You’ve worked all summer(ish). The money in your bank account feels a little more real because you know it’s not all going to have to be repaid to the federal government. So, what now? You could hang around the city and wait for your journal orientation to start, visit your family, or catch up on all those fiction books you’ve been wanting to get around to. These are all fantastic options, but I’m going to encourage you to get out of not only the city, but also the country, while you still can. I spent three weeks (honeymooning) in France between my summer BIGLaw job and the start of my #3LOL year; here’s why YOU should do some traveling as well.
- TIME. It’s money, or so they say in the law business. Sure, we get a great benefits package complete with four weeks of paid vacation, but how many associates really take that time every year? Don’t risk waiting until you’re working full time to try to plan your next great adventure. Most summer firm programs (including public interest jobs) finish around the end of July. My and my husband’s programs fortuitously both ended on July 31, and we booked our plane tickets to Paris for approximately 48 hours later. This may be the last opportunity that you have for a while to take a guilt-free three-week vacation, so take advantage of it! Sure, we had the great excuse of ~needing~ to go on a honeymoon (we were married on May 23 in Florida, three days before our summer programs started in NYC)—but you don’t need a compelling reason to travel to a new country.
- PERSPECTIVE. Most of us are taught to be really self-motivated, Type A go-getters from a young age. In fact, that’s probably why you ended up at, or are considering, NYU Law. But it’s important to remember that there’s more to life than getting into a top school, cranking out a great GPA, and landing a law job in New York. There’s a whole world out there of people with hugely different ideas about life, success, and what it means to be happy. In France, it was clear (partly because of how many shops and restaurants were closed for vacation) that they value relaxation and vacation time more than getting every extra dollar. Walking around in a city where nearly every building and structure is older than any of the humans is incredible because it reminded me that, although I have many things in my life to worry about, there are many more things for me to enjoy.
- REFRESHMENT. We all get a little stagnant sometimes. If the gluttony of your firm’s summer program has you feeling down and out and/or out of shape, a trip to Europe may be just what you need. Public confession: I actually lost weight while on vacation (a terrible oxymoron) because we were walking so much every day (and not eating at the midtown calorie fests that are the highlight of most summer firm jobs…). Basically, a vacation can be a chance to reset yourself, not just psychologically, but also physically.