Law in Contemporary Society

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Reflections on Splitting

-- By CourtneyDoak - 18 Jul 2012

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 I sat on graduation day thinking: yes, this is what I’ll do with my life; I’ll help children who need advocates. Yet I’d known for months that what I’d actually be doing was beginning a career as a financial analyst at a global investment bank, to work on behalf of the “high net worth” and the “ultra high net worth”.
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Josh’s incisive paper, “External Validation and the Success Trap”, helps shed light on why and how I could mindlessly have accepted this position. Basically, I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life but instead pursued the most “prestigious” job I could find, seeking the external validation I’d receive as a byproduct. I recall the thrill I felt at receiving my offer, my elation at being one of the chosen “lucky few”.
>
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Josh’s incisive paper? , “External Validation and the Success Trap”, helps shed light on why and how I could mindlessly have accepted this position. Basically, I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life but instead pursued the most “prestigious” job I could find, seeking the external validation I’d receive as a byproduct. I recall the thrill I felt at receiving my offer, my elation at being one of the chosen “lucky few”.
 This rush of external validation, however, couldn’t sustain me through the succeeding weeks and months as I continued to forego the career I desired. I wanted to help children in need; yet I spent my days analyzing financial statements. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 15 - 02 Aug 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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Reflections on Splitting

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-- CourtneyDoak - 09 Jul 2012
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-- CourtneyDoak - 02 Aug 2012
 (I would like to continue editing over the summer. Thank you!)

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 14 - 18 Jul 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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Reflections on Splitting

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-- By CourtneyDoak - 09 Jul 2012
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-- By CourtneyDoak - 18 Jul 2012
 

Fissures

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 When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. Because splits are subconscious, I cannot identify precisely when this occurred. What I know is that a time came when I didn’t regularly feel the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. In hindsight I worry I was unconsciously drifting into the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).
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Wholeness - And Fissures, Revisited

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Wholeness - and Fissures, Revisited

 Periodically, my subconscious desires cracked the fašade of complacency. Perhaps this indicates that I hadn’t fully split, hadn’t fully repressed my dissonance; alternatively, perhaps the nagging was in fact my ghost. Either way, I feel fortunate that the strength of my desires pulled me back together and brought me here.
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 Skylar, thank you so much for your comments, I really appreciate them. As I clarified in my paper above, there was not, as far as I can recall, a specific moment where I was shocked awake, or where I had an epiphany that drew me back to law school. I think it's more accurate to say that I periodically felt the nagging of my subconscious desires, which intermittently cracked through my ambivalence and reminded me that this was not the work I was meant to do or to which I wanted to devote my life. What I am not sure of is whether this nagging means I had not entirely repressed my subconscious desires and my cognitive dissonance, and thus had not completely split, or whether this nagging was in fact my ghost, haunting me intermittently and gradually waking me up to the fact that I was not making the kind of difference I wanted to make. Either way, I feel fortunate that the strength of my desires pulled me back together and compelled me to apply to law school. Again, thank you so much for your comments, and for inspiring me to think more deeply about what drew me here.
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-- CourtneyDoak - 18 Jul 2012
 

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Reflections on Splitting


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CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 11 - 09 Jul 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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Reflections on Splitting

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-- By CourtneyDoak - 09 Jul 2012
 
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Fissures

 
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The first seeds of cognitive dissonance that resulted in my split were planted, I think, on the day of my college graduation. Most of the day is painted in broad brushstrokes, but my commencement speech, given by Elie Wiesel, is imprinted in my memory with startling clarity. I recall the goosebumps I felt as I listened, captivated, humbled by the privilege of hearing him speak.
 
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Fissures

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"You can do something", Wiesel told us, "even for one person. There must be on this planet at least one person who needs you. One person you can help. Don’t turn away; help".
 
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The first seeds of cognitive dissonance that resulted in my split were planted, I think, on the day of my college graduation. My memories of the sights and feelings of that day are vague, painted in broad brushstrokes. The sounds I remember more clearly, particularly the words of our commencement speaker, Elie Wiesel. I recall the goosebumps I felt as I listened, captivated by his message, humbled by the privilege of hearing him speak.
>
>
For those minutes I sat, inspired by Wiesel, who suffered through and survived the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust, who subsequently devoted his life to humanitarian efforts, to replacing intolerance with understanding, replacing indifference with compassion.
 
