I consider myself a good test taker. I’ve always done well on standardized tests.
So today I took my second, timed, full-length practice LSAT. I even added a bogus section from another test to simulate the actual length of the thing. I’ve been working my butt off on Logic Games.
I freaked out about my time and BOMBED the Logic Games section. Again. Not as badly, true, but I did not do well. I went back, looked at the questions I got wrong, and discovered that I made stupid mistakes on every single one. And I know it was because I freaked out about the time thing! I couldn’t stop looking at my timer. This has never happened to me.
I blame the Logic Games bible. Yes, it totally helped me figure out diagramming and game strategies, but it has this obscene emphasis on how much time you can devote to each game. “8 minutes, 45 seconds for each game and you can do all of them! If you are taking more time than that, you won’t have as much to do the other games. Monitor your time carefully!”
Well, shit. No wonder. I didn’t freak about time in any of the other sections, and why? Because I wasn’t stressed over spending “exactly 2 minutes, 17 seconds on each two-question scenario, and less than 1 minute 22 seconds on the others.” (I made those numbers up. The LG Bible’s numbers seem almost as arbitrary.)
“He who loves you will follow you.”
Diagramming this as a conditional statement, we get:
L -> F
~F -> ~L or, “He who does not follow you does not love you.”
Likewise, “He does not love you unless he follows you.”
[I do find it odd that I got a "girl" fortune. I wonder if some Chinese restaurants have baskets of "boy" fortune cookies and baskets of "girl" fortune cookies. Because if my husband had gotten that fortune, I would have thought it extrememly funny.]
Yesterday, I met with one of my professors (took a class with him post-BA) who will be writing me a rec and helping me edit my personal statement.
He was not nice about the stuff I showed him yesterday. It was sort of discouraging. He was absolutely correct, of course, but not at in the least bit pleased with anything I had written down to show him. This makes me a little sad. Not that he was honest, but that everything that flows from my pen isn’t automatically wonderful!
I always wanted to be an artist. I just never had the right skills for it. I could never be a creative writer, because I can’t come up with stories. I thought I wanted to be an actress, but then it turned out that I stunk at acting. So I starting doing set design, which I was decent at, but only in a nurturing, educational environmentwhich professional theatre is not.
But surely my personal statement can be artistic, right?
What my wonderful, supportive prof told me was spot on:
“Law professors will be reading this. They do not care about extended metaphors, nor do they care about the literary-ness of your work. They want to see who you are, why you want to go to law school, and what you have to offer. Do not tell us how your desire to go to law school is like learning to cook. Do not compare this search for your passion to ‘finding your personal oyster.’ Just put on paper who you are, why you want to go to law school, and what you have to offer. It does not have to be boring, but it needs to be straightforward.”
Good advice for the wanna-be artist in me. Particularly since my strengths are in sensible, clear, easy-to-read writing. Why do I always try to make things harder on myself?
I’ve been getting really excited about the prospect of living in Chicago. The programs I’ve looked at there seem perfect for me, I like the idea of living close to downtown and traveling almost entirely on the train. Even the prospect of some real winter weather has me sort of happy.
Last night, my dear husband told me he’s most attracted to the program in Baltimore.
I’ve gotten less and less excited about being DC, less and less thrilled with the programs there, and definitely less and less happy with the prospect of dealing with a long commute. I’m well aware that the I-95 corridor between Baltimore and DC is a nightmare of vehicular traffic. I’ve been told that, unless you live in an ideal neighborhood, life in DC is not all that great as most of it is a cesspool. And the schools there….well, they seem more and more full of themselves with less and less justification.
But marriage is a compromise, right? And if the DC/Baltimore area is where my husband needs to be, then we’ll go there. After all, a JD is a JD and it’s most important that we BOTH be employable after school, rather than one of us having a shit degree because the other wanted to go to a marginally more respected institution.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if I got into the University of Chicago, then Chicago would be our best bet. But if I got into Northwestern and Georgetown, it would probably be a bit of a toss up in terms of prestige on my degree.
The funniest thing is that, two weeks ago, I was definitely more excited about DC, and profoundly lukewarm about Chicago. Now I’m eager to visit the Chicago schools, and try living in the cold Midwest. Those same two weeks ago, DH certainly seemed to prefer Chicago (he’s always wanted to live there, remember), and considered DC a stretch. Now we’ve flip-flopped.
Somehow I suspect we’ll continue this trend for a while.
Back to harping on the Logic Games thing. Still having a LITTLE trouble on conditional reasoning, but it’s beginning to get clearer. Practice makes perfect, right? I have a little over two months to work through twenty practice testsoops, sorry, twenty-one, since I got a copy of the June 2004 from someone who took it. I have the last quarter of the Logic Games Bible. And I don’t really have anything else to do. Besides my personal statement, but I’ve already started on that, too. ResumeI’ve got one of those, it just needs to be slightly modified for the purpose.
Essentially, this process has become part of my daily schedule. I have absorbed it. Internalized it. Me and law school, we’re like this: [insert visual of two fingers crossed over each other]. Yes indeedy.
I’m still somewhat petrified, though.
Yes, I knowthe question is not original. But it’s a question my husband asked me Saturday night after dinner.
His question wasn’t fully uninformedafter all, he’s been privy to nearly the entire saga, ever since the idea took root and started to sprout.
But it was that part of the saga he hadn’t seen that made him curious. See, it goes like this:
I’ve thought of law school before, but always dismissed it out of hand for various reasons. One of these reasons had to do with the way my family (mostly small-business owners and entrepreneurs) think of lawyersas slime. Another reason was related to my own experience with the few lawyers I know not as lawyers, but as people, and the poor life choices I sometimes see them making. The last major reason was my own misperception of law as sort of nonacademic. I’d never really looked at law school as “graduate school”I’d always thought of it as vocational school, sort of like medical school. I admire doctors quite a bit, but I know many doctors who can’t string together ten words into a coherent written sentence. Medical school prepares one for the practice of medicine, not for a life of learning. Law school seemed to be the same.
