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“$350,000 In Debt And Near Poverty-Level Income.”

This does not have to be you.

Laura Shin, of graduation-picForbes.com, recently published a cautionary tale of one woman’s struggle with mountains of student loan debt.

Prior to obtaining her JD from Pepperdine Law School in 2009, the woman attended graduate film school at USC and before that she paid off her undergraduate debt as a media freelancer.  She now struggles to raise a child as a solo practitioner in the Midwest earning about 20k a year. She’s currently on food stamps.

Read the full article here.  The comments show the broad range of reaction to the woman’s predicament.

To be sure, her choices are a little infuriating, but her situation is not unheard of in a world where it makes some sense to enroll in grad school to escape the burden, at least temporarily, of student loan debt payments.

To a certain extent I relate to this woman.  I too faced a large amount of debt from school loans incurred from too many years as an artsy undergraduate bouncing in and out of different colleges, finally obtaining my BA in film from UCLA, but with thousands of dollars of loan debt, and only crappy job options.  A part of my decision to enroll in law school was to escape that debt, if just for a few years.

But the similarities between my experience and that of the woman in Shin’s article ended at law school.  I entered law school with an attitude that was different than I had ever had before.  I treated law school from day one as a profession.  Every action I took was deliberate. From day one this strategy paid off.

Getting a law degree is expensive and would be lawyers need to take finances into account when deciding whether or not to enroll.  But this is a positive, not a negative, and you should use it to propel you, once you decide to go for it.

You do not have the luxury in law school to be anything less than extraordinary.  I am a firm believer, based on my own experience, that what happened to this woman does not have to happen to you.  Let me show you how.

Author Rachel Gezerseh

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