It's your life. You have the starring role. But what's your vision?
Because you are reading this I'm guessing you are interested in being cast as a player in the legal professon. Maybe a leading role as a paralegal. But how do you decide? And, how do you get started?
Here are 6 questions that will help you define your vision.
1. If the world were your oyster and you could have any career, what would it be?
Don't ponder the answer for long. What comes to your mind immediately? Steer clear of those intruding thoughts that begin telling you why it can't be done or that it's a silly idea. Asking yourself this question helps you clear away the clutter. In keeping with our theme, it helps you audition in the right play and for the right role.
"The only thing worse than being blind is having NO VISION."
One of our students recently gave this plaque to her admissions advisor, Elaine Prappas, at Center for Advanced Legal Studies. This photo of wall art reminded her of how Ms. Prappas helped her move forward, define, and accomplish her vision.
2. What are you passionate about?
This is a great question. What types of situations and projects get you excited? What is it that you just have to do? What comes naturally? The things you identify here will help you hone in on your passions.
Now, connect a few dots.....
3. How does a paralegal career include the answers you gave in question #2 above?
Most paralegal students tell us they are interested in and often say they 'love' the law. Maybe they genuinely desire to help people. Or they are peace makers and want to be involved in the process of setteling disputes.
Years of our surveys tell us that students in both online paralegal classes and on-campus classes often enjoy research of all kinds, like to organize, are good at detailed work or like solving problems and so much more. These are all things they enjoy. And they are all interests that connect perfectly with the paralegal profession.
4. What don't you understand?
Now that you've connected the dots to this particular career, what questions do you have? Maybe a few of the following:
Where are the opportunities for paralegal employment?
What does a day-in-the-life of a paralegal look like?
How do I prepare for this career?
What needs to change in my life so I can do this? Schedule? Attitude?
What is the first step to getting started?
All great questions. Now, you need to find an authority to help you answer them. If you know people in the profession, talk to them. Talk to several of them. They will all have their particular point of view. Sometimes similar to each other. Sometimes different. You need to listen and digest the information. Then, pay particular attention to the pieces that fit best with who you are and the vision you have for your life.
A word of warning, listen to but be cautious of people who are dream-killers. These are the people who often use the words can't, won't, don't, difficult, etc. Real downers. There is a difference between objective truthers and negative thinkers. Be discerning.
5. Where is your leverage?
What information, knowledge, relationship, etc. do you have that can provide you with a 'lift' into the profession? Previous work experience, connections with attorneys from personal or professional association, time, money, skills, talents, resources? What do you have that others don't have?
In my humble opinion, your leverage can be as simple, but no more important, than your interest in the law, determination to begin a successful career, and your attitude toward accomplishing your vision.
Like Henry Ford once said, “If you say you can or you can't you are right either way.” It's true, our thoughts determine our actions and ultimately our outcomes.
Now, hold on for the last question and the BIGGIE!
6. What are you afraid of?
In general fear, more than anything, keeps us from starring in the play of our dreams.
Initially, you may say that you have no fears. But I suggest you be really honest and look a little deeper. What is keeping you from accomplishing all that you dream? Why is it holding you back? What can you do about it?
You have to be bold to answer this question honestly. Once you do, and you figure out if you have anything to overcome to move ahead, you'll begin walking the path meant for you.
It might be that all this sounds a bit like a fairy tale...or does it? Maybe that fairy tale could be your life. And, maybe it's about time for you to step into the story.
Once you do, take a bow.
To help you with the 'what you don't understand' question above (#4), receive an interesting brief of "10 Things You May Not Know About Paralegals".
Admissions Advisors at Center for Advanced Legal Studies are here to help answer your specific questions about the paralegal profession and our paralegal programs. Learn how you can live out your vision of beginning a legal career. Contact us at 800-446-6931, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gail Armatys, Co-Founder & CAO