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“You will learn you can do something,” Wiesel told us, “even for one person. There must be on this planet at least one person who needs you. One person you can help. Don’t turn away; help."
>
>
I wrote my law school personal statement about how I was riveted by the powerful simplicity of Wiesel’s message, how I understood the capacity each of us has to help someone in a way that changes that person’s life entirely. I wrote about how the lawyer who advocated for my sisters and me freed us from abuse and instilled in me a fierce desire to do the same for other children similarly victimized.
 
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For those minutes I sat, inspired by Wiesel, who has seen the worst of humanity, who suffered through and survived the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust, who subsequently devoted his life to humanitarian efforts, to replacing intolerance with understanding, replacing indifference with compassion.
>
>
All of this is true: Wiesel’s words on graduation day succinctly capture why I came to law school two years later. However, this class made me acutely aware that my personal statement failed to explore my choices in the interim. I seek now to reflect on those decisions to better understand myself and to illuminate the path to a legal career about which I’m passionate.
 
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I wrote my law school personal statement about how I was riveted by the powerful simplicity of Wiesel’s message, how I understood the capacity that each of us has to help someone in a way that changes that person’s life entirely. I wrote about how the lawyer who advocated for my sisters and me freed us from abuse and instilled in me a fierce desire to do the same for other children similarly victimized.
 
Changed:
<
<
All of this is true – Wiesel’s words that day succinctly capture why I was drawn to law school two years later. However, this class made me acutely aware that my personal statement failed to explore why I did what I did every day during those two years. I seek now to reflect on those choices, to better understand myself and hopefully to illuminate the path to a legal career about which I’m passionate.
>
>

Pre-Split: External Validation

 
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Split

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I sat on graduation day thinking: yes, this is what I’ll do with my life; I’ll help children who need advocates. Yet I’d known for months that what I’d actually be doing was beginning a career as a financial analyst at a global investment bank, to work on behalf of the “high net worth” and the “ultra high net worth”.
 
Changed:
<
<
I sat on graduation day thinking: yes, this is what I will do with my life; I will help children who need advocates. Yet I had, months prior, accepted a position as a financial analyst at a global investment bank, to work on behalf of the “high net worth” and the “ultra high net worth”.
>
>
Josh’s incisive paper, “External Validation and the Success Trap”, helps shed light on why and how I could mindlessly have accepted this position. Basically, I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life but instead pursued the most “prestigious” job I could find, seeking the external validation I’d receive as a byproduct. I recall the thrill I felt at receiving my offer, my elation at being one of the chosen “lucky few”.
 
Changed:
<
<
I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life, but instead I spent my days analyzing financial statements, plugging numbers into Excel. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.
>
>
This rush of external validation, however, couldn’t sustain me through the succeeding weeks and months as I continued to forego the career I desired. I wanted to help children in need; yet I spent my days analyzing financial statements. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.

Split

 
Changed:
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Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some (extremely) attenuated way, I’d inevitably think seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
>
>
Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, meet their financial goals. But even if I’m helping them in some (extremely) attenuated way, I’d inevitably think seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
 
Changed:
<
<
At some point, those thoughts – mental uneasiness, rationalizations to mollify my subconscious, my mind’s rejection of these rationalizations – ceased. I just began going to work, ambivalent but not consciously dissatisfied.
>
>
At some point, those thoughts – mental uneasiness, rationalizations to mollify my subconscious, my mind’s rejection of these rationalizations – ceased. I just went to work, ambivalent but not consciously dissatisfied.
 
Changed:
<
<
Reading “Something Split” in Lawyerland, wherein Wylie (quoting a psychiatrist) describes the process of splitting, was enlightening in helping me understand my experience. Lawyers must “do things, be part of things, [they] don’t want to be a part of. [They] have to pretend to be what [they're] not” (Joseph 41), and consequently, cognitive dissonance takes root. This dissonance is sometimes eliminated through repression of the dissonance-causing thoughts, followed by dissociation – a psychic split.
>
>
Reading “Something Split” in Lawyerland was enlightening in helping me understand my experience. Lawyers, Wylie explains, must “do things, be part of things, [they] don’t want to be a part of” (Joseph 41). Consequently, cognitive dissonance takes root. This dissonance is sometimes eliminated through repression of the dissonance-causing thoughts, followed by dissociation – a psychic split.

