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Wakatta
January 31st, 2009, 18:06
Digital space is cheap, so.

I'm 24. I'll be 25 this year. I worked for a year and a half before JET, and I'll have been here for another year and a half in August. My plan is to go to law school after this.

Do I stay (recontract) or go (not recontract)?

I have a kickass placement. It's a lot of fun! I feel like I'm having a positive impact. My Japanese is like intermediate right now, and I'd like to get fluent. I'm so-so on law school: it's the only reasonable career choice I see, and I think it could lead to interesting and worthwhile things. I have a few acceptances already, and hope I get more; they're good schools. I might be able to get a deferral for a year. I think the BoE and schools here like me; they'd probably prefer I recontracted. (?) I also heard that apparently they kind of "expect" people to go a second year. But I don't think they'd be all that sad or inconvenienced if I left.

The real question is: is it okay to wait ... 4 years after graduation to get a move on one's real career? Is 3 already too much?

Obviously, it's a personal choice, but I'd be curious to hear people's random thoughts. I can't give you a penny, but if you ask, I'll give you a funny lolcat for your vote.

Tegan
January 31st, 2009, 22:10
Don't worry about what other people think is acceptable or not. If you are happy here then stay another year if you aren't then go to law school. one year at this stage in your life won't make much of a difference one way or another. I don't think it "looks bad" to stay here for several years if you are happy and doing what you want. It is still a great experience that many people will wish they had when you are in law school ;)

kiwimusume
January 31st, 2009, 22:30
Flip a coin? :P

wicket
February 1st, 2009, 00:02
Stay. A year is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Now can I have my lol cat? Something law-school related would be good.

reed
February 1st, 2009, 05:17
If you're fretting over your age at 24, it's just going to get worse. You're going to hate yourself at 26 if you feel you haven't "moved ahead", and no matter the circumstances, you'll get no sympathy from anyone age 27 and up. Think of how silly it sounds when a 19-year-old complains to you that she's getting too old to start her real career, or the part-time high school kid who openly gripes to managers and coworkers that he's waiting too long to do... whatever it was we used to care about in high school. You're a toddler in the work world! Not only that, you're worried that you're losing ground in terms of college! College never goes out of business! When you get to law school do you think you'll be the oldest kid in class?

We either make it or we don't in life, but human nature is to evaluate whether we're making it in life THIS MOMENT -- and to believe that all our choices are right when we're doing well, and by all measures you're doing well. It's great to be ambitious, but later when you're having a bad month at law school or a bad year trying to get into a firm, or perhaps finding no job in your field at all, you'll be doing the other thing, feeling like you gave up something better. Assuming the worst, leave now and you're denied reapplication for a decade, and what does THAT say about your career if in 2018 you're considering JET again.

Stay.

Wakatta
February 1st, 2009, 08:02
Stay. A year is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Now can I have my lol cat? Something law-school related would be good.

Okay! Sure.

Wakatta
February 1st, 2009, 08:06
I'm surprised to hear so many "stays". I got much the same reply from friends on Facebook.

I guess the big question is whether or not I can get a deferral from the schools that have accepted me. But I'm now I'm seriously considering recontracting.

It's kind of a "choosing between two good things" sort of affair.

I mean, yeah, I'd love to be back in the US. But Japan could also be fun. It's pretty nice having a job this easy! On the other hand, there's something to be said for not kicking back too much.

Man, I don't know. I'll have to think about this some more. I guess I'll write to the schools I've heard back from and see what they're thinking in terms of if I could get a deferral or not.

Yeti99
February 1st, 2009, 21:47
Just to clarify, were you accepted to law school, and deferred it for JET? Or are you just planning on applying to law school?

Wakatta
February 1st, 2009, 21:57
Just to clarify, were you accepted to law school, and deferred it for JET? Or are you just planning on applying to law school?

I've been accepted to a couple law schools. I haven't yet asked for or been granted deferral yet. I'm going to do that this Tuesday Japan-time. A great deal of my angst comes from the fact that I'm not too hopeful that I'll get a deferral: at least not at both of the schools I've currently heard from (Michigan and Northwestern -- Michigan at the very least is probably going to say "no"). In which case: do I lose my top pick for law school? Do I re-apply? (the latter is a particularly dread prospect in my mind.) I dunno.

