A Real Time Line

Now that I have a definite deadline I can make a plan. Since there are so many of these available online and in print, it doesn’t make much sense for me to try to cook my own up. No need to reinvent the wheel.

However, the assumption (oh yes I used that word) of most or all of these is that the test-taker is new to LSAT material. This means that these schedules are created with the first several weeks introducing the user to the World of the LSAT: How to do the games, how to read the logical reasoning, the different types of questions and how to attack them, the mindset and assumptions of the logical reasoning question authors, and other things you need to know if you’re going to stand a fighting chance on this thing.

I’m not one of those. I’ve read the books and the blogs and the essays and watched the videos. I’ve heard pretty much all of it, so I don’t need to spend weeks studying up on it, taking the time again as though this is my first time seeing it. So far my best score is 171, untimed, so I am getting a lot of it. I just need reminders. These things, my months of studying already and the fact that it is at least to some degree working, mean that the pre-made schedules aren’t going to be quite right for my needs. They will work as a great starting place and way to figure out how to organize my time and practice.

Most of them seem to want you to study hard on a single thing for a few days or a week, with small pieces of the other sections spattered in there so you don’t forget those things while you’re intensely looking at the other. For example, many will have you doing only one type of logic game for several days, but to make sure you don’t lose what you’ve learned about the other things, to do a few of each type of logical reasoning and a couple reading comprehension passages. That seems like it should work for me, so I’m going to give it a try.

There are obstacles to this for me, things that make my schedule erratic and difficult to even really call a “schedule,” such as my kids, work, home, family, and husband, most of which I did not have five or more years ago (the age of most test-takers and the age group for whom many of the schedules are developed). So it’s going to take some doing.

I think it’s going to be worth it. At least it better be. It’s going to cost me around $100 in books by the time I’m done, and the test itself is $175, a lot of money for me.

On another note, I finished Grey’s a long time ago, then finished Scandal, and have moved on to Supernatural. This is yet another show people have been telling me to watch for years and I don’t know why I held out. It’s good. Even if it is scary and  I generally don’t care for scary, I can handle this one.

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What I’ve learned so far

I tend to be careful and thorough. I’m nervous by nature, so before I launch into anything I try to make sure I know exactly, or as close to exactly as possible, what I’m getting into. To that end, I’ve read a lot about law school and spoken personally with several people who are in the profession. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned.

  1. Applications are down and this could be a good thing for me. The fewer applicants there are, the fewer people I’m competing with, both for admission and scholarships. Since law schools are getting fewer applicants but still need to pay for things, they’re admitting candidates today that they may not necessarily have admitted a few years ago when they could afford to be pickier. This is both a good thing (I could get in and get money!) and a bad thing (I may get in and be set up for failure or be surrounded by people who arguably should not be there).
  2. 1L is hard. Very, very hard. All of law school will be hard, but 1L will by a long shot be one of the most difficult things I’ll do, at least for my career. It’s so infamous there is a small library of books about it, a few of which I’ve read (just in case).
  3. Law can be snobby and elitist. The ranking of the law school you attend matters, more so depending on your career goals. If you just want to be a lawyer and practice, it’s not quite as important as if you want to be a federal judicial clerk, judge, law professor, or other impressive thing.

I know I’ve come across more in the reading and talking I’ve done in the last few months, but I can’t think of it now. Hopefully I’ll remember this post and update it as I learn more or find links to the things I already know just to prove that I actually know them and am not just making them up or assuming them.

First Books

A couple days ago I bought “1L of a Ride”, which was surprisingly difficult to find at a reasonable price because it’s required/recommended reading for so many law schools and thus has a textbook price. Today I took the oldest son to Barnes and Noble and bought “the champion of LSAT prep” and when I got home I got told my parents (my siblings already know) about my plans. Mom said it sounds “interesting” and implied that she thinks it might be a good fit for me, and dad said I make him and my kids proud. I got “The Paper Chase” ebook from my local library and read some of it on my phone while I sat in the dark and bored the kids to sleep.

I’ve out of my way with everyone I’ve talked to about this new project, relatives, friends, and even the lawyer, that it’s conditional, that I’ll only go through with it if the LSAT works out really, REALLY  well and leads to not having to borrow for law school. That way, when it doesn’t work out I don’t have to feel stupid and cowardly because I’ll have said it all along that it might not happen. I’m saving face three years in advance because I’m a chickenshit. It’s true, and I’m simultaneously ashamed and not at all ashamed.

As I was talking to my dad, I realized I can’t believe how fast time is flying. The youngest son will be one in less than three months and I am not at all prepared for it. I don’t want to let go of his infancy because I know I will desperately want a third baby for the rest of my life. I want to have again that deep, joyful feeling of being unconditionally, madly in love with a tiny thing that can in no way meaningfully reciprocate it, and it kills me that I’ll only ever get to feel that once. But the reality of it is that there is no guarantee that I will get it again or that it won’t be even worse than it was the first time.

It is time to let go, it just is. It’s time to accept that the part of my life wherein I get to be the young mother of little babies is quickly coming to an end and can never be done again. When it’s over it’s over forever and that kind of permanence is scary. It’s a death of the way things are, and it’s the birth of an uncertain new way. What if I don’t love the new, next chapter as much as I have loved this one? What if being a mother to two young children isn’t as joyful, cute, and easy as being the mother of a toddler and a little baby?

I have loved being the mother of a toddler and a baby. Loved it. It’s easy and cute and fun.  And now it’s time to get go of that. I could say that the cutoff point is the youngest son’s first birthday, but you’re still a baby at 12 months, just less so than you were three months before that. The big milestone for moving from infancy to toddlerhood, in my mind, is walking with ease and relegating diapers to sleeping times. At that point you’re past baby and marching rapidly toward child. So I guess it’s not quite time to grieve yet, but I think preparing (without panicking) will help ease the transition.

So I’m studying for the LSAT and researching law school. It keeps me busy and gives me something to look forward to. I need distraction and goals, and I get that from this step that frames my future as one of possibility and hope rather than uncertainty and loss.