However, when I started studying for the LSAT my world turned upside down. I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted, and my self-confidence and mood fluctuated based on my LSAT section scores. For me, the worst part of the LSAT wasn’t just not doing as well as expected --- it was the fact that I was trying my best and still wasn’t hitting my target score. Perhaps it was that I was studying hard but not studying smart, or that I just wasn’t competent. At the end, it was the feeling of not knowing which and how to fix it that kept me up at night.
From agonizing over points instead of learning the material to adapting unhealthy coping mechanisms, the LSAT was easily one of the darkest times in my life. In fact, if it wasn’t for my support system of friends and family who consistently picked me back up, I don’t know if I would be here today --- once I had a panic attack in my car and as soon as I told my roommate, she immediately drove home with my favorite latte in her hand and gently stroked my hair while I ugly cried in her lap. One time my other roommate asked me how my day was, and I burst out into tears. We’re both awkward people, so I just excused myself and went to my bedroom to take selfies of myself crying for future finsta content. Minutes later, she hugged me in my bedroom and texted me a cool video on the corruption of the glasses industry as a distraction. Sadly, it didn’t work.
You know when your grandma comes to visit and everything gets slowed down by 43%? She doesn’t mean to take more time than necessary to walk from the car to the ice cream parlor, but she just can’t help it. Once she finally makes it to the bench outside the parlor, she just sits there. She watches your little brother’s ice cream drip onto the pavement and a wave of guilt washes over her. She simply sits there, feeling guilty for being a burden. Basically, I became your grandma. Every time my friends would offer to come over and check up on me or leave kind text messages, I politely declined because I felt guilty for having no updates or #tea, except that, in my last practice test, logic games was the bonus section.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine shook my shoulders and told me that he liked taking care of me that everything changed. He told me that I took care of him, so it was only time for him to return the favor. At that moment, my entire perspective evolved: I thought about how good I felt when I took care of my friends, and realized that I had been depriving them of that sensation. So, I decided to chill out and force myself to accept kindness from myself and others. Doing so taught me a lot about relationships and friendship, and even today, I am learning to let the people in my life show their love and NOT being awkward about receiving it.
But know this: it’s not all romantic. My score didn’t magically go up forty points and my acne didn’t dissolve off my face when I learned to start letting others love. Instead, my attitude improved: I took a step back and learned to care for myself. I started taking it day by day, and even though there were still bad days, I spent less time agonizing. When I finally took the LSAT in January, I said a prayer and made the decision to apply with whatever score I got to see where it would take me. Additionally, I focused on the other parts of my application: my GPA, my extracurricular activities and resume, and my personal statement.
By the end of the application cycle, I had been admitted to five law schools and waitlisted at two top twenty-five law schools. At the time, I was upset because I wasn’t admitted to the crème of the crop, and in doing so, I forgot that I had a lot to be grateful for: I graduated cum laude and got into law school at twenty years old. To this day, I feel guilty for never letting myself feel proud about this. Since then, I promised myself to always focus on the positives and silver linings and more than anything, I wish I did this sooner.
A week before graduation, I reluctantly paid a deposit for a law school I wasn’t 100% set on. Although the school was reputable and close to home, something just felt wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it. When faced with the choice to start there or try again next year, I was torn. On one hand, I was afraid of what people would say if they found out I wasn’t going to law school in the fall, and on another hand, I knew that I deserved conviction in my life decision. Additionally, a small part of me was afraid: what if I blow this shot in search of something better that hasn’t even found me yet?
In prayer, I remember begging God to give me a sign. I consulted my mentors and friends, and they all reminded me of how young I was and that any experience was good experience. Call it divine intervention or a coincidence, but a week later I received an email from the law school offering me a nonbinding year-long deferral that let me keep my scholarship and deposit. When I studied the stakes involved, the worst-case scenario would be that I postponed law school for a year and gained some real world experience (and made some cash on the side). The next day, I sent over my deferral and the opportunity search begin.
After months of job hunting via interviews that my House of Representatives Internship supervisor graciously let me take in the office supply closet, a WHOLE lot of rejection letters, feeling inept and immediately drowning my sorrows in Boba, I received a production internship offer with NPR’s comedy newscast, “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me” in Chicago. Although the road here was tough, I’m very grateful for my decision to defer. Most importantly, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to choose; my parents were supportive about either decision and I recognize that not everyone has that luxury.
When I think back to this time last year, a wave of peace envelops me. Surely they'll never be a moment where the stars align and sometimes, I really do wish I just bit the bullet and started law school. But right now, I'm focusing on being confident in my decision and learning to breathe. Although I’m anxious about the journey ahead, I wish that, more than anything, I could go back and tell myself that everything is going to be okay if I am trying my best --- even if my best never feels good enough.