It's kind of stupid, because law schools almost always grant Peace Corps deferrals. But my friend who's doing the Peace Corps says that her job is basically identical to an ALTs: she sits behind a desk doing -nothing- all day. Actually, I think the average ALT does more useful stuff and provides more irreplaceable services.

Yeti99
February 1st, 2009, 22:08
Those are some pretty good schools! Congrats to you. If it means losing your top pick, I would drop JET in a heartbeat and go to school. If they do grant deferral, stay on JET, study your J-go, take advantage of the crazy exchange rate to send buckets of yen home, and enjoy your last year of playtime before life starts kicking you in the ass.

wicket
February 1st, 2009, 22:31
Thanks for my LOL cat - he was purrfect.
I honestly think whichever way you go you can be happy with the decision, so just make it and don't look back wondering what might have been.

And Reed - there are worse things you can do than take a break from your career to have a second bite at the JET cherry. Best thing I ever did in terms of renewing my enthusiasm for real teaching, plus getting to spend a ton more time with my husband and make some more friends.

Wakatta
February 1st, 2009, 22:39
Those are some pretty good schools! Congrats to you. If it means losing your top pick, I would drop JET in a heartbeat and go to school. If they do grant deferral, stay on JET, study your J-go, take advantage of the crazy exchange rate to send buckets of yen home, and enjoy your last year of playtime before life starts kicking you in the ass.

Thanks! That's the direction I've been leaning. One thing that makes it tricky is that I'm not wildly in favor of Michigan over Northwestern...they're ranked equally, and while each have things in their favor (and truth be told I like Michigan a bit better), I'm sure I'd be happy at either.


Thanks for my LOL cat - he was purrfect.
I honestly think whichever way you go you can be happy with the decision, so just make it and don't look back wondering what might have been.

Wicket is wise! That is a very good point, and one I will keep in mind.

ohannasaurus
February 2nd, 2009, 15:24
wow! congrats on your acceptances! :]

I think it's only reckless to stay if you have no idea what you want to do. (like me... oops.) you've obviously got your act together. although I don't know what re-application processes are like, it seems like you're an intelligent person who won't have a difficult time, especially not the second time around. good luck with whatever you decide!

Wakatta
February 5th, 2009, 07:21
Update: Michigan granted my deferral. Gah! My prelaw advisor thinks I should really get going, but admitted it'd probably be okay to do another year.

Myself, I'm now tilting towards leaving. I think 6 months might be enough to get at least some okay Japanese skills, which I could polish on the side at Michigan. It's true the difference between graduating law school at 28 vs. 29 isn't -that- great, but ... eh ... it's hard to say if I really want another year and a half of JET. Law school could be really exciting in that I've been itching to go back to studying for a while now. There's also an outside possibility that Berkeley will accept me, and I really doubt they'd give me a deferral.

Wicket's right, of course, that either way is fine, but...man. Not an easy decision coming up tomorrow.

kiwimusume
February 6th, 2009, 13:31
So what'd you do in the end?

Wakatta
February 6th, 2009, 17:54
So what'd you do in the end?

I agonized over it for a while. I had a sinking feeling that I was never going to be sure. But eventually, I think I figured it out. I actually didn't sign the paper today (they're having us sign on Monday for some reason? didn't really ask details), but I know what I'm going to say. I am, regretfully, leaving Japan this August. It's true that it's an awesome placement, but I feel really restless, and I want to get going on what will probably be my career. I like it here, but even now I can feel myself getting sort of tired of it in some respects. I'm now pretty certain that, yeah, it's time to head back. Sure, it's cushy and mostly fun, and I feel like I'm doing something useful, but that in itself is not in my mind enough. If I stayed, I think I'd be really regretting it in six months or a year. So instead, I'm just going to absolutely attack J-Go for the next five months, and make the most of my time here, then go and get moving on law school.

tl;dr version: To use Dombay's wise analogy, I don't want to live on the moon.

Thanks for all the advice, though, everyone! It really helped me figure this out.

oip
February 10th, 2009, 05:49
If you're fretting over your age at 24, it's just going to get worse. You're going to hate yourself at 26 if you feel you haven't "moved ahead", and no matter the circumstances, you'll get no sympathy from anyone age 27 and up. Think of how silly it sounds when a 19-year-old complains to you that she's getting too old to start her real career, or the part-time high school kid who openly gripes to managers and coworkers that he's waiting too long to do... whatever it was we used to care about in high school. You're a toddler in the work world! Not only that, you're worried that you're losing ground in terms of college! College never goes out of business! When you get to law school do you think you'll be the oldest kid in class?