When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. Because splits are subconscious, I cannot identify precisely when this occurred. What I know is that a time came when I didn’t regularly feel the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. In hindsight I worry I was unconsciously drifting into the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).

 
Deleted:
<
<
When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. I cannot identify when, precisely, this occurred, likely because these splits are subconscious. What I know is that a time came when I no longer regularly felt the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. Mental peace made things easier. In hindsight I worry that I was unconsciously traveling down the road to the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).
 

Wholeness - And Fissures, Revisited

Changed:
<
<
Periodically, however, my subconscious desires cracked the fašade of my complacency. Perhaps this indicates that I hadn’t fully split, hadn’t fully repressed my dissonance. Alternatively, perhaps the nagging was in fact my ghost, a manifestation of everything I wanted to be. Either way, I feel fortunate that, unlike the narrator in Bartleby, the strength of my desires pulled me back together and brought me here.
>
>
Periodically, my subconscious desires cracked the fašade of complacency. Perhaps this indicates that I hadn’t fully split, hadn’t fully repressed my dissonance; alternatively, perhaps the nagging was in fact my ghost. Either way, I feel fortunate that the strength of my desires pulled me back together and brought me here.

During 1L year, I grew increasingly anxious trying to stick to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I work at a firm until I pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?

 
Changed:
<
<
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I postpone my true ambitions, work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
>
>
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, particularly because I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, splitting again, unconsciously living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
 
Deleted:
<
<
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, splitting once more, unconsciously living an eminently safe life, haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
 

The Way Forward

Changed:
<
<
Reflecting on my career path to date has made me more self-aware of the limits of my rationality, and has imparted greater understanding of how I will take control of my life within the parameters of those limits. Ultimately I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, which so inspired me at graduation.
>
>
Reflecting on my career path to date has made me more self-aware of the limits of my rationality, and has imparted greater understanding of how to take control of my life within the parameters of those limits. Ultimately I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, which so inspired me at graduation.
 For me the rationalizations fall away and it becomes easier to stay conscious and whole, on the right side of justice, when I realize there is at least one person - one future client - who I can help.

Essentially, that client is me. She is a child, or many children, in whom I see the reflection of my scared, helpless ten-year-old self. And so I will pursue a career on the right side so I may help those children, give them a voice where they might otherwise be rendered silent, just as somebody once did for me.

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-- CourtneyDoak - 27 Apr 2012
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(997)

-- CourtneyDoak - 09 Jul 2012

 (I would like to continue editing over the summer. Thank you!)

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 10 - 25 Jun 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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Reflections on Splitting


CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 9 - 15 Jun 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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Reflections on Splitting


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Reflections on Splitting

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Fissures

Changed:
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The first seeds of cognitive dissonance that resulted in my split were planted, I think, on the day of my college graduation. My memories of the sights and feelings of that day are vague, painted in broad brushstrokes. The sounds I recall more clearly, particularly the words of our commencement speaker, Elie Wiesel. I recall the goosebumps I felt as I listened, captivated by his message, humbled by the privilege of hearing him speak.
>
>
The first seeds of cognitive dissonance that resulted in my split were planted, I think, on the day of my college graduation. My memories of the sights and feelings of that day are vague, painted in broad brushstrokes. The sounds I remember more clearly, particularly the words of our commencement speaker, Elie Wiesel. I recall the goosebumps I felt as I listened, captivated by his message, humbled by the privilege of hearing him speak.
 “You will learn you can do something,” Wiesel told us, “even for one person. There must be on this planet at least one person who needs you. One person you can help. Don’t turn away; help."
Line: 28 to 28
 At some point, those thoughts – mental uneasiness, rationalizations to mollify my subconscious, my mind’s rejection of these rationalizations – ceased. I just began going to work, ambivalent but not consciously dissatisfied.
Changed:
<
<
Reading “Something Split” in Lawyerland, wherein Wylie (quoting a psychiatrist) describes the process of splitting, was enlightening in helping me understand my experience. Lawyers must “do things, be part of things, you don’t want to be a part of. You have to pretend to be what you’re not” (Joseph 41), and consequently, cognitive dissonance takes root. This dissonance is sometimes eliminated through repression of the dissonance-causing thoughts, followed by dissociation – a psychic split.
>
>
Reading “Something Split” in Lawyerland, wherein Wylie (quoting a psychiatrist) describes the process of splitting, was enlightening in helping me understand my experience. Lawyers must “do things, be part of things, [they] don’t want to be a part of. [They] have to pretend to be what [they're] not” (Joseph 41), and consequently, cognitive dissonance takes root. This dissonance is sometimes eliminated through repression of the dissonance-causing thoughts, followed by dissociation – a psychic split.
 When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. I cannot identify when, precisely, this occurred, likely because these splits are subconscious. What I know is that a time came when I no longer regularly felt the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. Mental peace made things easier. In hindsight I worry that I was unconsciously traveling down the road to the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).
Line: 52 to 52
 -- CourtneyDoak - 27 Apr 2012
Added:
>
>
(I would like to continue editing over the summer. Thank you!)
 

