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the doctor in juris doctor

For someone who just finished law school, I've been watching Scrubs A LOT these days. Funnily enough, I have no interest in obsessing over any legal shows to "reignite my passions" or "get the ball rolling" right before bar review. Or at any time in the last four and a half years, actually. Sure, on occasion, I'd pop in my DVD of Ally McBeal the few weeks before finals and marathon while powering through the last bunch of cases for the semester, or sometimes when I'm at home I'd catch whatever episode of Suits is on Jack TV out of curiosity's sake. But I'm not as invested in those shows as I am with this medical comedy - something completely opposite of what I'm doing, but also, oddly familiar.

I think the thing that has gotten me hooked again on it this time - after the nth rewatch - is how my perspective has altered the way I'm seeing the show. The series starts with the lead characters beginning their first year of internship as medical doctors. They have just graduated medical school, they now have this newfound sense of authority, but also this staggering responsibility. Before stepping into the halls of Sacred Heart Hospitals, they were merely students, with adequate working knowledge of medicine. As the series (and their internship) continues, they come face to face with the hard realities of actually being a doctor: making tough calls and living with those decisions.

If you think about it, it's not that different from the realities of a new lawyer. (Or in my case, a fresh-out-of-law-school no-longer-a-student... uhm, person). It is overwhelming. And it can be crippling to be in a position where all decisions made are crucial because lives are suddenly on the line, every single time. People are no longer just names on a case, they are actual persons in real trouble seeking for your help.

But mostly, I think I just long for the humanity of it all. Scrubs gives me that. Doctors are expected to save the day, much like lawyers. But unlike the latter, the world views doctors as kind and compassionate people. They heal. Even if their arrival often signals sickness or death, it also presages a kind of hope. They aren't walking creatures of doom - or worse, greed. You know that deep down, they are people who care. Empathy is the biggest tool in their disposal.

Which is so unlike the field of lawyering. Most lawyers are aggressive, abrasive, and arrogant. Sadly, those are qualities that make for some of the greatest lawyers too.

Perhaps being in a cut-throat environment like law school made me forget what it's like to be in a place that is more compassionate than competitive. And I think the reason I've been so invested in Scrubs lately is because I needed to remember why I'm in this field in the first place - that I too want to make a difference. I want to be part of solutions, I want to get people out of a rut, I want to give someone their victory - but without being a dick about it. I can help, and also be kind and compassionate about it.

In the next few months, I'm about to begin my bar review. And I've been told repeatedly by friends that it's the biggest, most difficult challenge any law graduate would have to face. I think I've been preparing myself mentally since my classmates took the bar last November. But my heart needed the reminder that I'm doing this for the right reasons. I'm not here to prove that I'm the best or the smartest or the greatest. I just want to retain a piece of this cheery, outgoing self and still be good at what I dream to do. And that even though I'm the way I am, it doesn't mean I will suck at being a lawyer. It just means I'm going to be different. Hopefully, that's a good thing.