Imposter Syndrome

iamcardibriiamcardibri Alum Member

Do you guys ever feel that by studying really hard for the LSAT you are "sneaking" into a school where you don't belong or don't deserve to attend? I was thinking about this last night on my drive home...

I could delay my apps, take another year to study, and achieve an elite score in order to get into a T14... But when I get there, would I be surrounded by a bunch of naturally brilliant people who achieved a 170+ with little effort? I started worrying, "how could I possibly contribute to a community of people who can achieve with minimal effort, a task that took me maximum effort?!"

This isn't something that I worry about deeply... I just thought it would make an interesting discussion since I'm sure I am not the only one who has encountered feelings of self-doubt from time to time.

Seeking insight from people who have experienced this for themselves.. If you spent a very long time mastering the LSAT and gaining admissions to a top notch school, how did you fare as a 1L? Did you find anything that surprised you about your classmates? Did you suffer from Imposter Syndrome? If so, how did you overcome?

Comments

  • hmsjms1970hmsjms1970 Legacy Member
    29 karma

    I have taught college part time, worked in other industries. I am a career changer, and have had to work very closely with the legal team in my former field. I offer this so you may understand that I have been an educator, and have seen some facets of what you are referring to. I am here because I am considering law school. I think your feelings are normal. They are part of the process of applying for an advanced degree of any kind. I also think that whatever score you have it is highly unlikely you will be an imposter of any kind. I have found in life that the imposters we encounter rarely consider whether or not they are actually an imposter.

    If your score garners your admission to the school you wish, this is a good thing, and the by- product of your intellect, and hard work. The LSAT is a highly studied exam by academics, and it is statistically unlikely that your score would over state in anyway anything you bring to to the 1L class you attend.

    Don't take my word for it. Take a look at what psychometricians have to say about the LSAT or other exams, or the signature pedagogy of law school in conjunction with the student experience. I can assure you that those who study the construction of the LSAT would support my arguments above. I will go on a limb and offer an inference from what I have learned from those who earned an MD/JD/PhD. Many may enter questioning their abilities, but after some time in their respective program come to realize they earned the right to be there. I think you will find this to be the case.

    I hope this is of benefit to you. I wish you well on your journey to the law school you seek entrance to.

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    @iamcardibri said:

    I started worrying, "how could I possibly contribute to a community of people who can achieve with minimal effort, a task that took me maximum effort?!"

    You're making some big assumptions there. I seriously doubt many, if any at all, just walked in and tested naturally at 170+. If you talked to any of your fellow test takers, you'll find they're just as worried and working just as hard. I was one of the only ones taking it for the first time this June. Many were on their 3rd attempt. People who already had their Master degrees in other fields, and they were struggling, too.
    You're doing just fine.

  • blljhnsn35blljhnsn35 Member
    59 karma

    @iamcardibri said:
    Do you guys ever feel that by studying really hard for the LSAT you are "sneaking" into a school where you don't belong or don't deserve to attend? I was thinking about this last night on my drive home...

    I could delay my apps, take another year to study, and achieve an elite score in order to get into a T14... But when I get there, would I be surrounded by a bunch of naturally brilliant people who achieved a 170+ with little effort? I started worrying, "how could I possibly contribute to a community of people who can achieve with minimal effort, a task that took me maximum effort?!"

    This isn't something that I worry about deeply... I just thought it would make an interesting discussion since I'm sure I am not the only one who has encountered feelings of self-doubt from time to time.

    Seeking insight from people who have experienced this for themselves.. If you spent a very long time mastering the LSAT and gaining admissions to a top notch school, how did you fare as a 1L? Did you find anything that surprised you about your classmates? Did you suffer from Imposter Syndrome? If so, how did you overcome?

    Keep in mind that there will be plenty of people at T14 schools that studied very, very hard for the LSAT to get above a 170. And then there will also be URMs that slide in with a mediocre mid-160s LSAT due to the URM boost. Either they didn't put in much effort or they did, and still couldn't get a good score. So you won't be at the very bottom.

  • GuillaumeGuillaume Alum Member
    652 karma

    This is anecdotal evidence, so you may take it with a grain of salt. My ex applied to medical school 5 times before getting accepted with a high enough MCAT. He suffered through impostor syndrome throughout med school but did well. He is now an anesthesiologist at a university research hospital. I think part of what makes for a good student is the amount of grit, passion and determination you are willing to put in. If you are willing to work hard enough and put in enough effort to match someone who has "natural intellect", does it make a difference to the end result?

    Also, keep in mind that you're not starting from scratch every time. You build a knowledge base and as you become an expert in a particular subject area, the incremental increases to your knowledge become easier to attain.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    I considered the whole imposter thing more in the opposite sense. I'm coming straight from a state school. My parents are middle to maybe upper middle class. So at my Top 14, I'm going to be surrounded by people obviously from closer to the elite than me for the first time in my life. But I have an LSAT score way above the 75th percentile. And I got it by studying using the beginner version of an online study program every one of those people from the fancier schools had access to. I talked to some people at an admitted student event who spent thousands of dollars being tutored in person for two years. So in a way my LSAT score is my answer to any imposter syndrome.

    It tells me, these people may have more life experience than me, come from better connected backgrounds than me, may come from better high schools than me, may come from more prestigious undergrads than me, but now we are on level footing. We all will now be judged mainly by a series of tests. And there is one thing I was undoubtedly better at than most of my fellow law students, preparing for and taking the test that we all took to get in. So in the next exams if I prepare using better methods than my peers again and using similar dedication as the most dedicated of them I think I can do well.

    Also if there are people at your school who got low 170's scores with little effort I would worry about how they will do in law school not about you. They clearly didn't understand how the law school admissions game is played or they would have put a ton of effort in and tried to turn their low 170's into high 170's. It is almost always worth trying to maximize your score. I would worry if they are going to understand the law school game any better and prioritize things like practice exams.

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    3652 karma

    Really doubt anyone got a 170+ with little effort. And if they did then they’re in for a big surprise in law school when they realize they need to study and aren’t just going to naturally know the law. You’re at an advantage by dedicating yourself to studying a lot and getting used to putting in work.

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    Act like Cardi! You think she has impostor syndrome? You will never get anywhere without hard work. The same goes for the people around you. Never forget that you deserve to be there just as much as they do.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Whether you work on a multibillion dollar deal or are working to exonerate someone who is wrongly accused of a crime, you will be tasked with an immense responsibility as well as opportunity to zealously advocate for your client. In those times, one may feel like they are not enough or worthy of the task. You need to be able to give a good faith effort in whatever you do as a lawyer and not let your client nor your opposing counsel see your imposter syndrome , even if you feel it. Essentially, you need to fake it till you make it in terms of the confidence. Take faith in yourself, studying for the LSAT over months and years is no simple task and many give up.

  • iamcardibriiamcardibri Alum Member
    edited June 2018 314 karma

    I love it! Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard— whether we’re talking about the LSAT, law school, or beyond!

    The pessimist in me sometimes says that’s just a silly platitude, but your comments and stories have reminded me otherwise. Truly appreciate it!

    Can’t respond to everyone but you all ROCK!!

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