to sink $100,000+ worth of student loans into something Brock wasn't crazy about. He doesn't want to be a lawyer. That's not where his soul is. He and I are free spirits, and being beholden to that kind of debt would prevent us from living our best life. In essence, it wouldn't give us the option of not being wealthy. (We would be and we would have to be in order to pay down loans.)

But what if we didn't want to be?

After reconsidering our life and family goals, here is how things broke down.

1. We want to live and work with passion and creativity.
a) Brock loves surfing, teaching, writing, and--most of all--people.
b) I love nature, languages, humanities, adventure, and writing. Obviously, I love politics--but I'm perfectly fine with that being a continual hobby and interest rather than a profession.

2. We want to live simply.
a) We don't want ourselves, nor our children, to have lives cluttered with "stuff" or endless activities (soccerdancepianosingingkaratescouts) that distract from family.

3. We want to raise grateful, happy children.
a) We want kids who don't feel entitled to the newest gadgets or name-brand clothes. We want them to find joy and happiness in family and relationships, not possessions or entertainment.

4. We want to make a creative living that helps us foster relationships with others.
a) We love talking. We love laughing. We love thinking. But most of all, we love doing these things with people. Relationships with friends/family are our greatest source of joy. It goes without saying that law is, generally, a negative profession that isn't conducive to positive relationships (nor to creativity).

Wealth is a sufficient, but not necessary, condition to these goals. Call us crazy, but here's the new plan:

1. Use Brock's baller math degree to get a job in Chicago's financial sector.
2. Spend a couple years working and saving up cash.
3. Move to Costa Rica.
4. Start a business in the tourism industry. (We'll tell you later!)
5. Pura vida.

We may live there for three years, we may live there for twenty. Who knows? All we know is that we want to live purposefully. A small home, a small community, a quiet life, an adventurous life, a full life. We see Costa Rica as a straight shot to helping us achieve these goals.

Along with having killer surf. Bonus.


14 COMMENTS:

  1. That is a great decision - while people say law school opens up doors, you can get all the same doors open (except for the whole being a lawyer one) by doing lots of other things. This is just a sign of how intelligent both you and Brock are :) Plus now you won't have all that ridiculous debt, for a degree where your only option is a ridiculously boring job...

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  2. I'm glad you guys came to that conclusion now, instead of in your third year of law school or somewhere later down the road. I totally feel good about your decision. Is that a weird thing to say? Lol, but I do. You guys know what's best for your family, and I always tell Chase, you have to do what you love because you're going to be doing it for the next 40 years :) Consider yourself lucky you missed out on law school applications. Seriously, that was more stressful than moving out of state while 37 weeks pregnant. And seriously, Brock has amazing people (and number) skills. That can't be taught! That will always put him ahead of everybody else!

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  3. wow. that's intense. and exciting. congrats!

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  4. Excellent life plan.
    I love spontaneity, but I love "life planning." There is always room for both.
    Congrats on being open to new plans.
    And... can I visit in Costa Rica?
    xoxo

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  5. Kristi and Brock--So the past couple weeks I've been freaking out, because I too decided against Law School after having paid an arm and a leg for the class, studying hard, taking it and then realizing it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I was panicking because I found one of my old law school flyers and read how much a starting salary for the average grad of a top 10 law school. But I've worked through it multiple times and the things I want to achieve in my career and the lifestyle I want to pursue (in which my wife and I actually have TIME together) don't seem like the best fit with law. I want to have the ability to scale back for her career and educational pursuits, I want to be intellectually challenged by languages and geopolitics. I want to have private sector street cred by being successful in finance and international trade. But I was doubting all of these things and reading the way you articulated your decision was a very refreshing chance to feel confident about my own decision. Best of luck, and keep in touch.

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  6. I'm not sure about about the Chicago financial center thing but if you are, more power to you. Either way, the Puerto Rico thing is just awesome. Maybe the two of you could adopt me ;)

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  7. Haha I feel you, Chandler. Brock definitely wouldn't want to do that long-term (so stressful!), but it's a good way to make some good $$$, and we have a few contacts in the field from when we lived in Chi a couple summers ago. Cross your fingers for us! We just want a healthy stash of cash to help us start our business in CR...too many hurricanes in PR! :)

    And thanks for all your supportive comments, everyone! I mentioned in the post that I LOVE people, and this is why. There is nothing better than friends and family who love and care for you as much as YOU love and care for them :)

    I hope each and every one of my friends goes on to follow their passion and lead fulfilling lives. The path Brock and I have chosen is by NO means the best one for everybody, so I hope this post doesn't carry the message of "We think we're better than people who choose law school" or whatever. That SO isn't the case. There are a million different paths to happiness, ours is only one. We love you all and pray for you happiness! :)

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  8. You rock. Your marriage rocks. Your blog rocks and this plan rocks. I seriously admire you guys so much, way to follow your heart.

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  9. Good luck! game plan sounds fantastic! =)

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  10. You're kind of brilliant. Aric and I have had some ridonkulous experiences in the last five years that mean this statement couldn't be more true:

    "It goes without saying that law is, generally, a negative profession that isn't conducive to positive relationships (nor to creativity)."

    I've never met anything more stifling to creativity and life force than the minutia of the broken legal process.

    Preach on, sista.

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  11. All excellent reasons. This is where I always go when I rethink my life: http://matadornetwork.com Although I still think Brock would make a killer math teacher. Post more about Arabic!!!

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