I Regret Not Studying Music, But Abuse Led Me Down Another Path. Should I Tell The Committee That?

by Judge Josh on October 30, 2014

I’m writing the optional statement for my law school app. The question is “What is something you regret not doing?” I chose to write about my decision not to study music in college. A large part of the reason I chose not to study music is because I was in an abusive relationship that impacted me greatly and I’ve chosen instead to go to law school for international law focusing on human rights (women’s rights more specifically). I’m just not sure how appropriate it is to mention this in the statement? I wouldn’t go into detail but would just mention it briefly. Part of me still regrets not studying music but I chose to change to law based on my experiences.

Off hand (and before reading your statement), I don’t see any reason it would be inappropriate.  Any true regret is one that will make us feel some sort of hesitancy in sharing it.  That’s what makes it a regret – and that’s also why they asked the question.  Trust me – they’ve heard enough of B.S., self-serving answers like, “I regret studying too hard and not spending more time to stop & smell the roses.”  They would prefer real answers, like the one you have here.

Your regret seems honest, real and yet it’s not like you regret choosing to go to law school.  You could have still majored in music and then decided you wanted to be a lawyer.  People’s interests change as they grow older and have different life experiences.  I’ve mentioned this before, but my closest friend started out college as a biology major, finished college as a criminal justice major, never even considered being a lawyer until his senior year of college, went to law school & practiced law for 7 years – and has now been in marketing (and has not practiced law at all) for the past 8 years.

So, yeah – tell them the truth.  They understand that not everyone came out of the womb wanting to be a lawyer.

Here’s the statement:

I began playing the piano at the age of four and quickly progressed to taking lessons from a music professor at ******** University. During my childhood my parents saw playing the piano as a hobby that I would be able to enjoy my entire life, but as I moved into high school I began to consider applying to college as a music major.

After my senior recital in high school, I received a letter from the ******** College Conservatory of Music inviting me to audition. My piano teacher revealed that she had invited a friend to the performance to watch me play. I debated auditioning but applied to ********* University for International Studies, believing that government work offered more stable job prospects.

I went to college at seventeen and naively continued an abusive relationship. In the spring of my freshman year, my boyfriend sexually assaulted me. It took me a long time to regain confidence but in the process of recovery, I developed an interest in women’s rights. After pursuing this interest for the past two years, I chose to apply to law school and concentrate on human rights.

I do occasionally regret the choice to forego studying music in college, but I am confident in my decision to go to law school. As with music, I enjoy studying human rights and women’s studies, but I also have a sense of purpose that I did not have when I was considering music as a degree.

Do you think this statement is ok or does it qualify as too much information?

Not at all.  It’s honest, revealing and doesn’t paint you in a bad light.  In my opinion, that’s the entire point of the exercise that the law school set up here – to see if you are going to give them a canned, bullshit answer, or if you are going to be real and tell them something from the heart.  I think your answer passes that test.

What do my fellow reads think?   Am I right in believing that the committee will appreciate a truthful answer, or do you think she’s revealing too much about having no plans to attend  law school in her recent past?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Yana November 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

I would say be honest and open about it. What they are looking for is determination and passion and you have them both for all the right reasons! Good luck!

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