(Suburb Repairman)Title was "Considering Planning (A series of muddled thoughts)". Modified for a more descriptive title to see if you get a little more response.
Fair warning: there might be some depressing elements to my post. And I do mention a bit about my background, but it puts my interest in planning in perspective rather than looking for "Dear Abby" advice. Also, I keep it slightly vague for anonymity's sake. It's a little whiny, and I hate being whiny. (Except in this post.)
I am 25 years old and will be 26 in July. I am in the first semester of law school at a lower tier 2 school with a good regional reputation.
My background is as follows: In high school, my mathematics proficiency scores were through the roof, my verbal were good, but not as good as maths. I was lazy, didn't apply myself, but decided to go on and pursue an associates. I picked my major for my associates because I thought it would be easy (I'd rather not disclose).
I scraped by. But, in taking a semester off before applying to a 4 year university, I became more interested in politics, and thought a good career would be law. So, I busted myself, studied hard, did ok on the LSAT, and graduated with all kinds of bells, whistles, and honors. I made sure to avoid maths and sciences that might have required cumulative knowledge from my lackluster high school days out of fear they would diminish my chances of attending a good grad school. Applied to law school, got in a few of them, went to one.
And I hate law school. Almost cannot stand it. A lot of people say the same thing, mostly out of periodic frustration with the workload. In contrast, I cry over my decision each night, dread waking up in the morning, and feel overstressed all day. I fiercely hate my life right now. And I dread joining the profession. Seems a lot of people regret their decisions to go into law, and I think I would as well. I loved taking classes before I got here. I feel like a complete shell of my old self. I've been talking to counselors in the law school, and in the university, regarding my problems here. Hopefully that experience will prove helpful.
So, I've been digging deep into myself, trying to figure out what makes me tick. Essentially, at heart, I'm a problem solver. I like approaching puzzles, riddles, competing interests in a problem, and finding the best solution. I like approaching problems from many angles, many perspectives. I am not a contentious person. Rather, I like working within groups. I see myself as a mediator than anything else. Though I must admit, I can be shy. (The one fear I have about a career in planning is that my shyness will make it impossible to advance. Like, I may find some research niche, and not raise to a higher position because my specialization, chosen out of shyness, limits my ability to advance.)
I have a sociological streak. I liked my political science methodology, and the senior thesis in which I utilized it. I am a bit bookish. I like studying cultural problems, both in terms of social theory and statistics. I get a kick out of analysis with SPSS.
I also fiend to use my creativity in whatever job I may have. I haven't used Autocad since high school, but I remember thoroughly enjoying it. (And less academically, I enjoy using QuarkXpress, Photoshop, etc. immensely too.)
I was thinking of dropping out and trying to get into a planning school nearby. I've been surfing the boards, and the profession appears to be one that'd serve my inner do-gooder-public-interest-servin-guy, creative problem solver, and mediator tenancies. I'd be curious how much creative fun the planners have compared to the landscape architects. Especially the ones like me, without a background in engineering or architecture.
(On a tangent, I've also thought about dropping out of law school, going back to community college, taking sciences and maths, and seeing if engineering might have been my calling... Also, I've considered, looking at my interests, potentially trying my hand at financial analysis, personal financial planning.)
But I feel as though I'm running out of time. I turn 26 in July. It took me longer than your average bear to get through the bachelors program. It includes different majors. Will soon contain a single, terminal semester of law school. I want to become established in a profession, get married, settle down, start a family. I don't need money like a doctor or lawyer make, but I've seen some low salaries reported for planners and am afraid I may not be able to progress with my life on a new planner's salary. But, staying in law school... just seems like pure hell. I think it was an ill conceived idea from an immature kid 2 years out of high school that just so happened to stubbornly stick his idea out... until the first semester. But, I really believe one has to AT LEAST find bearable what one does for 40-60 hours a week.
And, I feel like I'm running out of time and need to get focused fast.