This is a beautifully written and compelling story. It's concise and relatable, yet has hidden beauty/emotion poking through in certain words and sentences (e.g. "Essentially the client is me"). As a reader what I was left wondering was how you realized you had split, or rather, what made you quit your job and want to come back to law school? If you were ambivalent about your work, was there something that shocked you awake or made you realize that you were cognitively dissonant, and thus encouraged you to apply to law school? If there was maybe this really was an instance of seeing your ghost?? I really enjoyed reading this and appreciate you sharing -- SkylarPolansky - 25 Apr 2012


CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 7 - 27 Apr 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

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 I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life, but instead I spent my days analyzing financial statements, plugging numbers into Excel. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.
Changed:
<
<
Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that the time I spent working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some (extremely) attenuated way, I’d inevitably think seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
>
>
Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some (extremely) attenuated way, I’d inevitably think seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
 At some point, those thoughts – mental uneasiness, rationalizations to mollify my subconscious, my mind’s rejection of these rationalizations – ceased. I just began going to work, ambivalent but not consciously dissatisfied.

Reading “Something Split” in Lawyerland, wherein Wylie (quoting a psychiatrist) describes the process of splitting, was enlightening in helping me understand my experience. Lawyers must “do things, be part of things, you don’t want to be a part of. You have to pretend to be what you’re not” (Joseph 41), and consequently, cognitive dissonance takes root. This dissonance is sometimes eliminated through repression of the dissonance-causing thoughts, followed by dissociation – a psychic split.

Changed:
<
<
When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. I cannot identify when, precisely, this occurred, likely because these splits are subconscious. What I know is that a time came when I no longer felt the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. Mental peace made things easier. In hindsight I worry that I was unconsciously traveling down the road to the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).
>
>
When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. I cannot identify when, precisely, this occurred, likely because these splits are subconscious. What I know is that a time came when I no longer regularly felt the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. Mental peace made things easier. In hindsight I worry that I was unconsciously traveling down the road to the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).
 

Wholeness - And Fissures, Revisited

Changed:
<
<
Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires of what I want to do for my life’s work, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.
>
>
Periodically, however, my subconscious desires cracked the fašade of my complacency. Perhaps this indicates that I hadn’t fully split, hadn’t fully repressed my dissonance. Alternatively, perhaps the nagging was in fact my ghost, a manifestation of everything I wanted to be. Either way, I feel fortunate that, unlike the narrator in Bartleby, the strength of my desires pulled me back together and brought me here.
 Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I postpone my true ambitions, work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
Changed:
<
<
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, splitting once more, unconsciously living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
>
>
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, splitting once more, unconsciously living an eminently safe life, haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
 

The Way Forward

Changed:
<
<
Reflecting on my career path to date has made me more self-aware of the limits of my rationality, and has imparted greater understanding of how I will take control of my life within the parameters of those limits. Ultimately I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, the words that inspired me at graduation.
>
>
Reflecting on my career path to date has made me more self-aware of the limits of my rationality, and has imparted greater understanding of how I will take control of my life within the parameters of those limits. Ultimately I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, which so inspired me at graduation.
 
