Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paralegal? Ok.

I have been struggling with the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?", since I was about five-years-old.  At that time, the answer was easy.  I wanted to be one of the people at SeaWorld that got to swim and play with the dolphins and whales everyday.  That or a checker at Jacks because I was a classy lady.  Since then, I have wanted to be many, many different things, never quite settling on one.  This is still something I struggle with and for the time being, I think I figured it out.

I want to be a paralegal.  

Good news for me: I know how to do that.  

It may be just an AA, but I worked my butt off for it!

I think I have failed to realize this until recently because I haven't wanted to admit that what I am professionally is enough.  I am always looking for more, wanting to be better, do something better and focus on that instead of focusing on how I can improve as a paralegal.  I feel less than others, somehow.  A lot of that feeling is wrapped into the fact that I only have a two-year degree compared to others with at least a bachelor's and I am embarrassed of that.  I know that comparison is the robber or joy, but no one is perfect and we all do it.  Depending on who is asking (i.e. random stranger), I will often lie about where I went to college.  While it is likely unfounded, I feel judged when I say I attended Kirkwood.  I prefer to say I went to the University of Iowa.  It's not completely a lie . . I did go to Iowa for one semester.  BUT then I dropped out after my first fall semester and ended up at Kirkwood the next fall.  There were serious outside factors that affected my success in college and I still allow those memories to make me feel less than I am.  I am scared to go back to school, but plan to finish my bachelor's within the next two years.  Likely in something like Liberal Arts considering I already have almost 100 credits. 

The realization of wanting to continue as a paralegal occurred after a few months of working in an elementary school and realizing that I do not want to be a teacher.  At least at this point in my life.  I have no desire to do the paperwork, deal with other people's kids on a daily basis or deal with the politics.  I prefer office politics.  Can you believe it?  I enjoy having to wear professional business clothes to work and dealing with stressed attorneys.  I enjoy knowing how the court system works and learning the different pleadings and processes required in cases.  I enjoy hearing and discussing the law, reading interesting cases, etc.  I enjoyed working in family law and dealing with the clients.  I enjoy the independence that can come along with being a trained paralegal and using my knowledge to prepare the attorney for meetings, hearings and trials.  Do I want to be an attorney?  Not at this time.  Later?  Who knows.  

While I cannot continue as a paralegal in Dubai, I look forward to our return to the States to further my career.  I have looked into different states and what they have to offer, and it seems that Minnesota has some pretty awesome opportunities in my field.  They offer CLE's (Continuing Legal Education) and their paralegal association appears to be very active.  They have quite a few law firms, big and small, that have potential to offer job advancement.  If we end up in MN, great.  If not, I am ok with that, too. Other states appeared to have quite a bit to offer, as well.  I am excited to see what my future as a paralegal has in store for me. 
post signature