So that’s the background my husband did not have. And the day I blurted out to him, “Maybe I’ll go to law school,” we’d just come from a weekend trip where we spent at least one evening with friends of friends who were lawyers. We had cocktails at these lawyers’ house, their very nice house. And my husband had this niggly thought in the back of his brain that I decided I wanted to go to law school because I saw how much money I could make.
I almost had to laugh. Actually, I did laugh. I immediately saw why he wondered thatthe timing was really coincidentaland money worries have not been strangers to us in the last few years.
But no. I reassured him that crass materialism wasn’t my primary motive for law school. And he reassured me that, if it were, he wouldn’t be upset. After all, an advanced education that all but promises a lucrative career can’t be all bad.
See, what happened to me that day, when the words “law school” slipped out of my mouth, wasn’t the result of the temptations of Mammon.
Rather, the pieces all fell into place. I’ve been having something of an identity crisis for a while, wondering if I’d betrayed all the promise I felt I had right after college, all the while feeling underused in my old job, and peeved with my new job’s failure to live up to its initial promise. I was starting to fear I’d look up in five or ten years only to realize I been adrift with no vision for myself and my life.
[NB: Don't misunderstand me here, either. Any vision would have made me happyif I knew I wanted to be a housewife and mother, as long as I pursued that, I would have felt fulfilled. It was the lack of coherent direction that was killing me.]
So in the midst of the identity crisis, I’d tried some freelance work on the side (hated it), started writing (loved it), and took a writing and editing class (my own personal Renaissance). So I knew I wanted to move away from design into writing/editing. And knew I wanted to go back to school. For something.
But I’ve been out of school long enough that my interests in my undergraduate majors have waned. That’s not to say I don’t still find those subjects interesting, it’s just that I don’t want to get any more degrees in them. I did a liberal arts degree because I wanted to know something about a lot of stuff, and that’s still one of my driving forces. A Ph.D. doesn’t seem to facilitate that as easily.
So, grad school that involves writing and editingand critical thinking, of course, that almost goes without sayingwhat kind of grad school could that be? I don’t know when my mind settled on law and realized that, duh, a JD would involve all of that. And I could make it as scholarly a pursuit as I wanted!
Law school it is, then. Why law? Because it fits. Why now? Because it’s time.
I have never been the kind of person who frets about how I’ll do on exams. I always knew I would do well. I’m sure that, in high school and in college, most of that certainty was sheer ego. But even since then, I’ve never worried about not *getting* something.
And suddenly, I feel quite dumb. How can I not get this logic stuff? Why can’t I see the solutions? Why won’t my brain make those connections? I am frustrated with studying, and I am frustrated with myself. The worst thing is that I don’t really know how to stop feeling so frustratedI can’t fix it.
If anyone has suggestions to help me stop feeling helpless, I welcome them. If anyone has suggestions for how to get over my fixation with the Logic games sections of the LSAT, you can share them, but I can’t promise I’ll actually read them. Too many cooks, and all.
I’ve been getting really down about Logic Games. As I’ve practiced this week, it feels like I’m making no progress. That I don’t really understand the gamesI’m just getting things right because I can flip the page and see the answer.
But today, I think I turned a corner. Maybe it’s that I studied during the day (on my lunch hour), maybe it’s just that I wasn’t at home, where I get too comfortable and tend to fall into brain-fuzz/TV mode. Maybe it’s just that I finally started to absorb some of this logic crap.
All I know is that, suddenly, conditional reasoning doesn’t seem so daunting. And conditional reasoning was killing meI mean really totally absolutely confusing me. I mean, doesn’t it make sense that “If A, then B” is the same as “if B, then A”? And, particularly, the “unless” statements were turning my brain into scrambled eggs.
But now, magically, I see it. “A unless B” means the same as “if not A, then B,” or, better yet, “If not B, then A.”
And what do you know? I also understand that, using the above statement (If not B, then A), given “B,” I still know nothing about A. I only know something about A when I know that B is not.
By the way, if you just read through that, haven’t recently taken a logic course, PowerScore, TestMasters, or any other LSAT prep that teaches this crap, and you understood itwell, you’re the reason the LSAT is so damn skewed. Right? Some people just naturally ace the games, and I am tempted to hate every single one of them.
Of course, I got all the Reading Comprehension questions right on my (only) practice test. So maybe I shouldn’t hate you too much.
While not strictly about law school, I am excited today because I was accepted into the very good choir at my church. It is an audition-only choir, in a big downtown church, and the choir director took me!
OK, I’ll confess, I’ve sung in choirs before. I have a good voice. I can almost sight-read. But it’s been five years since I’ve sung in a choir, I’ve never taken any sort of professional voice lesson, and I think my higher register sounds bad.
About that lastthe choir master disagreed. Apparently, I’ve been hiding, pretending to be an alto, while this big soprano voice struggled to be free. Apparently. I’m not sure I agree 100%, but I do know that it feels good to know I’ll be singing again. It gives me something else to think about, and it probably can’t hurt to add it to my resume.
I got my PowerScore Logic Games Bible yesterday. FedEx rocks.
And I still stink at Logic Games. It’s the inferences that get me. I really, really, really, need to work on this section of the LSAT. REALLY. Have I mentioned that on my cold test, I got only 8 correct out of 24? I didn’t miss 8 on any other section.
If I can just double my Logic Games score, to getting 16 correct, I can dramatically increase my chances of getting into a Top-20 law school. Like, really, really dramatically increase. Several percentage points, according to Chiashu.