It was my birthday a few days ago,
So to everyone who wished me the best,
And to those of you who have supported me since I started writing five years ago,
Thank you even more because it’s been an incredible journey.
Five years ago,
I remember being a 19-year-old student at UVA,
And if you’ve never been to UVA,
It’s a pretty superficial place.
I’m not saying that it’s not a great school,
Because I learned a lot,
And I don’t want to give the impression that I had a bad time there,
Because I made some great friends and had some of the best times of my life.
It seemed like most people were trying to be “a somebody”,
And anyone who has ever stepped on campus (or Grounds, I should say),
Will know exactly what I mean.
In any event,
I definitely wasn’t too popular or anything,
But one day,
I remember looking around and thinking,
“Instead of trying to be a somebody in this school,
Why don’t I try to become a somebody in the world?”
And to a 19 year old,
It seemed like the best way to do that was to become rich and famous.
I didn’t know exactly how I would do that,
But I did love writing,
And I thought I was pretty good at it,
So I decided to become a writer and thought that as long as I worked hard enough,
My dream of traveling the world with a beautiful girl would come true.
Most people thought I was a fool,
And looking back,
I don’t really blame them,
But I had read something online that blew my mind.
I was reading about Brad Pitt,
And somewhere on the Internet,
It said he was a frat bro from Missouri before he left for Hollywood.
There were a lot of frat bros at UVA,
And oddly enough,
Brad Pitt’s frat,
Was known as the “pretty boy frat” at UVA,
So I thought,
“If some frat bro from the Midwest can become the biggest movie star in the world,
Why can’t I become a famous writer?”
After a while, though,
I decided to change my name,
Not because I wanted to hide my writing from future employers,
But because I watched this 60 Minutes clip,
In which Lady Gaga explains how she became a superstar.
"Christian" was a name I was using for my fictional protagonist at the time,
And I was also getting rejected (and eventually banned) from The New Yorker,
So from that point,
I started introducing myself as "Christian" instead of "Myong" to strangers,
And hoped it would help me become the person I really wanted to be,
Like how Dick Whitman became Don Draper in Mad Men.
Even with a new name,
I didn't become a superstar.
I still graduated from UVA with no job,
And no fame,
And I ended up folding t-shirts at Urban Outfitters for $9/hour with high-schoolers.
Needless to say,
I was pretty depressed and lost at the time,
But to my surprise,
My family still loved me,
Even after I had done nothing but chase my dreams instead of study.
I felt like I owed them the world,
So when my mother suggested I apply to law school,
I said, "OK",
Studied for the LSAT,
Took it twice,
And got a 171 on my second try.
Law schools receive applications on a rolling basis from October to March 1st,
So I submitted all my materials,
Including my mediocre transcript,
My LSAT scores,
My recommendation letters from my Foreign Affairs and Playwriting professors,
And my most popular post at the time right before the deadline on February 28th.
About a week later,
I had a group interview at Georgetown Law on a Saturday,
During which I told the Dean of Admissions I was looking for a literary agent,
And right after I finished,
I went to Atlantic City to play Blackjack with my friends.
It was the luckiest week of my life,
Because not only did I win,
I was accepted,
And later that fall,
I found myself at Georgetown Law.
I didn't know what to expect,
Because I never expected to get in.
People said the first year at law school is hard,
Which it was,
But I didn't know if that was because it was genuinely difficult,
Or because I had been walking on a dream for four years.
All I know is that it was tough,
I almost dropped out my second semester but didn't,
And ended up with a GPA around the unofficial average of a 3.3
Sometime since I've been in law school,
I've started to question whether I should write for money and fame.
I'm not going to act like money doesn't mean anything,
Because it does,
But if I wanted a guaranteed track to the 1%,
The best bet would be to join a big law firm and hope I make partner.
I've kept writing about chasing my dreams,
Even though I have a strong suspicion it has cost me numerous job opportunities.
Before Interview Week for big law firms,
My academic advisor, who I like, looked at my resume and said,
"Everything looks fine...besides this last section at the end."
"You mean my artistic portfolio?"
"Yes, that. I don't think putting that on there is a good idea."
"Well, they want people who are really committed to the law, you know?"
I understood what she was saying,
But I also heard all law firms Google you,
Which I would too,
Especially if I were about to pay a 25-year-old $160,000 out of law school,
And when you Google "Christian Choi Georgetown Law,"
Or even "Myong Choi Georgetown Law"
Right before Interview Week,
My grandfather visited and said,
"You ace interviews if you're confident, and you're confident if you're honest."
He grew up when Japan occupied Korea during World War II,
Then saw some of his brothers get kidnapped by North Koreans a few years later.
Nevertheless, he eventually became the Governor of the Central Bank,
And would always remind me that with hard work,
Anything is possible,
Even negotiating across a table from Alan Greenspan.
So I trusted him.
When I told the honest answer to interviewers who asked,
"What brought you to law school?"
They were less than impressed.
Who attended a less prestigious school than Georgetown,
Even got visibly angry,
And since I keep getting emails like,
I've been wondering if I should delete my website and stop writing.
For better or worse,
I haven't because of two reasons.
I don't know if money makes you happy.
Although I've met a few millionaires at large law firms who love what they do,
I've met a few who don't,
Including one who told me he's quitting for the beach if he ever wins the lottery.
I thought he would have made enough money by then,
But then I remembered that things like a nice house,
A nice car,
And nice private schools for your children are expensive,
So I initially thought that to truly be free and happy,
You needed more money.
Then I visited old friends in Switzerland last winter break.
My father's a diplomat,
So I went to an international school in Geneva for a while,
And it was also a pretty superficial place.
