Archive for June, 2011

Scores Just Released06.29.11

I did okay on the LSAT, not quite to what I know I can do, so I will be taking it again in October. In the mean time, I will continue my application process with the score that I have. It’s not a terrible score, just not a shoo-in score.

I will be leaving early tomorrow morning to climb Mount Rainier. So it will be quiet around here until I get back.

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Day Before the Climb06.22.11

Is it wrong to be more nervous over my mountain climb than my LSAT?

I’ve spent about the same amount of time “training” for both since the thought of law school, triggered the need to study for LSAT, and the need to climb Mount Baker before school starts.

Now that I’m this far along in training, I’m really glad to be doing this now. I don’t know if I can muster up this much time and energy, nor do I know if my joints will hold up under 50% of my bodyweight, five years down the line. So I’m happy to have the chance to do all this now.

Unlike the day before LSAT however, instead of trying to get my nerves to calm, I’m scrambling to make sure my IRA accounts have beneficiary and writing down passwords to my accounts in case anything happens to me and the boyfriend needs access to them.

It’s a somber moment. The day before a big trip. It’s exciting, but it’s also about planning for the unexpected.

It’s strange how I only think about these things before flying or when I’m about to head out into the woods with a big pack for a few days. When you think about it, that’s actually poor planning, since statistically, just getting into a car is more dangerous.

Still, it’s worth looking into if you haven’t. Find all your accounts, write down info to access them, tape it under a desk or somewhere hidden and let a loved one know.

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Friday: Reviewing the Situation06.18.11

Note: This is part of a feel-good writing exercise. We will continue with our regular programs after this.

List three things that went well the last seven days?

On Wednesday, I finally worked my way up to carrying 50lbs up Mount Si. I started training back in February, at the time I weighed 105lbs. I’ve gained 5 lbs since then (I’ll call them muscle weight, don’t argue with me). I wasn’t sure if it was ever possible for someone 5’0″ even at 110lbs to carry 50lbs up a mountain. Maybe if they were sherpa types, but not the soft programmer types. I’ve spent most of my working life typing on some computer. My hands were so very soft. I couldn’t do hard labor to save my life. Still, it could be done. It wasn’t pretty, and I almost gave up many times along the way, but I did it:

Note: People ask why lug water jugs? Mountaineers use water jugs so that they can dump out the water on top of the mountain, this saves the wear-and-tear on the knees on the way back down. Downhill climbing with a heavy pack is very bad for your knees, we try to save that for the actual climb. I’m usually one of the fastest people when it comes to downhill, so I’m not concerned about training for that.

After the big hike, the boyfriend said he wanted to cook steak dinner for me. We decided to invite some guests over to join us. We invited 3 people. Those 3 brought 3 people so we had a nice little condo full of people. We wanted to move into the city so that we can have friends over more often, so it’s great to see it pan out.

My sister loves having house parties, but I used to feel bad for just showing up, making a mess then leaving because she wouldn’t let us help her clean. Now I understand why. Because it’s nice to have guests over, getting drunk with your guests then get to stay put while everyone has to go home. It’s so nice that even cleaning after becomes a joy.

This week, we drove our car as little as possible. It was one of our big goals for moving into the city. We wanted to be able to walk everywhere. The first few weeks here, we moved and moved and shopped and moved, so we really didn’t get a chance to walk anywhere. Yesterday was such a beautiful day, I walked down to the boyfriend’s work, from there we walked to the bank to set up our joint account then walked to Pike Place Market to have dinner at an outdoor patio

I can’t remember the last time we drove this week. It’s really nice.

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Thursday: Dear…06.17.11

Note: This is part of a feel-good writing exercise. We will continue with our regular programs after one more day of feel-goodness.

Dear Boyfriend,

Thank you for waking up early every weekend since February to help me pack my backpack, wake my sorry butt up, and drive me out to a mountain to train with me. I know on some hikes I can be a crazy grumpy bitch, I blame the pack, I’d like to think I was nicer soon as the extra pounds came off.