We either make it or we don't in life, but human nature is to evaluate whether we're making it in life THIS MOMENT -- and to believe that all our choices are right when we're doing well, and by all measures you're doing well. It's great to be ambitious, but later when you're having a bad month at law school or a bad year trying to get into a firm, or perhaps finding no job in your field at all, you'll be doing the other thing, feeling like you gave up something better. Assuming the worst, leave now and you're denied reapplication for a decade, and what does THAT say about your career if in 2018 you're considering JET again.

Stay.

100% correct. When I went to grad school to get an MS/MBA in Television Management I thought I'd be old. Let me tell you how there are 3 categories of people going to business school.

1) Older, experienced people who want to improve their careers. Often they are subsidized by their jobs. 20%
2) 23-28 year old children of rich parents who have little real work experience and no life experience. Many of them buy their way in from foreign countries. 55%
3) Younger professionals with some work experience who are trying to skip a chunk of the corporate climb. They take out massive loans to get there. 25%

I happen to fall into category 3. The majority of the ones who fall into category 2 are going to be low level managers or worse because they don't have the character to excel. Character is developed through experience.

Wakatta
February 11th, 2009, 16:15
Nah, I'm pretty sure leaving is the right move for me.

If you're implying that I'm "2", I respectfully disagree. If I were going into business, sure, that might be more accurate, but law works a little differently, in my view: you can't really start doing law until you have a JD.

Fyrey
February 11th, 2009, 19:21
I'm surprised to hear so many "stays". I got much the same reply from friends on Facebook.

Maybe your friends don't want you back?

Condescension aside, if I may add my thoughts, I would be inclined to stay.

Where you are now is a really good place, not just relative to other JETs, but people your age as a whole. A year makes pretty much no difference in terms of your career progression and more likely than not this particular grind will seem much like a holiday once you start work proper with real responsibility.

I don't think anyone really enjoys JET until their second year. Everything is so new and the learning curve steep but enjoyable. It's only when you start repeating experiences that they become tiresome and that will only happen in your second year, but by that time you tend have a much better feel for where you are not only in terms of Japan, but career too.

In your situation, if I had a confirmed deferral then I would stay the second year and enjoy the luxury of another year in Japan with good money and the added bonus of knowing where I am going after JET is finished.

Wakatta
February 11th, 2009, 20:45
I've certainly enjoyed JET, but I just really feel it's time to get a move on. Sure, it's cushy, but I'm also pretty restless. Another 5 months will be plenty for me, I think. I might well be going crazy after a year and a half.

If it helps, another mitigating factor is that while one school (Michigan) offered me a deferral, I still haven't heard from some other schools. Including Berkeley, which is my dream school. I'm not expecting an acceptance there, but if they did give me one, I would hate to already be committed to a year in Japan.

And while I get a more or less mixed (about fifty fifty, all together?) response from this forum/a law school forum/Facebook, parents and professors are strongly on the "get on with it" side. And, perhaps most importantly, I really feel myself that while this is a fun vacation, I want to get back to learning stuff and working on the sorts of things I'm aiming to work on as a career. Not that I'm some hard-nosed businessy type, by any means, but while being an English monkey is fun, I want to get started on law.

Wakatta
February 11th, 2009, 21:20
I mean, seriously, is it so hard to understand why someone might be antsy to get back? I've been out of school for three years, and in Japan for almost a year.

Fyrey
February 12th, 2009, 00:07
I mean, seriously, is it so hard to understand why someone might be antsy to get back?

No, not at all. It was just another viewpoint - I left after my second year for very similar reasons.

That and I was turning into an inordinately grand twat.

Wakatta
February 12th, 2009, 00:31
No, not at all. It was just another viewpoint - I left after my second year for very similar reasons.

That and I was turning into an inordinately grand twat.

Yeah. Exactly. It's not so much that I'm "oh no boo hoo too old", it's more like ... this stuff between college and law school, right or wrong, is framed in my mind as a "break". And each year, I was kind of like, "Okay, I really should get back to it". This year, I think I really hit my tipping point. Problems notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to law. Another year -- bringing the total to 4 years of a "break" -- would just be too much. Psychologically and personally, I think this is the right move for me: squeeze as much out of Japan as I can in these next five months, and then move on.

Wakatta
February 12th, 2009, 16:05
Do what you want man; if you're more passionate about being in Japan and you're not in a rush, stay a little longer.

