Today I tried something new: jury duty. And I even served as a juror on a trial!
I was pretty nervous about going, so here are a few things I learned that I wanted to share with others who haven’t had the pleasure yet.
1. It’s okay to wear jeans.
I didn’t know what to wear. Was a dress too formal? Were jeans too casual? Probably yes and yes. The only rule is don’t wear shorts. Jeans are totally acceptable. (See my outfit below.)
2. Embrace the experience.
Jury duty is happening whether you like it or not. This morning as I drove to Rolling Meadows (I had to Google where it was), I figured I better just accept the fact that this is happening and take it in. During the instructional video, I actually got a little excited at the possibility of being a juror. I believe in the law of attraction, and I think that excitement told the universe to make me a juror. Damn.
3. Being in a courtroom is kind of cool.
Nate went to law school, so I’ve heard plenty about the law for the past eight years or so, but now I was seeing it in action. Our trial was civil, so it wasn’t a murder or anything, but interesting none the less. Leaving your emotions out of it is hard, but when you reach a verdict, it’s quite rewarding.
4. You learn a lot about yourself as a juror.
Being a juror is like a roller coaster ride of emotions. Curious, sad, hopeful, discouraged, anxious, bored–these are just some that I felt in the courtroom. And when it’s time to deliberate, it’s interesting to see how a dozen people from all walks of life can agree, disagree, persuade, and, in our case, unanimously vote together. Everyone’s thoughts were valid and important. Personally, I was able to leave my sympathy aside and make the decision I believe was lawful, which I was surprised by because I’m a pretty emotional person.
5. What’s not rewarding? The pay.
My check for a whopping $17.20 isn’t going to pay my bills, but that’s ok. Like the judge said, you only have to do two things as an American: pay taxes and serve jury duty. Proud to say I’ve done both.