Have you ever met a person that has a dream or goal that you know isn’t the ideal thing for them? I run into this a great deal in my career as a social worker. Many times people with mental health issues have a difficult time being realistic about their capabilities. This is also true with teenagers. I never want to squash someone’s dream by telling them that they cannot achieve it; however I do find that there are times I need to point out the draw backs of what their wish might be so they’re not faced with the frustration of not being able to accomplish their goal.
So often I have experienced that people who have been in either the legal system or counseling arena want to be a social worker or attorney. There are many social workers that have experienced a fair share of adversity in their lives and have come into the system to help others overcome similar issues. Likewise many of the juvenile delinquents that I’ve worked with want to be attorneys because of their young exposure to the legal system and a public defender. Many times the rigor of the schooling and the ability to work with people are not thought out when this career choice is made. One of the young men that I worked with had a very difficult time getting along with anyone. He had several juvenile offenses of threatening people and doing property damage to people he didn’t like. He wanted to be an attorney by going through online law school. He thought he would get his undergraduate degree in the same manner. He was quite intelligent so I didn’t doubt that he could do the class work; however I thought he needed to be able to interact with others to work as an attorney.
I encouraged him to tour some campuses as well as to interview some attorneys to find out if any of them had attended online law school. I know that getting a degree in law is very expensive and can also be quite time consuming. The online law school seems like a great option to be able to earn your degree while you’re working a job or raising a family. My concern was that this young man was attracted to the option because it meant he could avoid the interaction with others in a classroom. He talked to his public defender about his goals. The public defender told him he needed to work out his anger issues first because if he didn’t get this under control and continued his behavior as an adult he could not practice law. This has been the motivator to get him into counseling.