Congratulations on your new job and I’m so glad you’re back to normal schedule and not graveyard shifts anymore. It’s nice to see you more often during normal human hours. However, because our schedules to hike no longer mesh, you have been missed the last couple hikes.

Thanks for mounting all the snowboard racks and bike rack and random stuff racks. Also, thanks for securing all my bookcases to the walk, it’s comforting to know I might not get crushed to death by books come the next earthquake. I will check the security of said bookcase wall mounts when you take out a large life insurance on me, just so you know.

Our home looks great, thanks. Oh, thanks for the sweet snowboard, I really would have waited another season or two before splurging on a new one.

Thank you for perfecting the art of cooking my favorite food, steak. I know I was being harsh when I told you that you over-cooked my steak back in the days, but as you can tell, I’m such a freaking cry-baby when I have to eat less than bloody steaks.

Thanks for supporting every crazy hair-brained idea I get in my head. I have too many of them, I know. Thanks for understanding my neurosis and commitment-issues. There are too many of those as well.

I’m just very happy that we are happy right now.

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Wednesday: Future Fantastic06.16.11

Note: Be careful with this particular exercise. This is part of a feel-good writing exercise and it’s all that it is. Don’t take this moment to envision yourself doing well on the LSAT right before an LSAT. Researchers have shown that between two groups, one spending time envisioning themselves doing well on the test and the control group, the control group does better. In spending time dreaming about doing well on the test, this group spends less time studying because they feel so good about themselves. Study hard. Dream less when it comes to studying for the LSAT.

Many of you stumbled across this site after the June 2011 LSAT, which could mean you are in the same boat I am, and you’re hoping for the same “Future Fantastic” I am.

This blog is called 40 Year Old Law Student, but my goal with this is be able to write about the 40 Year Old Law School Graduate. Assuming my hard work pays off, I will be starting law school next fall. Then assuming more hard work paying off, I will be graduating from law school when I’m 40.

Did you go to your college commencement? I didn’t. I moved from Scripps Women’s College to UW when I changed my major from Pre-Med to Applied Computational Math and Sciences (it’s a math and comp sci hybrid degree). I finished school a year later than my friends due the switching majors so late, and my last course ended in January. By the time commencement rolled around, I was so done with college. I didn’t think my parents would care to much to watch waves of people get called either.

I kind of regret that decision now. My parents put three kids through various stages of college and I am the only one with a degree. It would have been their only chance to have a college grad photo op. I feel like I robbed them of that.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but I feel like as we age, all we have are our memories of big moments. I will definitely walk when I graduate law school. I used to think I do this to make my parents proud, now, I just want my mom to be happy, even if it’s for one day.

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Tuesday: Terrific Times06.14.11

Have you ever walked around the quad at UW during the cherry blossom season?

It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

I remembered on my first year attending UW, while I was rushing from some math to computer science class, I looked up for a moment and my breath got caught and I stopped dead on track. The person behind me ran into me, because I went from moving as fast as my little legs could carry me to a complete standstill, and she knocked the breath back in. I apologized and moved out of traffic. Cherry blossom petals swirled around us from the occasional wind blowing through. The world smelled so wonderful and it was rose colored without the rose colored lens. I remembered feeling very content and happy to be alive. I was happy for everyone around me to be alive whether they were enjoying that moment or not with me, I was simply happy for their existence.

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Monday: Thanksgiving06.13.11

I know most of Seattle is ready for summer, but my window treatment is still on order, so would it be terribly selfish of me to be thankful that we have not move into broiling hot weather yet?

I talked about mountaineer training too much, but it’s really the center of my focus for the next couple weeks, so bear with me. On the day of LSAT, I was extremely grateful that my arms were functional. This might sound silly, in that we generally take the use of our arms for granted. However, on the outing before last, we practiced self-arrest on the snow for hours.

For those that don’t mountaineer, self-arrest is used to stop yourself or your rope team from sliding down a steep snowy mountain. A lot of that downhill force is initially stopped by your arms using ice-ax. There are times when the force of the team will threaten serious arm to shoulder dislocation.

