Unspun Logo

Dreams v. Reality

Posted by Rick · March 11th, 2005 · No Comments

My daily routine nearly always begins with writing. In years past, my writing was more personally reflective; these days, it’s more focused on politics and society. Occasionally — yesterday was one of those days — I get to do a little of both.

I decided that since that doesn’t often happen (and, okay, I confess that I’m cheating because today I won’t have time for writing anything new, at least until nightfall), I’d post that “extra” personal reflection bit here.

It’s a one-page piece I wrote in the “Personal Statement” section of a scholarship application. Law school is not cheap; I need all the help I can get. (Oh, if only people would click my Google Ads or the Click to Give donation button in the left column of the main page of my site!)

Caveat, Disclaimer, or Whatever: I have been told that you are supposed to toot your own horn when trying to convince a scholarship committee to invest in you.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought about being an attorney. I cannot say that it has been a burning desire, but it has been an often-considered desire. Until I reached the age of about 44, perhaps no other desire in my life was more often squelched. Having come from a somewhat lower middle-class background and generations (so far as I can tell) of uneducated people, it never seemed realistic.

As a child, I had learned to dream of what I could be; as a child with “realistic” parents, I had been taught the difference between dreams and reality. Becoming an attorney was always in the former category. (Added to that, most of my family members, including my grandparents and parents, often derided attorneys. Until I finally entered law school, my father never had a nice thing to say about them.)

Somehow, in spite of being taught to be “realistic” about my life’s opportunities I had, through a mixture of good fortune and ability, managed to be successful in my life. Always interested in learning, I was the first in my family to go to college. Not knowing exactly what I wanted to study, I studied everything. For this reason, I was in college longer than most students; in 1995, I was virtually pushed out of the nest by my professors and graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy.

Upon graduation, I realized to my shock and surprise that there were no employers advertising in the Bee for philosophers. I had put myself through school by running a medical transcription business out of my home and, fortunately, my use of computers for this task (and a lucky introduction to the Internet at the university, before the World Wide Web was invented), plus other fortuitous events, put me in a position to help with an Internet start-up called Cybergate Information Systems. From there, I embarked on an exciting — not in the Heald College way, but really exciting — career in technology.

By the year of my 44th birthday, I had become the Director of Information Systems for Valley Yellow Pages and had built several networks, including VYP’s first bicoastal (later reduced to statewide when we sold our Florida operations) network. During that time, the corporate attorney (Jim Varon) became a close friend. Jim was older, wiser and from a background that drew the line between dreaming and reality differently than I had been taught. Occasionally, we discussed what I would do next with my life. One day I told him that I’d always wanted to be a lawyer but lamented, “Even if I start law school now, it’s 4 years. I’ll be 48 before I graduate.” Jim asked me how old I’d be in 4 years if I didn’t go to law school.

About a month later, I took the LSAT.

Initially, I thought I’d be interested in technology law. I was very successful with technology, not only with my job history, but “extracurricular” activities including teaching, doing technical reviews for publishers such as Microsoft Press and, finally, writing a chapter for a book on Windows 2000. I quickly learned, however, that my primary interest is the Constitution, civil rights and criminal defense. Since June 2004, in fact, I have been clerking for attorney David Mugridge (SJCL 1985); currently, I’m a research assistant for Jeff Purvis, the James K. and Carol Sellers Herbert Professor of Constitutional Law at San Joaquin College of Law, as well.

In my “free time,” I write — virtually daily — for several websites, including my own Unspun™ and a new site I’m developing for my future criminal law practice. The past two years, I’ve served as an officer of Delta Theta Phi, first as Clerk of the Web and currently as Dean. In addition, I enjoy (much more than I knew I could!) participating in activities of the SJCL Alumni — I’ve played both Scoopy the Bee and Santa at the last two Christmas events for the Marjoree Mason Center — and naturally have assisted with the community involvement of Delta Theta Phi. With the help of the fraternity, I recently saw one “dream” I had become reality: We sponsored a Legal Practice Forum on “Practicing Criminal Law in the Central Valley.” I also enjoy teaching and I therefore tutor SJCL students on weekends whenever asked. (I do not charge for this. I consider it my contribution to their dreams.)

Upon graduation and for the next stage of my life, I look forward to making the dream of becoming a criminal defense attorney, in private practice, a reality. Although there are still times when I pinch myself and/or wonder if it will ever really happen, I’ve learned that dreams are what drive life.

And to that I might add, “How old will you be next year if you don’t follow your dreams?”

Categories: Writing


0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment