LSAT Diary: LSAT Studying in Egypt

LSAT Blog LSAT Diary LSAT Studying Egypt
After two years, LSAT Blog reader Amanda is finally motivated to study for the LSAT. She's taking it in October 2012 and currently living in Cairo.

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Amanda's LSAT Diary, Part 1:

It has taken me two years to get motivated to study for the LSAT. To pump myself up, believe that I can do it, should do it and just have to do it. While I have spent the last two years having lots of adventures, graduating from college, moving abroad and growing as a person (cliché, but true!), I have also spent the last two years making excuses, psyching myself out and being utterly terrified of the paper booklet that is the LSAT.

This fear has lasted since August 2010, when I first decided to take on the LSAT. I had just returned from a summer study abroad in Morocco and was jolted back into the real world, my senior year of undergrad and an immense storm of depression and anxiety. Due to a whole host of factors (including taking 22 college hours, being on the executive planning committee of several social justice organizations, having roommate issues and being in love with a boy who lived 700 miles away), I had no energy for work outside my homework and wallowing in my bed watching “30 Rock” and drinking wine.

Not realizing how behind schedule I truly was in studying for the LSAT, I had signed up for an online study program with a reputable LSAT prep company in mid-August. I had a little over a month and a half to learn everything about the LSAT for the October 2010 LSAT test date. While I knew I had limited time and leagues to go, I just couldn’t get myself to start studying. When my box of books and study materials arrived, it took me a week to open it—after the online component of the class had already started. I quickly rushed through a diagnostic—a prerequisite to beginning this company’s program—got a score in the low 140s and had my self-confidence shaken. I spent the next month half-heartedly studying. I told myself I was giving it my all, but my online classes (which required I log in six days a week for a two hour class) consisted of me being on Facebook, texting The Boy, eating dinner and then wondering why I was so confused and lost during question explanations. I didn’t even open most of the provided study books. What a waste of a few thousand dollars.

Test day came and I felt surprisingly good. I had still been scoring low on what test prep I had done (I don’t even remember if I took more than a few timed sections of full tests…) but somehow I felt that I would magically kick butt on the real LSAT. I didn’t. After reading my test score in an email on my iPhone Halloween night (what a great time to send out test scores, LSAC) I thought about ending my life and I spent the rest of the weekend sobbing in my bed. I had gotten a 143. I decided I was not going to apply to law schools and had to come up with some sort of back up plan. Over the next few months, I changed my mind multiple times about that decision, and slowly managed to accumulate a full application to one law school—during my spurts of wanting to go to law school, I would request transcripts and letters of recommendation. I ended up finishing my application and sending it in the night before final apps were due—on my birthday, March 15.

Needless to say, I didn’t get into law school. I had half-assed my application, turned it in extremely late, and while I had great letters of rec, a decent GPA and impressive extracurriculars, it was probably clear that I didn’t put any heart into my application—most clearly seen in my LSAT score. My fear, insecurities and anxiety had gotten the better of me during the whole process. External factors aside, I was never able to shake my fear of failing and being scared of embarking on this new phase of my life.

Fast forward. I have been living in Cairo, Egypt for almost a year now. After graduating from college, I packed up my life and moved to Cairo with my boyfriend (the one who used to live 700 miles away!) A long-time Egyptophile, I decided to make the move in order to perfect my Arabic language skills and spend some time truly trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  Life has been tough here though. After the revolution, things changed, and not for the better. The people are more aggressive, sexual harassment is rampant and studying the language has been more difficult than I thought.

Being here though has cemented the fact that I want to be a lawyer. More specifically, I want to be an international human rights lawyer. I spent my college years volunteering at women’s shelters, being a rape victim advocate and planning social justice events on campus that shed light on human rights violations, domestic abuse and women’s issues. But after being in Egypt for a year and seeing the atrocities that Egyptian and Muslim women face on a daily basis has only reinforced my social justice thinking and want to be able to truly help. To be the kind of person that makes a different in people’s lives for the better. To do that, I need to get into a good law school, and gulp, re-take the LSAT.

Photo by khalid-almasoud

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