This ended up feeling like doing hours of push-ups with added claps for glee. I was very concerned. Luckily, we were focused on walking together as a rope team the weekend before LSAT, so I a mostly functional human being.

Most of my furnishing is starting to trickle in, so my home is starting to look like an actual home, for this I am so very thankful. My favorite furniture thus far is our dining set. It’s perched in the corner of my living room, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.

I spend far more time sitting on that chair writing or watching the city life go by. My office is still stacked with boxes to unpack. The desktop computer with its large monitor and sexy photo-editing capability is pouting from dust gathering. My mattress sits on the floor waiting to be made into an opium den for some back-ordered bed-frame. Life is still bliss on that chair. Thank you, beautiful perch.

Through natural selection, I have wonderful friends that do not give me hell when I fall off the face of the planet for a few months at a time. My sister, with her endless stream of relationship woes, is understanding when I don’t always have time to listen to why her boyfriend truly sucks this time. I appreciate the friends and family that helped me celebrate the passing of test day even after months of neglect.

I’m thankful that the sunburns I got from standing on a snowfield all day while the sun was blazing out is now healing. People are starting to smile back when I smile at them as opposed to covering the children’s eyes.

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Stop Worrying About Your LSAT Score and Give Thanks06.11.11

Scores for June 2011 LSAT will not be released for at least another two weeks. Are you freaking out? Why? No, really, it’s not going to affect your score one bit whether you spend the next two weeks freaking out or sipping muddled cane juice Mojitos on the beach.

I have a few prep course classmates that have finals to worry about this week, so I’m extremely grateful that I have the luxury of being able to go get shit-faced the moment the test ended. I also know that I have many thanks to give to the people around me for putting up with me the last couple months.

The last couple weeks were extra rough. On the Thursday before LSAT, I had a complete melt-down. The boyfriend and I moved into our new place for less than a week. We were trying to get the place into some semblance of an order for his parents to stay with us the next day (it’s their first visit since he moved here from Hawaii a few years ago, and I didn’t want them to think his girlfriend was raised by drunk and disorderly wolves, although our fridge tells otherwise). In between building shelves and putting stuff away, I was digging frantically through boxes and boxes of unpacked stuff to look for gear for my mountaineering outing on Saturday and Sunday. At some point, the boyfriend stopped to tweeze an in-grown hair and I freaked out, cried fat angry tears, and accused him of not putting in enough effort to help. If not for his parents visiting, we wouldn’t be scrambling to make the place look like a home, and I would be able to spend more time studying, so in my mind, he was basically sabotaging me.

Now that the test is over, I can tell you, the boyfriend has been nothing but supportive. His parents booked the visit last year, so it’s not his fault timing ended up bad. To support my efforts in training for the climb, every weekend for the last four months, he would get up early and weigh my pack carefully, gradually increasing from 15lbs to 45lbs. Then he would wake my very sorry ass up, drive us to a mountain and hike with me. I didn’t always wake up well. Some days, I would make it seem like no one else’s life was harder than mine at that moment, and oh please just let me have another 5 minutes of peaceful respite from my terribly tough life. At 5’0″, 105lbs, schlepping that much weight up and down a mountain every weekend was terrible drama at times. It was like getting wasted on cheap tequila too often, the body would shudder and threaten to shut down before the shot could make its way down.

In effort to help get my head out of my own ass for the next couple weeks, I want to make an effort to be thankful.

Maybe you were a much better person than me, and you kept your cool the entire time. However, it’s still wasted energy to fret over your LSAT score. Perhaps you would like to join me in a little “thankful” writing exercise for the next five days. If you have the time to waste worrying, you probably do have a few things to be thankful for.

Here’s a quick little exercise I found in the book “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot“. There’s potential to increase your level of happiness and reduce stress, using very little of your time.

