When I started law school, and even now as I’m about to finish law school, most people are always surprised when I tell them I didn’t choose to go to law school to become an attorney. If I wind up being an attorney, then cool. If I don’t—awesome.
So then, people ask me, “Why did you decide to go to law school then?” Well, that’s simple. I wanted the degree. I wanted the education. The way I see it, education is an incredible opportunity, and I’m going to seize every opportunity I can to make sure I make the most of my life, and make the most out of me. The major nerd in me gets super giddy when I feel like my mind is being challenged and further opened, so I always knew I would seek higher education.
You see, the thing is, free education is not universal. Okay, so law school and undergrad were not “free” per se. They both cost a lot. Some private grade schools cost as much as a public undergraduate degree. But the point is no one can stop us from going. No one can stop us from choosing to get an education. In fact, we are encouraged to get an education. If we need student loans to help us get our degree, then they are there for us…despite the massive interest rates attached to them. If you're afraid of paying back loans though, then you better make your education damn worth it.
I grew up singing and acting, doing musicals and Shakespeare. There was a time when I thought that’s what I’d be doing my whole life. You don’t need an education for that. En contraire, I believe that every chance you get to challenge and open your mind, is a chance to make you better at whatever it is you end up doing. And going to school is part of that. So going to college was never even a question in my mind. Of course, don't get me wrong, I don't believe that sticking your nose in a book is the only way, or even the most efficient way to learn. Real life experience is still the best educator. However, school provides you with valuable tools and discipline. For example, law school teaches you nothing about what you'll actually be doing as an attorney, only experience will. What law school teaches you though, is how to think. Law school forces you to think in a way, that sometimes feels less like opening your mind to a new way, and more like twisting your mind in all kinds of directions. It's wonderful. I love it. Besides, if you look at the top of the A-list Hollywood actors, they’re all smart cookies, whether or not they finished their degree. Natalie Portman—Harvard. Reese Witherspoon—Stanford. Anne Hathaway—NYU. Robin Williams—UC Berkley. Gwyneth Paltrow—UC Santa Barbara (my alma mater, yay!). Matt Damon—Harvard. I could go on, but where people went to school does not matter. What matters is that those who thirst for knowledge, and who thirst for constant growth, are the ones who will be great.
However, not everyone who thirsts for knowledge and growth is allowed to quench that thirst. In some countries, girls are not allowed to go to school. If they do, they risk their lives. They risk their families’ lives. Remember 15 year-old Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban this last October, because she had promoted girls’ education? Thankfully, she survived and continues to get better. She also continues to speak out for and support girls’ education in Pakistan. Educating women reduces poverty and improves health, not just for women, but for their families, too. Thus, educating girls is one of the first and most important steps in making this world we live in, a better place to live.
Here in the U.S., we don’t always appreciate how blessed we are, but I hope you will now appreciate it a little bit more.
Happy International Women’s Day.
BIG LOVE & HUGS