Richard has begun the second year of grad school, and Russell starts his first year of grad school next week. It got me to thinking about my law school days, and specifically about the application process.
I was working on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Chalmers P. Wylie when I decided to take the LSAT and look at going to law school. I had a solid undergraduate record, I got a good LSAT score, I had that Capitol Hill job on my resume, and I had a nice recommendation from Mr. Wylie in my application packet, so I aimed high, for Harvard and Yale among other schools. I was a confident, and foolish, young man.
I was taken down a peg when, very shortly — embarrassingly shortly — after I sent in my Harvard application, I got the standard form rejection letter. It hadn’t taken them long to figure out that I wasn’t Harvard material. My rejection from Yale came a few days later.
I soon realized it wasn’t the end of the world. I was accepted into other good schools, went to Georgetown University Law Center, got a good legal education and met some great people, and have moved on. I now think that those once-embarrassing rejections were a good thing, because they helped to motivate me to work hard in law school and because everyone needs to experience a little humility in their lives. And, I’ve also come to believe that it’s not where you go to school, but what you do with the education you receive that counts.
Rejection isn’t the end of the world. Often, it’s something you can build on and learn from.