  • Day 1: Thanksgiving: Are there things in your life that you are grateful for? These might include having good friends, supportive relationships or family, nice home, a job that you enjoy, great conversations or happy memory. Think back over the past week and list three of these things.
  • Day 2: Terrific Times: Think about an incredible experience in your life. It could be a moment you felt absolute content, were in love, danced to an amazing DJ, or shared a moment with friends. Choose one experience and picture yourself in that moment. Spend a few moments writing about the experience and your feelings at the time, do not worry about grammar and such, this is for you to live.
  • Day 3: Future Fantastic: Imagine that you have worked hard and achieved all your goals and that your personal and professional life feels like a dream. Spend a few moments writing about this.
  • Day 4: Dear…: Think about someone important to you. Imagine you have one opportunity to tell this person what they mean to you. Write a letter to this person. Tell this person why you care about them and the impact they have had in your life.
  • Day 5: Reviewing the Situation: Think back over the past seven days and write about three things that went well for you. It could be something big or small. Could be simple as finding a parking space or important as new job opportunity. Jot down a sentence as to why you think each event turned out so well.

That is it. Each day of writing is meant to be short, but gives you a moment to focus on something else, hopefully positive.

Personally, I plan on looking into applying for law school as well as options to pay for law school, and spending time with people that I’ve neglected in the past months. My personal finance can certainly use some organizing. I am working on a couple projects for work that I’ve been putting off. The boyfriend and I are movie junkies, we just saw Kung Fu Panda 2 and are hoping to catch X-Men: First Class tonight.

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Day After LSAT06.07.11

I woke up very dehydrated this morning, the tannins from 2+ bottles of wine didn’t help. I had wine with dinner at home, then met up with my sister and her friends, where our group of 7 ended up with 8 corks on the table, then when everyone else left, my sister and I had yet another bottle. That seemed about right after the last month.

One question that came up during dinner was how was it possible that I seemed so relaxed. Really, at this point, it’s completely pointless to worry. The worst thing that can happen is that I don’t do as well as I hope, and I’ll take it again in October. It’s the beauty of June LSAT. This may postpone my hopes of going after early decision for some schools, but it’s really not that big of a deal.

I’m starting to look at applications a bit, but for the next three weeks, my big focus will be getting myself into good enough shape to carry 50lbs up Mount Baker.

This last weekend served me a huge slice of humble pie. I thought I was ahead of the game from early training and packing 45lbs up and down Mount Si, but then I got to class and everyone had longer legs and left me in the dust.

Physical grading curve sucks.

After the most grueling death slog bushwhacking through steep forested mountainside, complete with slippery wet decaying stumps that occasionally crumpled beneath our plastic mountaineering boots causing a potential human bowling game with each crunch, we found ourselves in a gorgeous snowfield. Then came the death slog across a snow field across Windy Pass, named aptly with the wind nearly succeeding in toppling me over many times. And then there it was! Our camp space. Glorious!

I feel like law school is a lot like mountaineering. It’s hard work, quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve done. It nearly broke me a few times, and tested everything I’ve got and asking for more. It’s a death march, but light at the end makes it all worth it. Or so I hope.

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LSAT Test Day06.06.11

I did extensive mountaineering training the last two days so I woke up with all kinds of muscle tweaks and pain. Despite the body aches, I felt pretty good. I woke up and had breakfast at my new dinner table at my new condo celebrating the fact that I survived the weekend’s grueling exercise.

I got ready, packed my ziplock baggie of stuff and walked to the test site which was a couple blocks from my condo. There were quite a few Steven Klein’s classmates there. We talked about bringing in a banner for our group during our break. Maybe we could have just made up our own gang signs and just threw them up randomly to psyche out other people.

How did I do? I honestly think at worst, I did average and at best probably 158. My absolute worst section was the experimental section, which was the first section I did. I was very happy to not have stressed over that section when it confused the hell out of me.

Steven Klein has a gathering tonight to discuss post testing strategy, but I really just don’t want to think about that test anymore for now. It’s a sigh of relief that the test is over with and I can stop stressing over that and start planning my application process. I need a drink.

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