Robert Knox gave me some excellent advice about law school. “Know yourself and your values before you start, because it has the power to change you to someone you don’t want to become.”
I suspect that this is true for many professional graduate programs, but particularly for law school. Law school has a clearly defined career path for most students (BigLaw). Those who enter with an inchoate vision for their future can be caught in that stream. BigLaw isn’t necessarily bad; it is a good choice for some. The danger lies in how what is a good choice for some becomes the default choice for many.
Robert went on to say that many people that he knew become more jaded, more cynical, and more materialistic from their time in law school. I can very much see those tendencies in myself. This is why I am thankful for family and friends who can help me stay grounded and have vision for my work.
For what sustains me through school isn’t competence, or diligence, or intelligence. Those are implements, tools, devices. It is vision. Vision for why this work matters, why it is important. And vision goes hand in hand with reflection.