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If the LSAT were the last thing I do.

BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
in General 1694 karma

I don't know if this helps, but sometimes, I think of events in life as my dying act. You know the saying: live every day like it's your last? Corny, and perhaps morbid, but if used correctly, I think it can help us focus our mental energy. For example, the LSAT: if the LSAT were the final act in my life, it would matter not to me whether I achieve a certain score; instead, what would matter to me would just be that I tried my best. The goal in life is to find contentment and satisfaction, and all that really requires is just knowing we did what we could. The score is unchangeable, and meaningless in this scenario, since I would be long gone.
This perspective helps to treat the test as an end for its own sake, and not merely as a means to something else, even if it so clearly is. This perspective also helps to divide big goals into smaller steps so we can focus on one thing at a time. This exercise is a classic buddhist meditation, and I assume is part of the reason why some monks are so chilled about everything. I hope it can help you.


  • BinghamtonDaveBinghamtonDave Alum Member 🍌🍌
    8684 karma

    Good post! I agree with some of the general sentiment here for sure. Christian teaching teaches a similar, although not precisely the same lesson, mainly humbleness in the face of the fragility this life brings. Where I would politely disagree is that the LSAT is indeed for many many people a means to an end and reasonably so in my estimation.

    The whole process is very odd. There is a line from the book Blood Meridian where the judge says of the world that if we step back and "bleed the world of its familiarity, it would appear to us as it is: a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream... an itinerant carnival...” Meaning that the world is an odd, sort of disconnected place that our presence within often obscures.

    And the LSAT process is much the same in my opinion. Non-law people in my life will ask me questions about the LSAT and they will ask things like: what kind of law do they test you on for the LSAT? And I tell them, they really don't test us on any law, instead we have to complete these puzzles where we put snakes and lizards inside cages or we sequence the order of clowns. And my friends look at me astonished. They look at me astonished because they have taken that sentence to mean what it literally means: they have not gotten used to the oddness of what we are doing here day after day, because they are not present like we all are in this LSAT/law school admissions world like we are.

    The whole LSAT process is very odd. I want to be an advocate for people who have difficulty paying for a quality attorney, that is my true dream, that is what I wake up every morning feeling energized to do and become. Now in order to reach that goal, I have to first learn the underlying structure of the games in which I am asked to order gerbils and snakes into zoo cages and I have to read and reread the passage about the chemical qualities of maize. That is actually a sentence that has meaning in reality! In order to defend people who have been accused of crimes who might not have the resources to hire a quality attorney, I have to be comfortable ordering the chain of this computer virus from system to system on this game. I cannot think of another domain where this type of initial disconnect is the case, listen how this sounds if someone were to say something similar: I want to be a nurse therefore I am playing fantasy football. I want to be a welder therefore I have started collecting stamps and appraising their value. When we bleed it of its familiarity, the process to get to law school is a bizarre process. Nevertheless, I believe the present state of how this system is structured, the LSAT is indeed an (often weird) means to an end and it might be helpful to sometimes view it as that. In other words: if you have a place in law you want to be and debt is not something you are keen about taking on, you've got to learn these things, this is just the hurdle you must overcome.

    (NPR Voice: this is philosophical Thursday thoughts brought to you by @Bamboosprout and BinghamtonDave lol)

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    @BinghamtonDave said:

    (NPR Voice: this is philosophical Thursday thoughts brought to you by @Bamboosprout and BinghamtonDave lol)

    You read my mind on this one. LoL.

    Good posts!

  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    6045 karma

    You two @Bamboosprout @BinghamtonDave really need to start a podcast or some sort of meditative, life coaching sessions.

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    edited November 2018 1694 karma

    Hahahaha, awesome response @BinghamtonDave, and thanks for leaving comments, @keets993 and @AudaciousRed. I've been binging podcasts a bit too much recently, with serial, this american life, heavyweight, guys who law, knowledge project, thinking like a lawyer, and of course, the 7sage podcast. What do you guys listen to?

    @BinghamtonDave, yeah, the LSAT is definitely a means to an end for most people. I just think that it might help them with their anxieties if they thought of it as something worthy of the effort in itself, and not focus on the score and applications that comes afterwards.
    It really is weird that we're doing these sudoku games, or analyzing passages on art history to try to become lawyers, eh?
    I find it interesting that the judge you're quoting from the book seems to be saying that stepping back is negative. While I also believe that stepping back can strip us of meaning and connections, I also believe that it is just the first step to obtaining deeper meaning and connections. Marcus Aurelius constantly reminds himself to step back: "in all things, then, except virtue and the acts of virtue, remember to apply thyself to their several parts, and by this division to come to value them little: and apply this rule also to thy whole life." This helps separate the LSAT from law school applications, and self-worth. I think only by doing this can we see the nudity and ridiculousness of everything, such as the odd questions we're doing in LSAT. And only after that, can we truly assign meaning to the things we do, and not be assigned meaning by the things we do. Stepping back is a thing of great value to me. I think you are already doing it perfectly by assigning your desire for advocacy to LSAT.
    For me, the meaning I try to ascribe to it are along these lines: as a whetstone to sharpen my mind, a burden to strengthen my legs, a main course around which to get the side dishes that is the rest of my life organized, or an obstacle to prove my own perseverance. So despite LSAT's oddness and distance from law, I find that I can find a lot of value in the endeavor in itself. With these beliefs, and in addition to the fact that I sometimes just enjoy reading those silly passages and playing the games, and learning in general, if this were the last day of my life, I still would be satisfied.
    And of course, staying true to Marcus Aurelius' words, I also try to leave mental leeway to separate the meanings I assigned to LSAT in my head, so that if I am to fail, that would mean little.

  • BumblebeeBumblebee Member
    640 karma

    Yes, please do Philosophical Thursday. This is Chicken Soup for the LSAT Soul. :)

  • Harvey_lHarvey_l Alum Member
    268 karma

    I really recommend reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Great book, stoicism is quite similar to much of the philosophy principles in this post!

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    edited November 2018 1694 karma

    @Harvey_l said:
    I really recommend reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Great book, stoicism is quite similar to much of the philosophy principles in this post!

    I agree completely. Modern readers just have to be aware of the context it was written in, and that there are some sexism and disdain for christianity in there. Hahaha

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    If you don't step back, then all you see is the trees and not the forrest.

  • LSATSurvivorLSATSurvivor Alum Member
    228 karma

    Nice, now I'm all motivated.

  • FeverDreamFeverDream Member
    22 karma

    @BinghamtonDave Points for quoting blood meridian lol. So many parallels between the book’s gruesomeness and applying to law school!

  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    @"hinds.rakim" said:
    @BinghamtonDave Points for quoting blood meridian lol. So many parallels between the book’s gruesomeness and applying to law school!

    Woah... sounds like a scary book.

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