The Fear of Disappointing Others

Dear Dean C,

I regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing from Marquette Law School.  After preparing for my first courses, I now realize that I have too many things on my plate and am unable to give them all the attention and effort they require and deserve.  I was honored and elated to be contacted last Thursday with an offer to join your community.  Given the short notice I quickly became caught up in the whirlwind of it all.  I sincerely appreciate the time you took to meet with me and to help arrange time for me to get up to speed with the remainder of the class.

Please know this was a difficult decision to make, but am confident it is the best decision for myself, my family, and my classmates.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

That left my inbox last night around 10pm.

A few of the thoughts that lead to this decision –

I love my husband. Being married is hard work.  Add to it the stress of 3 moves in 8 months, 2 new jobs, and the stress of health complications and it makes for a tough first year.  Really tough.  I want my priorities to lie within my relationship with my husband.

I work a (new) full time job.  A job I genuinely love.  A job that would have surely been neglected had I committed to law school.  I could not have performed all the duties expected of me.  Of those I could perform, I could not have performed them to the best of my ability.  There became far too many conflicts with events I am planning/attending.  My opportunity to go to school was because of my job – I certainly was not going to neglect the gravy train.

When looking at the Holmes and Rahe stress scale I can pin point at least 7 items that I’ve dealt with in the last 2 months.

That’s a lot of stress.

Have I mentioned I don’t handle stress well?

When I sat down and really thought it through, I realized that my main fear was disappointing everyone else.  I had told my family I was going to law school!  I shared it with my friends.  I had incredible support from my co workers.  How could I let all of these people down?  These people believe in me.  Turns out they believed in me more than I believed in myself.

My confidence was definitely lacking Tuesday night, I will admit that.  Could I have pushed through the semester?  Probably.  The content didn’t seem overly difficult, but honestly, the exams scared the crap out of me.  I didn’t love that they professors could only grant a certain number of A’s, B’s, etc.  I know that is typical in law school, but it doesn’t necessarily align with my own beliefs in education.  So, while I could’ve powered through the next 4 months, why should I? Just because?  That’s just dumb.

Some of the wisest words I got via chat yesterday afternoon:

Kimberly: I don’t want to be a debbie downer and i support whatever you do so i hope you take this openly, but if you arent willing to pay for it in money, why are you willing to pay for it in time?

It became crystal clear in the matter of 24 hours that I could not and would not take my time and attention away from all of the good things in my life.  The past 8 months have been full of change and adjustment – all for the better.  I want to take some time to thoroughly enjoy where I’m at right now.  I’ve spent too much time thinking about where I want to go, rather than enjoying the journey I’m on right now.

Will I give it another go someday?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But, I know that for me, right now, right this very moment: this is what is right for me.

Wow.  Thanks for sticking with me on the crazy journey of the last 5 days.  It’s been insane.  I’ve been all over the flippin’ place.  I sincerely appreciate all of the positive words and encouragement you all gave me.  Really.  It means a lot that people I’ve never shook hands with, hugged – it means a lot that you took the time to offer your encouragement.  And, of course, it means a lot that my family has stuck by my side and supported me.

Love you guys.

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9 comments

  1. I think it’s more admirable that you are able to recognize what’s most important to you, over going to law school. I’m sure it was a tough decision- but wave it goodbye and get on with your fantastic life. School will always be there. Good for you!

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  2. Wow, this was a great post! I do agree with you that the part of disappointing others can weigh heavily on a person during a difficult decision making time. I just had to defer my grad school acceptance because I wasn’t 100% sure if it was the right decision for me and part of me did start to feel bad that I had RELEASED the idea of going but then snatched it back up.

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    1. Yeah – the sense of relief I had after making my decision was awesome. And then I started remembering all of the people I had to tell and it started to weigh on me again. Life can get so complicated when you start considering other people. It’s a necessary part of life, but it’s a really hard part of life!

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  3. I don’t know much about your decision making process, but it sounds like you made the right choice for you. I always feel like I have so many expectations to live up to (my own, that of my family, friends…), but in the end, doing what is right for you is the BEST you can do. And your best is good enough.

    Sometimes the toughest decision that you have to make is to BE STILL. You should be proud of yourself for doing that.

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