I recently joined a fairly exclusive club at UBC Law: the NOCI Club. We are the bunch who sat around soaking up the later September sun outside Allard Hall watching our friends don their best business duds and head off for their On-Campus Interviews. (OCIs, thus NOCIs. Get it?). While I was feeling pretty good about my choice, as my friends became increasingly strung out and stressed, OCIs inspired in me a particular kind of panic. I call this the ‘ohmygodwhatamIgoingtodowithmylife’ crisis.
The ‘ohmygodwhatamIgoingtodowithmylife’ crisis can become acute in law school. Careers are discussed frequently and there are a lot of opportunities available. The breadth of opportunities can be overwhelming. Somehow it occurred to me somewhat late that law is a professional program, meaning the end goal is a job. While this was probably obvious to a lot of students, this was quite a shocking change from my Bachelor of Arts in Modern European Studies with a focus in Creative Writing (not exactly a career focused degree).
As a result of this panic, I went to the Career Services Office. I talked to them about my incredibly vague plan of practicing rurally. It was reassuring and stress-relieving. The negative of being in a professional program is that undoubtedly you will feel pressure to figure your life out. The positive is that there are plenty of people who are on your side and want to see you succeed.
What I learned is that while yes, some people will get summer jobs and potentially get a jump start on their careers, that doesn’t mean anyone else should panic. More opportunities will arise, and while it’s good to start thinking about jobs, there is no urgent necessity to suddenly have a firm direction.
The best solution to the ‘ohmygod’ crisis is simply to relax, take a deep breath, and try to think a little bit about what you might like to do, not just what you definitely don’t want to do.