I've decided to create this blog in order to survive the law school admissions process and, eventually, law school. I think it may keep me somewhat sane to regularly vent about the stress I am under to the wide open web out there so I don't make my poor fiance listen to any more of it than she already does. Sometimes I just need to get it all out, uninterrupted and uncensored, without worrying about appearing or sounding weak or whiny to whomever I am talking to, even Renee (my fiance). I doubt than anyone will ever even read this, let alone read it regularly, but the possibility that someone will someday read this will force me to be as honest as possible. I haven't spent a whole lot of time looking yet, because I don't have a whole lot of free time to do much of anything not related to academics in some way, but I have yet to find a good getting-into-law-school book that is just about a real person, and not strategy. There are several books about the first year of law school, and a few about law school in general, but no personal narratives about the preparation and application process. I would love to read some, so I think other people going through this may also like to know how someone else felt about the experience, as it was happening.
In any event, here I am, writing to both nobody and everybody at the same time. On the off chance that this is being read by anyone, I suppose I should introduce myself. I'm Lauren. (The title is a little play on words and accents - my parents are from Staten Island, NY and pronounce my name "Law-ren" and since I'm going to law school to be a lawyer, I figured I'd run with it. Really I just don't have the mental energy to come up with a witty and creative title for a blog that will probably sit out there in cyberland alone forever, visited by no one.) I am a 22 year old senior, attending a mediocre college in South Jersey, trying to get into a top law school for the Fall of 2009. I know its a long shot, but with a 3.95 GPA and an LSAT score above the 98th percentile, I feel like I have as much a chance as I can make for myself, and am trying as hard as I can to get there. I'm a Political Science, Pre-law major with a minor in Women's Studies (I know, that's so stereotypically lesbian of me) and I plan to practice public interest civil litigation, advocating for women's and LGBTQ rights with a leading nonprofit like the ACLU, the Women's Law Project, or Lambda Legal. I readily admit to being a total nerd, standard overachiever, and obsessive compulsive control freak. For some strange reason, a wonderful woman fell in love with me anyway, and we've been engaged now for almost four years, which is only a few months less than the time we've been together (I know, again, stereotypically lesbian - insert U-Haul joke here).
Renee is eight years older than I am and had a lovely career as a social worker before she went into kidney failure last year as a result of lupus, which is a chronic autoimmune disease that basically causes your immune system to attack healthy parts of your body, like your skin or your joints, or your organs. For Renee, most of her symptoms have always been in her kidneys, but it was still a complete surprise when we found out how sick she was in the spring of 2007. I withdrew from my classes, postponed graduation, she lost her job and went on permanent disability, we lost our apartment and her car and then had to move in with her uncle while Renee underwent chemotherapy and high-dose steroid treatments. Renee's uncle is 70 years old, an immigrant from Sicily, an ardent Republican, and a total homophobe. Needless to say, he does not know that we are together, or that either of us are lesbians. He and her aunt raised Renee from the age of three, when her mother died of a brain tumor and her abusive father didn't really want her (thank goodness). Renee's aunt died of cancer a few years before we met, so her uncle is pretty much the only family she has left. I am usually a totally out and proud activist lesbian (I was never actually in the closet), so moving here has been an adjustment for me, but we're both grateful to have someplace to go, because we would have been practically homeless if we couldn't come here. My family is wonderful, but complicated and sometimes crazy. There is too much tension between us for Renee and I to spend any extended period of time there, so living with them was not really an option, although we probably could have if it was absolutely necessary.
I am putting the finishing touches and final polish on my law school applications this week, and am pretty much keeping my fingers crossed until large official looking envelopes full of acceptances begin overflowing from my mailbox every afternoon... No, really, I am hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, which really isn't even that bad in the grand scheme of things. I don't want to sound like a conceited jerk here, but since probably nobody will read this I'm just going to come right out and tell the truth. Most people from my college that are applying to law school are not shooting for the same level as I am. They will be happy to get a mediocre LSAT score and go to a mid or lower-tier law school. And that is totally fine and dandy, for them. I am working toward something higher than that, and am applying to almost all of the top schools, the best of the best. Of course, I'm also being practical and applying to a couple of schools that I am fairly certain I'll get into and probably also get scholarships for, but my target schools are not on the lists of any of my fellow students from my college, that I know of. At least not this year. There are a few very smart students in my major that are a year or two behind me, who are also thinking about upper-level schools and have the potential to possibly be accepted by one, and I hope they do. I only mention this because a large part of the reason I feel like I need to have an outlet like this is because I don't feel like I can talk to any of the other students in my classes about this, even though they are going through the same process, because they all seem to think that I am definitely getting into Harvard or Yale or something and that I don't need to stress the way they do, since my numbers are higher than theirs are. But, of course, I am very stressed about these things but can't explain it to them without sounding condescending because my fall back schools are their reach schools. For me, ending up at Rutgers will mean a failure, but for them, Rutgers is their top choice and is a somewhat distant hope. There is nothing wrong with that, but I feel pretty alone in this. Renee has been wonderfully supportive, but she isn't really involved in it and I think she thinks this is somehow easy for me because school has always been pretty easy for me in general. She thinks I am stressing myself out unnecessarily and that I'm sure to be accepted by a great law school. I hope she's right, but can't help but feel nervous. Statistically, my odds are not great. I guess I'll just have to wait and see though . . .