Navigating the Career Abyss: Extern Job Shadowing, Part 2

If you recall, I signed up for the Career Centre Extern Job Shadowing Program, and this past Reading Week, I’m happy to say, I completed it. I experienced a variety of emotions before, during and after the externship, and in a way this post will serve to inform the potential future Extern Programmers, but it’s also a form of catharsis, a means to express anxieties about my future. Luckily, I got my first choice, a reputable and international corporate law firm on Bay Street. Before the actual day, I was worried, but I realized, I am a real person, and lawyers are real people (surprisingly), so I’ll just be myself, and it went well. My mentor was a young female lawyer who was eager to show us what the legal profession is really like, most notably by observing the courts. Throughout the day, I asked her everything from how the profession can conflict with one’s morality, to being a woman in a “man’s world,” to the hours, which can be long, and salary. I was lucky to hear it firsthand because Google searches can only go so far. What I learned was that law, or any professional career, is hard work, but also very rewarding. The externship was such a valuable learning experience because how can you know what profession to choose to study without dipping your feet in the water beforehand? You get to ask questions, share your thoughts and see how those before you were able to deal with their struggles and concerns. Most importantly, I was able to learn that people who study law come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from the arts to sciences, so there is definitely a place for uniqueness in the profession. What can I say – I really really am worried about my future professional career. Sometimes I just worry-dream (daydreaming gone awry). It’s not that I don’t think I’m capable, but for me personally, I want to excel at the delicate balance of my personal and professional lives. I want to work for my own creative output, to give myself satisfaction, and equally important, to make a living. In many ways, a legal career fulfills my desires in life.  You are in part a leader in society, able to use the craft of language to protect humanity, and often you are able to be your own boss, in charge of your own work. Do I know if law is the right career for me? At this point, no. I don’t want to enter law school not being 100% sure, because not only is it a large emotional investment, it’s very, very expensive. What I am planning to do (and am I currently doing actually) is working. I gotta pay those bills! But, I also need to get a feel for what my interests are. Even more, I want to spend time enjoying my life. The past few years have been stressful, but challenging in a good way, and I want to do something that doesn't involve getting graded. I will continue researching the legal field, talking to anyone in the business I can, and continue to study for those LSATS. I encourage everyone at U of T to take advantage of the Extern opportunity. It’s invaluable, and hey, we already paid for it in our fees!   Desiree

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