LSAT Diary: Studying With A Child

LSAT Blog LSAT Diary Studying With A Child
This installment of LSAT Diaries comes from LSAT Blog reader Amy, who's studying for the LSAT while taking care of a child with a developmental disability.

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Thanks to Amy for sharing her story, and please leave her some encouragement and advice!


Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, I relocated to the east coast and I’m coming to you from Wheaton, Maryland! I use to wonder what life would be like if I was born and raised in a big city, like Columbus, Ohio or a different country, like Busan, Korea. Wheaton is actually a stone’s throw away from the Obama’s House on Penn. Ave.

I moved to the DC area when I was 21. I had just earned my BS in Business. I majored in international business. I’ve been married twice. I am a certified massage therapist. I’m an Aquarius. My parents are Korean. I guess I should clarify that last statement to say my parents are from the Republic of Korea. I’ve been asked a few times if I was from North Korea. Really? Perhaps it’s a fair question. I earned my second bachelor’s degree in 2010. Until now, I’ve always had cats. Last spring I adopted a puppy for my son. The Newfie was supposed to be trained as Audric’s therapy dog, but time, money, and effort turned her into the common household (gigantic) pet. Oh, and I’m a special education teacher.

I’m 33 years-old, finishing my MS in Curriculum and Instruction. I am a special education teacher in the public school system. My son, Audric has a developmental disability. His premature birth was a predisposition to his disability, in my lay opinion. I’ve been to so many medical consults that I feel I am somewhat of a medical expert myself. I got into special education because of Audric. When he started pre-school and I had time away from him, I found a job as a para educator in the public school system. I was there to put him on the bus and I was back with 5 minutes (literally) to spare before his bus arrived. One of the beauties of having special education services is having the bus ride right up to your door. The only thing better would have been having a ground level apartment facing the stop, so I didn’t have to wait outside when it was cold.

Since I already had a bachelor’s degree, I enrolled in the Master’s of Teaching program, but I really wanted to be a special education teacher and know about special education services, so I changed my degree path. By the time Audric turned 5, I was finishing my program with my clinical experience. So, his first year while he was in kindergarten, I was completing my teaching internship. I was on professional leave from my para educator position. It was December (2010) and I was finished.

I had two choices, go back and be a para until spring (when the teaching posts open up) or turn in my resignation to be added to the sub list. I called the principal at my old school and asked if there were any opportunities. I remember speaking to the human resources representative and being advised by resigning my position, I’d be losing benefits. Furthermore, subs don’t get benefits. This was something I had to consider, I mean, I had Audric to think about. But, Audric qualified for medical assistance, so he was covered, even if I was not. I had a long-term sub position by January (2011). Then, by April 2011, I was hired on as a full time special education teacher. I got my benefits back.

So my decision to take the LSAT isn’t a new revelation. I’ve taken it before when I was 22 or something. I scored a 148. I didn’t know Steve existed then. Given my score, plus my low GPA from my first bachelor’s, 2.38, I wasn’t getting in anywhere. Thankfully, I wasn’t serious about law school at that time, so no dream was being crushed. But now, well, things are different. First, I considered starting over (again) and becoming a neuroscientist. I thought if anyone was going to find out about Audric’s disability, it would be me and I’m convinced it’s neurological. There’s some kind of miscommunication or lack of connection from his brain being able to tell his mouth how to speak. So, there are some motor planning issues and neurons not talking to each other, it’s like they are ignoring one another or yelling at each other. That’s not his only issue, but it definitely spikes his behaviors when he gets frustrated not being able to tell you something.

Then, I thought I’d apply for doctoral programs in special education. I actually started studying for the GRE. Then, the more I looked at research projects being done at the schools I was considering applying to, I was losing interest. I didn’t see any projects I’d want to spend time on. Before I do my own research projects, I’d have to work with someone first to get the experience. And, I am in my last semester of my master’s program. My first class is a foundation in research class. I’m having the hardest time studying to learn about how to do research. I just had a call with my mentor. She has faith in me, but advises that I not put it off. I told her I was studying, but nothing was sticking. Then, I told her I was studying for the LSAT, so I’ve been completely distracted for the time being.

I remember writing Steve recently asking about his study guides. I read the diaries and different blog posts. I was planning to take the LSAT in February (2013). Then, I realized I had time to study and take it in December (2012). But, at the last minute, I bought the 1 month day-by-day planner with the idea I might take it in October (2012). Then, the first thing I read in Steve’s planner was something like, if you’re working full time or in school full time, it probably wouldn’t be the wisest to do the monthly planner to prep for the LSAT. I realize I probably didn’t make the wisest choice, but I wanted to push myself and add pressure to be motivated to study and if possible, be ready by October.

I’m on day 4. I am following the planner. My only question to Steve at this point would be, if I am having a hard time with selection logic games, working through the questions twice (day 3), can I move on to day 4 studying? I went back to day 3 today (after I finished day 4 problems) and did a little better. I was all over the place and it’s so hard to look at specific questions. I have to start from the beginning. But one thing I learned fast is rather than stare at the problem and try to set it up, especially if it’s a new type of game, watch the video first and see what Steve does. His thinking process is incredibly helpful.

Then, go and try and set it up yourself and see if the logic makes better sense. Setting up a logic game is the hardest. No, I take that back, understanding the contrapositive, sufficient and necessary clause is the hardest. I actually like the games. It’s like Steve says, it’s better to take a systematic approach and do the work of setting up the different scenarios in the beginning and answering the questions will be easier to get through. I love those videos, especially the ones that are under 9 minutes.

Photo by bdorfman

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