Changed:
<
<
For me the rationalizations fall away and it becomes easier to stay conscious and whole, on the right side of justice, when I realize there is in fact at least one person - one future client - who I can help.
>
>
For me the rationalizations fall away and it becomes easier to stay conscious and whole, on the right side of justice, when I realize there is at least one person - one future client - who I can help.
 Essentially, that client is me. She is a child, or many children, in whom I see the reflection of my scared, helpless ten-year-old self. And so I will pursue a career on the right side so I may help those children, give them a voice where they might otherwise be rendered silent, just as somebody once did for me.
Changed:
<
<
(998)
>
>
(999)
 
Changed:
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-- CourtneyDoak - 24 Apr 2012
>
>
-- CourtneyDoak - 27 Apr 2012
 

This is a beautifully written and compelling story. It's concise and relatable, yet has hidden beauty/emotion poking through in certain words and sentences (e.g. "Essentially the client is me"). As a reader what I was left wondering was how you realized you had split, or rather, what made you quit your job and want to come back to law school? If you were ambivalent about your work, was there something that shocked you awake or made you realize that you were cognitively dissonant, and thus encouraged you to apply to law school? If there was maybe this really was an instance of seeing your ghost?? I really enjoyed reading this and appreciate you sharing -- SkylarPolansky - 25 Apr 2012

Added:
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>
Skylar, thank you so much for your comments, I really appreciate them. As I clarified in my paper above, there was not, as far as I can recall, a specific moment where I was shocked awake, or where I had an epiphany that drew me back to law school. I think it's more accurate to say that I periodically felt the nagging of my subconscious desires, which intermittently cracked through my ambivalence and reminded me that this was not the work I was meant to do or to which I wanted to devote my life. What I am not sure of is whether this nagging means I had not entirely repressed my subconscious desires and my cognitive dissonance, and thus had not completely split, or whether this nagging was in fact my ghost, haunting me intermittently and gradually waking me up to the fact that I was not making the kind of difference I wanted to make. Either way, I feel fortunate that the strength of my desires pulled me back together and compelled me to apply to law school. Again, thank you so much for your comments, and for inspiring me to think more deeply about what drew me here.

-- CourtneyDoak - 27 Apr 2012

 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 6 - 26 Apr 2012 - Main.SkylarPolansky
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META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

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 -- CourtneyDoak - 24 Apr 2012
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This is a beautifully written and compelling story. It's concise and relatable, yet has hidden beauty/emotion poking through in certain words and sentences (e.g. "Essentially the client is me"). As a reader what I was left wondering was how you realized you had split, or rather, what made you quit your job and want to come back to law school? If you were ambivalent about your work, was there something that shocked you awake or made you realize that you were cognitively dissonant, and thus encouraged you to apply to law school? If there was maybe this really was an instance of seeing your ghost?? I really enjoyed reading this and appreciate you sharing -- SkylarPolansky - 25 Apr 2012

 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable.

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 5 - 25 Apr 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
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META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

Line: 35 to 35
 Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires of what I want to do for my life’s work, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.
Changed:
<
<
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I postpone my true ambitions, work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
>
>
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I postpone my true ambitions, work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
 I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, splitting once more, unconsciously living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 4 - 25 Apr 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

Line: 33 to 33
 

Wholeness - And Fissures, Revisited

Changed:
<
<
Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires as to what I want my life’s work to be, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.
>
>
Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires of what I want to do for my life’s work, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.
 Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I postpone my true ambitions, work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 3 - 24 Apr 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

Line: 21 to 21
 I sat on graduation day thinking: yes, this is what I will do with my life; I will help children who need advocates. Yet I had, months prior, accepted a position as a financial analyst at a global investment bank, to work on behalf of the “high net worth” and the “ultra high net worth”.
Changed:
<
<
And so I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life, but instead I spent my days analyzing financial statements, plugging numbers into Excel. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.
>
>
I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life, but instead I spent my days analyzing financial statements, plugging numbers into Excel. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.
 Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that the time I spent working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some (extremely) attenuated way, I’d inevitably think seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
Line: 35 to 35
 Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires as to what I want my life’s work to be, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.
Changed:
<
<
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
>
>
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I postpone my true ambitions, work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
 
Changed:
<
<
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, by the possibility of subconsciously splitting once more, living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
>
>
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, splitting once more, unconsciously living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
 

The Way Forward

Changed:
<
<
Our class discourse has made me more self-aware of my career choices to date; I have greater clarity and understanding of my journey. As such my anxiety has somewhat eased as I re-focus on why I split before and how to avoid splitting again – and I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, the words that inspired me at graduation.
>
>
Reflecting on my career path to date has made me more self-aware of the limits of my rationality, and has imparted greater understanding of how I will take control of my life within the parameters of those limits. Ultimately I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, the words that inspired me at graduation.
 
