Did I Just Waste The Last Five Years of My Life?

By Carrie


The time has come for me to retake the entry exam for my legal application. It’s time to dive into the books and re-learn all the useless information I’ve forgotten over the last year because they were—well, useless – which is why they’d flown out of my head in the first place.

Let me give you some back story first, though. Graduating from law school in Poland is just the beginning for us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young pretenders. We graduate with a pretty diploma, a title and absolutely zero license to work in our chosen profession. For that, we need to get through that application, when someone experienced takes us under their wing and teaches us how to actually use the knowledge we’ve accumulated over the course of our studies. Which is fine, really. More often then not, us lawyers make decisions that directly affect the lives of our clients. It’s not just the judges or prosecutors, but bailiffs, solicitors, notaries. Our signature carries a certain weight behind it which is why I absolutely agree that we need to have as much guidance as possible before we’re certified to practice.

But it takes time and money we don’t have because despite years spent studying, we’re only a tiny step closer to achieving our goals.

If you’re lucky and you’ve managed to get in right after graduation, your choices are easy. But if you are like me and you’ve failed the first attempt, questions arise.

First of all, I admit that I am lucky. I’ve spent the last year working in a law firm, doing what I want to be doing with only that one exam standing in my way (well, for now). But many of my friends found work in other places – random offices and government agencies, or even further away from their areas of interest. They’d barely had a chance to use their education so it’s no wonder that the perspective of going back to studying is—let’s call it unappealing. And you already have a job, right? It may not be what you thought it would be but it pays the bills and there’s a possible career for you in there.

So what do you do in a situation like that? Do you take that entry exam? Spend months studying with no guarantee that you’ll pass this time, or finish the application and pass the final exam, or find employment afterwards?

Or do you just forget all the all-nighters you pulled during finals, all the completely unnatural technical jargon that you had to force yourself to remember? You may not have paid any money for that experience but it did cost you. Can you just move on from that without feeling like you’ve wasted all that time?

For me, the choice remains easy. Somewhere in the back of my head, I’ve always known that this is what I’ll be doing. It’s all I know, what I’m good at. But my friends, though, they’re struggling. They don’t want to give up because there was a reason they’d chosen the law school in the first place – but it would seem that it had been lost, somehow. Some of them even had ideals… but today is not the time to make decisions based on them. Today may be about telling yourself that even though you’ve chosen the hard way, it might not be enough. Today might be about making a proper, adult decision and choosing the thing you need over the thing you want.

Some might say it’s giving up. I think it’s being brave. We’ve been working towards this for years, some of us since we were 16 and we had to choose the classes we’d be taking in high school. It’s not easy to step away from the path we’d been on for so long and move towards the unknown and the unplanned. But maybe sometimes that’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re adults after all. Right?


Carrie, 25, aspiring lawyer from Poland. Enjoys an evening spent with a favourite movie or book. Makes tons of her own jewellery so she can beep at every security gate within a mile. Tumblr. Instagram.

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