Your logic is quite reasonable here. In my case, it applies perfectly, although the facts are the reverse and as a result so is the conclusion: I'm more passionate about going to law school than Japan, so I'm going to leave.

Rachel1404
February 13th, 2009, 06:23
Always best to go with your gut instinct I say which in this case definitely seems to be to get on with things and go to law school. Good decision!

Plus your placement sounds great and I want it lol ;)

wicket
February 13th, 2009, 06:49
Good to see you've made your decision, Wakatta. Feels good, doesn't it? Part of me will always regret that I didn't stay in Osaka for a 3rd year, but if I had I might never have scored a job in England and certainly not the one I've got...
what you lose on the roundabout you gain on the hurdy-gurdy.
All the best for your last months in Japan - don't wish it away too quickly in your eagerness to get to law school. It will pass only too quickly!

Wakatta
February 13th, 2009, 16:24
Good to see you've made your decision, Wakatta. Feels good, doesn't it? Part of me will always regret that I didn't stay in Osaka for a 3rd year, but if I had I might never have scored a job in England and certainly not the one I've got...
what you lose on the roundabout you gain on the hurdy-gurdy.
All the best for your last months in Japan - don't wish it away too quickly in your eagerness to get to law school. It will pass only too quickly!

Oh, believe me: I'm not wishing it away at all! Sure, I'm looking forward to getting back to the states, and I'm looking forward to law, but I will certainly be sad to go! And I'm planning on making the absolute most of these next months. ... I should probably post on ITIL a little less.

Mr. Plainview
February 25th, 2009, 16:17
stay.

now provide lulz

Wakatta
February 25th, 2009, 19:05
stay.

now provide lulz

Sure!

But yeah, I'm definitely going. It makes me a little sad, but I am convinced it is the right decision. In the meantime, I'm going psycho on Japanese with fresh inspiration from alljapaneseallthetime.com. Although I think that guy's -actual- method is a little insane, and by a little I mean not-so-much-jokingly-but-really-kinda-seriously-insane, he had some genius insights.

Mr. Plainview
February 25th, 2009, 22:53
Damn, well... we'll miss you.











(in a non-gay way) :|

Saitaman
February 25th, 2009, 23:59
Oh, believe me: I'm not wishing it away at all! Sure, I'm looking forward to getting back to the states, and I'm looking forward to law, but I will certainly be sad to go! And I'm planning on making the absolute most of these next months. ... I should probably post on ITIL a little less.

Which law schools are you applying to?

Wakatta
March 3rd, 2009, 20:25
Awww! Thanks, DPV! That really touched me. Also in a non-gay way. (But seriously, thanks! I appreciated it.) On the plus side, I'm pretty sure this placement will make the year (years?) of whichever lucky 09er gets it. Seriously, it's awesome!


Which law schools are you applying to?
I actually already applied. Of my acceptances, I'm probably going with Mich. The heartless bastards at Berkeley turned me down. I feel like going Cato on them and putting, "In addition, Berkeley's admissions department is full of douchebags." at the end of every legal document I write.

Saitaman
March 3rd, 2009, 21:53
Mich is a good school, the only thing is you will have to live in Michigan.

Wakatta
March 3rd, 2009, 23:08
Mich is a good school, the only thing is you will have to live in Michigan.

That's true!

But I spent 4 years in Minnesota for college, so I'm at least somewhat accustomed to the cold. Besides, Ann Arbor seems like a reasonably nice town.

Saitaman
March 4th, 2009, 11:25
Ann Arbor is a nice town, by Michigan standards.

patjs
March 7th, 2009, 11:32
That's true!

But I spent 4 years in Minnesota for college, so I'm at least somewhat accustomed to the cold. Besides, Ann Arbor seems like a reasonably nice town.

Yes and let's not forget that while it may be cold as balls up there, buildings in the United States are insulated and heated.

Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to walk into my home and be able to feel warmth.

Saitaman
March 7th, 2009, 18:30
It isn't the cold that makes Michigan Michigan, that just adds to the misery.

melty
March 20th, 2009, 20:56
And I'm planning on making the absolute most of these next months. .

This is a good plan.

Once it hit me that I was going to leave Japan...I travelled / did even more than I had in my first year if you do that then you'll go home without feeling like you missed out.

*you can finish your JET year with the tottori beach party :) *

Have fun!!