That’s what they call us; nontrads.  We’re the people that went out and did something (or in some cases, nothing) between undergrad and law school.  In my case, it was:

Taking 5 and a half years to get through college (I started off as a theater major, then I figured out I was really bad at it, switched major to Criminology, switched schools, THEN finally got my shit together enough to graduate from college).

Moving from Minnesota to Boston “because I was bored.”  (Seriously.  I had this bug up my butt to go to Boston and there weren’t many reasons not to (other than it being 2003 and a depressed economy and OH BOY DID I HAVE NO IDEA and also jobs in Boston weren’t that plentiful either, but what ever I WANTED TO GO TO BOSTON).  So I did)

Not being able to find a job other than temping, which i did for a year (and was able to tread water enough to keep from aving to go home in disgrace, and my mother hated those phone calls because I was sad, lonely AND broke).

Deciding that if I was bored and couldn’t find a job, then grad school was the best bet (Suffolk University, there I went!)

Having to more or less talk my way in grad school, since the lack of shit-together-ness in college really took a toll on my GPA.  (Suffolk lets you take two classes without being an admitted student.  I applied while taking the second one in the spring of 2005, and got the “We’re not admitting you” letter a week before my final paper was due.  Somehow I managed to turn in a decent paper, a got an A in the class, and then, six weeks later, Suffolk said “Oh hey!  We’ve reconsidered your application, and now we are admitting you!”  In that six weeks I had gone through my stages of mourning, gotten a job not remotely in my field but it paid actual money and also had health insurance, come up with a back up plan and reluctantly was considering trying to sort out Northeastern’s byzantine admissions system.  So it was like “YAY!  Couldn’t you have told me sooner?”)  (I was told later that the sociology department NEVER reconsiders applications like that.  I really don’t know what made them this time, because I found out about it when I called them to talk about applying for reconsideration for that spring semester.  Anyway, I didn’t humiliate for that decision, I guess.)

Got a Masters in Criminal Justice while working full time, including writing a thesis.  (On the exclusionary rule and if it actually frees a bunch of evil nasty criminals due to excluded evidence.  Short answer:  No.)

Got a job working at the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston, working in the unit that defends people appearing before the Sex Offender Registry Board and/or  have commitment proceedings against them to be committed as Sexually Dangerous Persons.  (Oh the stories I can’t tell you.)

Met an incredible group of committed, passionate people that made me think, hey I could do that. (This is the sappy part of the list).

Discovered that, for most of my adult life, my desire to be an attorney was far outweighed by my lack of desire to go to law school, and by the fall of 2008, that was starting to change.  (Also I was getting bored again.)

And when I took the LSAT in February of 2009, I really did want to be a lawyer more than I didn’t want to go to law school.  So I went.

So I’m now 31, overeducated (my mother is so proud, y’all), and drowning in more debt that I ever imagined was possible (and I go to the cheap school in Boston) (given that Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the country, that’s…. not saying a lot), and I gotta say, I was really worried about being one of the grownups.  I hate being the grownup.  It sucks!

There are a handful of us in my section who are over 30.  There’s more who went from college to work and then on to law school.  In the end, though, it really didn’t matter a lot.  (I mean, the biggest difference is occasionaly one of us grownups will say something that will make the others howl with laughter, and the kiddies would be like “Wait.  Who’s Steve Urkel?”  Also I think we tend towards drinking less, but I skew that one, because I’m allergic to booze *sob* and can’t drink at all.  The trials and tribulations of being a non-drinker in law school is a WHOLE OTHER POST.) My point is, 712 words later, that just because you’re old doesn’t mean you won’t have anything in common with your classmates.  Because dude, all that shit doesn’t matter when you’re in the same pressure cooker room day after day, all up in each other’s faces and lives because you don’t have time for anything else.

(Of course, that said, I’m SO GLAD I didn’t take my adopted big brother’s advice that “You can go anywhere for three years!” and stayed in Boston where I already had a non-law school support network and friends who would drag me out of the library and talk nerdy in museums and shit.  I don’t know what this would be like without that balance.)