No one really likes applying for jobs. You’re constantly sending little parts of yourself into the world via cover letters and resumes and hoping that a few organizations decide they like you enough to give you an interview. Then if you make it to the interview round, you stress about hiding your flaws for a day while convincing the organization that you’ve always wanted to work for them. While you’ll get offers from some, you’ll also be rejected by others. It’s a roller coaster of emotion – whether you apply in the private or public sector.
Then if you’re like me and made the choice to only work in the public sector, there’s the added stress and pressure. Your friends all have jobs by the time you’re getting interviews. The timeline isn’t as specific as the private sector. And then you’re constantly reminded that you’re going to be making no money – literally no money your 2L summer and then very little money at the beginning of your career. Cue the exhaustion.
So why do it? Why put myself through the extra stress?
I didn’t come to law school to be a lawyer. I came to law school because I want to change the world. Specifically, I want to be a civil rights and human rights prosecutor…and some other things. But the point is I came here with a very specific goal and to reach that goal I decided to not work in the private sector for the beginning of my career. I have a huge amount of respect for my friends and classmates who do take those jobs. Their skill sets and perspectives are invaluable. But for me, I don’t think that work will help me reach my goals faster. So I hold on a little tighter as I ride the job search roller coaster, and I remind myself of why I came here in the first place.
My apartment is filled with photos from around the world. The faces in the photos remind me that each person has a story and that each person has the right to live her story free from the oppression of others. I want to use the skills that I have to protect those rights. So I remember the stories, and then I send out more resumes.
Amber Strickland is a 2L from Centreville, Virginia. After spending four years experiencing small town America in the cornfields of Ohio for undergrad, she joined the fight to end bonded labor in India while interning with International Justice Mission. When not reading for class, Amber loves trying out new recipes and frequenting Charlottesville’s many local coffee shops.