I remember meeting a new student in 7th grade one day.
He didn't seem too interested in what the teacher had to say.
Instead he was doodling.
I doodled too,
And still do at Georgetown Law from time to time,
Which might explain why I have mediocre grades.
This new student was doodling a sign I didn't recognize.
It looked like a triangle with two "M"s.
When I asked him what it was,
He looked at me and said,
"Man, you don't know? It's Maybach."
"It's the Rolls-Royce of Mercedes. Do you know Rolls-Royce's logo?"
"Here, let me show you."
By the end of the day,
I learned how to draw not only Maybach's logo,
But also Rolls-Royce's and Bentley's.
Not all students at my school were like that,
But over winter break,
I ran into a few friends and acquaintances,
Including some who have enough money to drive around Geneva in a Bentley.
What struck me, though, was that regardless of money,
We talked about what most guys in their twenties talk about.
We talked about what we were up to,
What girls we were talking to,
How our families were doing,
How badly Manchester United was playing,
What we were doing for New Years,
What the world should do about ISIS,
What we wanted to achieve in the future.
It seemed like because their families achieved incredible things,
There was even more pressure to succeed and sustain their lifestyles.
Like I was talking to a friend about life in London when he said,
"Don't get me wrong, London's amazing. But it's only amazing if you have money."
"Well, you quickly realize that if you want to live on the best side of town - "
"The west side?"
"Yeah, and commute from a nice tube station, and enjoy everything London offers - "
He sighed before saying,
"You need money. Or else, life is tough."
I never thought he would ever need to think about money,
But then I realized that if I had grown accustomed to box views at Stamford Bridge,
Money might be on my mind, too.
Even if money guaranteed happiness,
I think I would regret surrendering my dreams.
I dropped by a Professor's office hours at Georgetown Law,
And like most professors,
She went to the best schools in the world,
Graduated at the top of her class,
And became a leader in her field.
When I said my dream was to be a famous writer, she said,
"You know, I used to dream of being a writer, too."
"Yes. I used to even imagine what I'd wear on Johnny Carson's show."
Then she laughed and said,
"But I'm OK. I don't need to be famous anymore. I'm happy. I really am."
She might have been telling the truth,
Because by all accounts,
I've been wondering if I need to be famous, too.
I wanted to be famous mostly so I would never be rejected by a beautiful girl,
Because no matter what any guy says,
Asking a girl out and hearing answers like,
"I don't like you like that"
"I'll get back to you about that",
So some days,
I still wonder if being famous is like what 50 Cent describes:
Other days, though,
I wonder if you even need to be famous to find a beautiful girl because to me,
It seems like there are beautiful girls around the world.
Like there's this myth about Brazilian girls being the most beautiful in the world,
But when I went to Rio de Janeiro a few years ago,
I was actually disappointed.
Sure, I met some girls who looked picture perfect.
But as a whole,
Were Brazilian girls any prettier than girls in NYC,
Or even my current city of Washington D.C.?
I think if you put a city of women on Ipanema in Brazilian bikinis,
A lot of them would look amazing.
After five years of walking on a dream,
I've realized it's much harder to find a girl who might not look perfect,
But is perfect for you,
And if becoming famous helps me find her,
Then it would be worth it because a nice girl makes anything better.
Like this week,
I was rejected from another position,
Actually in Paris,
And I had a feeling it was because of my blog because my interview went well.
I guess you never know if it went well or not,
But I ended up talking to the firm for 25 minutes in French,
Not only about mergers and acquisitions,
But also about Paris Saint-Germain's upcoming game against Chelsea.
I even did what my career advisor said and removed my website from my resume,
But I guess they did their due diligence because right after my interview,
Someone from Paris started to read my work.
It wouldn't be the first time a law firm has objected to me chasing my dreams,
So when I found out I was denied,
I was feeling pretty down when I ran into this girl on campus.
I'm not saying she's my soulmate or anything,
Because I only talk to her from time to time,
But that day,
She really helped me.
"I failed," I said. "After five years, I still have no job, no money, and no fame."
"No you didn't," she said. "Don't worry. Things will work out in the end."
"I hope so."
"And besides, why do you even want to be famous anyways?"
"So I don't have to prove anything to girls anymore."
"I guess. But wouldn't it be better to win a girl over with your personality?"
I didn't know what to say,
But I felt better,
Just like I did when I talked to my family the day before my birthday.
I was so ashamed I couldn't even say anything when they asked,
"Are you OK?"
But the next day,
They acted as if nothing happened and did everything to wish me a happy birthday.
When I finally told my mother I was rejected from yet another job, she said,
"It's OK. I'm not worried. I know you'll be alright."
"Yes. I'm only worried because you're worried. So don't worry, OK?"
So that's why today,
I wanted to write this post to say thank you,
Not only to my family,
But also to my friends around the world who have supported me,
Ever since I started walking on this dream.
I don't know where it'll take me,
Or if I'll even write for a while,
Because the last five years have been kind of crazy, to say the least,
And to my surprise,
I even kind of like law school.
I'm not just saying that too,
Because if you ask anyone who has ever taken a class with me,
They'll tell you I have no problem saying what I really think.
In any event,
For the first time since I started law school,
I've been arriving to class on time,
And actually doing the reading before class,
So I guess I'll keep doing the little things,
And see where life takes me.
I just wanted to say thank you for supporting me,
And for reading this longer-than-usual story.
Until next time...
Absolutely no copyright infringement is intended. Although I have a Creative Commons copyright for all my work, all images, audio, text, and video that I post that are not mine are the sole propriety of their respective owners. Furthermore, these posts express my personal thoughts, and should not be attributed to either my employer or my school.