While I told everyone growing up that I was going to law school, I found that I really liked researching legal aspects of psychology, like jury decision making and eyewitness memories. Still very law-related, but this path led me toward grad school, not law school. So the plan changed my sophomore year of college. I decided to pursue a PhD and planned everything out so perfectly. Well, then I got into a masters program, rather than a PhD. Plan changed again, but to me it was merely a 2 year delay and then I'd go on with the same plan. Funny thing though, that didn't work either.
I (over-zealously) applied to 9 PhD programs that fit my interests, including one joint program with a law school. FYI, PhD programs are tough to get in to, often taking only 1-5 new students each year. After being wait-listed at 2 programs, I was eventually rejected from all of them. I was surprised how I handled it all though. After years of planning, paying for an out-of-state (read: uber expensive) masters degree in hopes of bettering my chances, and agonizing over the application process, I just felt mostly nothing. I think I felt that there was nothing I could control about it, so why freak out.
I did apply to law schools since my interests are so closely related to law and I can pretty much reach my same goals through law. I got in to several law schools, and as I mentioned in my update post, chose to go with it. The world certainly didn't, and still doesn't, make that decision easy though. I hear daily on the news, on Twitter, everywhere that the legal profession is terrible, law school is terrible, none of it is worth it, everyone hates it, etc. I never hear anything positive about law, so you'd think I'd be in freak out mode about changing to this path/plan.
But to this day I'm still surprised that I just kept moving forward instead of having a complete meltdown when my plans didn't work. Mr. Puma's theory is that I haven't had a chance to have a meltdown yet. I found out while I was wrapping up my masters thesis and finals, then we had 3 weeks to move from Florida to Oklahoma before I jumped right in to the law summer session. But I've been on break from law school for about 3 weeks now and still, no meltdown. Maybe it'll hit me in November when I've been mangled by the stress of law school right before exams. Or maybe I've reached a point in life where I can be more accepting of change and failed plans and the meltdown just isn't coming.
While I am realistic and I understand that it's tough to get a job in any field, law included, and that salaries aren't what they used to be, I also understand there's just not a lot I can control to change things. If I want to achieve my goals, I need to get a PhD or a JD, and the world said no to the PhD. So I accept that and I plan to work as hard as I possibly can to control the things within my power, like grades and other decisions, to keep the outcome as I want despite the change in my plans and the dire circumstances in the legal world.
Basically the moral of the story is that there are things in life you can't control or change. You can plan all you want, but pieces of your plan will always be dependent on someone else or some extraneous circumstance. So even super planners like me must learn to accept reality. Plans fail, life changes, but the world keeps turning and your life keeps going. At the end of the day, those who can accept that and adapt will be the ones that succeed and enjoy life. I choose to accept it, because I choose to enjoy my life, no matter how it goes.