Changed:
<
<
Rationalizations fall away; it becomes easier to stay on the ‘right’ side of justice, when I realize that there is in fact at least one person, one future client, I can help.
>
>
For me the rationalizations fall away and it becomes easier to stay conscious and whole, on the right side of justice, when I realize there is in fact at least one person - one future client - who I can help.
 
Changed:
<
<
Essentially, that client is me. She is a child, or many children, in whom I see the reflection of my scared, helpless ten-year-old self. So ultimately, I will pursue a career on the right side so I may help those children, give them a voice where they might otherwise be rendered silent, just as somebody once did for me.
>
>
Essentially, that client is me. She is a child, or many children, in whom I see the reflection of my scared, helpless ten-year-old self. And so I will pursue a career on the right side so I may help those children, give them a voice where they might otherwise be rendered silent, just as somebody once did for me.
 (998)

CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 2 - 24 Apr 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

Line: 15 to 15
 I wrote my law school personal statement about how I was riveted by the powerful simplicity of Wiesel’s message, how I understood the capacity that each of us has to help someone in a way that changes that person’s life entirely. I wrote about how the lawyer who advocated for my sisters and me freed us from abuse and instilled in me a fierce desire to do the same for other children similarly victimized.
Changed:
<
<
All of this is true – Wiesel’s words that day succinctly capture why I was drawn to law school two years later. However, this class made me acutely aware that my personal statement failed to explore why I did what I did every day for those two years. I seek now to reflect on those choices, to better understand myself and hopefully to illuminate the path to a legal career about which I’m passionate.
>
>
All of this is true – Wiesel’s words that day succinctly capture why I was drawn to law school two years later. However, this class made me acutely aware that my personal statement failed to explore why I did what I did every day during those two years. I seek now to reflect on those choices, to better understand myself and hopefully to illuminate the path to a legal career about which I’m passionate.
 

Split

Line: 23 to 23
 And so I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life, but instead I spent my days analyzing financial statements, plugging numbers into Excel. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.
Changed:
<
<
Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that the time I spent working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some attenuated way, I’d inevitably think to myself seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
>
>
Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that the time I spent working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some (extremely) attenuated way, I’d inevitably think seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.
 At some point, those thoughts – mental uneasiness, rationalizations to mollify my subconscious, my mind’s rejection of these rationalizations – ceased. I just began going to work, ambivalent but not consciously dissatisfied.
Line: 35 to 35
 Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires as to what I want my life’s work to be, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.
Changed:
<
<
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I work at a firm a couple years, pay off loans, then do what I came here to do?
>
>
Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I work at a firm a couple years, pay off my loans, then do what I came here to do?
 
Changed:
<
<
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially after realizing that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, by the possibility of subconsciously splitting once more, living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
>
>
I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially upon realization that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, by the possibility of subconsciously splitting once more, living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.
 

The Way Forward


CourtneyDoakSecondPaper 1 - 24 Apr 2012 - Main.CourtneyDoak
Line: 1 to 1
Added:
>
>
META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Reflections on Splitting

-- By CourtneyDoak - 24 Apr 2012

Fissures

The first seeds of cognitive dissonance that resulted in my split were planted, I think, on the day of my college graduation. My memories of the sights and feelings of that day are vague, painted in broad brushstrokes. The sounds I recall more clearly, particularly the words of our commencement speaker, Elie Wiesel. I recall the goosebumps I felt as I listened, captivated by his message, humbled by the privilege of hearing him speak.

“You will learn you can do something,” Wiesel told us, “even for one person. There must be on this planet at least one person who needs you. One person you can help. Don’t turn away; help."

For those minutes I sat, inspired by Wiesel, who has seen the worst of humanity, who suffered through and survived the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust, who subsequently devoted his life to humanitarian efforts, to replacing intolerance with understanding, replacing indifference with compassion.

I wrote my law school personal statement about how I was riveted by the powerful simplicity of Wiesel’s message, how I understood the capacity that each of us has to help someone in a way that changes that person’s life entirely. I wrote about how the lawyer who advocated for my sisters and me freed us from abuse and instilled in me a fierce desire to do the same for other children similarly victimized.

All of this is true – Wiesel’s words that day succinctly capture why I was drawn to law school two years later. However, this class made me acutely aware that my personal statement failed to explore why I did what I did every day for those two years. I seek now to reflect on those choices, to better understand myself and hopefully to illuminate the path to a legal career about which I’m passionate.

Split

I sat on graduation day thinking: yes, this is what I will do with my life; I will help children who need advocates. Yet I had, months prior, accepted a position as a financial analyst at a global investment bank, to work on behalf of the “high net worth” and the “ultra high net worth”.

And so I graduated with a clear conception of the work to which I wanted to devote my life, but instead I spent my days analyzing financial statements, plugging numbers into Excel. I felt discomfort from the dissonance of these realities.

Initially, I attempted to reframe my perception of my behaviors. I rationalized that the time I spent working on the seventh iteration of a Powerpoint slide was ultimately helping our clients, somehow, to meet their financial goals. But even if I am helping them, in some attenuated way, I’d inevitably think to myself seconds later, they certainly aren’t the ones I’m passionate about helping.

At some point, those thoughts – mental uneasiness, rationalizations to mollify my subconscious, my mind’s rejection of these rationalizations – ceased. I just began going to work, ambivalent but not consciously dissatisfied.

Reading “Something Split” in Lawyerland, wherein Wylie (quoting a psychiatrist) describes the process of splitting, was enlightening in helping me understand my experience. Lawyers must “do things, be part of things, you don’t want to be a part of. You have to pretend to be what you’re not” (Joseph 41), and consequently, cognitive dissonance takes root. This dissonance is sometimes eliminated through repression of the dissonance-causing thoughts, followed by dissociation – a psychic split.

When my first psychic defense mechanism (reframing my perceptions) failed, I think, perhaps, that I split. I cannot identify when, precisely, this occurred, likely because these splits are subconscious. What I know is that a time came when I no longer felt the crushing heaviness of my dissonance. Mental peace made things easier. In hindsight I worry that I was unconsciously traveling down the road to the easiest way of life, the narrator’s route in “Bartleby, The Scrivener”, a life where others would characterize me as “eminently safe” (Melville 1).

Wholeness - And Fissures, Revisited

Unlike the narrator in Bartleby, I never saw a ghost, a manifestation of my split, a representation of everything I wanted to be. I feel fortunate that perhaps I hadn't fully repressed or split from my desires as to what I want my life’s work to be, and so the strength of these desires pulled me back together.

Since beginning law school, I have grown increasingly anxious in trying to stay true to my convictions, to pursue work in children’s rights upon graduation. As the reality of financial burden set in, I made hypothetical compromises: what if I work at a firm a couple years, pay off loans, then do what I came here to do?

I recognized the irrationality of these compromises, especially after realizing that I've already been down this road: dissonance, rationalizations, splitting, coming back together. I was disconcerted by the possibility of beginning this cycle anew, by the possibility of subconsciously splitting once more, living an eminently safe life haunted by a ghost I cannot see.

The Way Forward

Our class discourse has made me more self-aware of my career choices to date; I have greater clarity and understanding of my journey. As such my anxiety has somewhat eased as I re-focus on why I split before and how to avoid splitting again – and I think the answer lies in Elie Wiesel’s message, the words that inspired me at graduation.

Rationalizations fall away; it becomes easier to stay on the ‘right’ side of justice, when I realize that there is in fact at least one person, one future client, I can help.

Essentially, that client is me. She is a child, or many children, in whom I see the reflection of my scared, helpless ten-year-old self. So ultimately, I will pursue a career on the right side so I may help those children, give them a voice where they might otherwise be rendered silent, just as somebody once did for me.

(998)

-- CourtneyDoak - 24 Apr 2012


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