Archive for February, 2013


The Canadian Effect

Realistically, over the next three months this blog is going to be dominated by my thoughts regarding where I should spend the bulk of the next three years of my life. But right now there’s a bit of a lull in the action. I get my LSAT marks in one week’s time, but until then I’d be surprised if I hear from any schools, so I’m going to put the university talk on the back-burner for now.

***

One thing I’ve found helpful when travelling overseas is the Canadian Effect. Let me explain.

When I was younger, people always told me how much the rest of the world hates Americans. I heard stories about how Americans get treated differently when they’re travelling. Locals might treat them with less respect, or be less patient with them, or less welcoming. I was told of the importance of identifying yourself as a Canadian when you’re abroad, because otherwise you’ll be mistaken for an American.

I thought it was all a bit silly. I mean, people might dislike the actions of the American government, but surely they wouldn’t take it out on American travelers, would they?

But now that I’ve spent a decent amount of time overseas, I believe it.

Whenever I had to deal with locals in the UK – be it a pub, a burger joint, or a grocery store checkout – I found that they were always warm and friendly towards me… up until I spoke. But once I spoke, I would see their eyes cloud over and suddenly that initial warmth would be gone. It was almost as if I could hear them saying “Ugh. American.” Given the respective populations of Canada and America, it’s perfectly reasonable that they would assume that I was from the US. It was a strange feeling, and for a while it made me very self-conscious about speaking. Enough so that if I could possibly get through an encounter without having to speak at all, I would.

Then, quite by accident, I discovered a trick.

I was about to pay for my groceries at a store in Oxford. After the cashier forced me to respond to the question “How are you?”, I saw her eyes cloud over. I was fumbling through my wallet for a ten pound note to pay for my groceries. I could almost feel her rolling her eyes at me, as if to say “HURRY UP, AMERICAN. YOU’RE HOLDING UP THE LINE.” In my haste I pulled out a $10 Canadian bill instead. “Whoops, that’s Canadian” I said sheepishly, and resumed my search. But as I looked up at the cashier, I noticed something. The clouds were gone, and she even had the beginnings of a smile on her face. “Take all the time you need, my Canadian friend!” she seemed to say.

After this incident, I started to do this on purpose whenever I had to pay for anything. I’d fumble through my wallet and begin to pull out a Canadian bill before realising my error and saying “Sorry, that’s a Canadian bill.” And you know what? It worked. Perhaps I was just imagining it, but I frequently noticed that people became friendlier towards me once they realised that I was a Canadian, and not an American. So now whenever I go abroad I make sure to carry a Canadian bill with me, just so I can use the Canadian Effect to my advantage.

Like I said, perhaps I was imagining it. But try it for yourself, see what happens.

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A Needed Victory

After last week’s LSE rejection, I was in need of a win. Fortunately, I got one:

Unknown

Waitlisted

Rejected

Accepted

University of Toronto McGill University University of Leicester
Queen’s University London School of Economics Queen Mary
Western University
Osgoode Hall
University of Ottawa
University of Windsor
Durham University
University College London

So, in at Queen Mary. That’s definitely good news, if not unexpected. It puts me in a position where if from here on out I get nothing but rejections I’ll be at Queen Mary, and that isn’t bad at all.

The LSAT mark comes in on March 6th, and after that I’m expecting to hear back from the Canadian schools in fairly short order. For now, nothing to do but wait.

Crap

A shitty start to reading week, my friends.

Let’s go to the Big Board:

Unknown

Waitlisted

Rejected

Accepted

University of Toronto McGill University University of Leicester
Queen’s University London School of Economics
Western University
Osgoode Hall
University of Ottawa
University of Windsor
Queen Mary
Durham University
University College London

LSE turned me down. That stings. I’m not in the proper mental state to give a balanced view of what this means for my decision making process. Maybe I can do that tomorrow. Right now, this just sucks.

The Eve Of LSAT The Third

Tomorrow I’ll be writing the LSAT for the third and final time. 

I feel very similar to how I felt before I wrote the SAT back in 2008. That is, I feel like this test is both the single most important test that I’ve ever had to write, and at the same time a colossal waste of time. 

On one hand, I’ve already got two 162s in the bag. Those are good scores, and should get me at least a few offers in Ontario. Plus, my excellent score on the LNAT should help boost my chances in the UK. So really, this LSAT means very little. 

But on the other hand, there’s U of T. And I can say with complete confidence that U of T is the sole reason that I’m taking this test again. My scores and grades are such that my odds of getting into those 2nd tier Canadian schools (Queen’s, Western, Osgoode, York, Ottawa) are above 50%. I may not get into all of them, but I’m fairly likely to get into at least two. U of T is a different beast, however. As it stands, my odds of getting in are probably in the 25%-35% range. Not impossible, but unlikely. That’s why I’m putting myself through this godawful test again. 

Law schools only look at your highest LSAT mark, so I can’t hurt myself here. Even if I bomb and post up a 155, I won’t hurt my chances. I may hurt myself when I see that score, but I’ll be no less likely to get in anywhere than I am today. If, on the other hand, I could improve my mark, even by a single point, I’ll increase my chances. My goal is a 165. If I could meet that goal, I’m looking at a 45%-50% chance of getting into U of T.

Of course, that’s a tough goal to meet. 165 might not sound much higher than 162, but when you’ve written the test twice and scored 162 each time, you’ve got a pretty clear indication of what you’re going to score the third time around. 

So yeah, I guess we’ll see. In many ways it doesn’t matter how well I do on this test, but unless I do better than 162, I’m probably going to have to switch schools after this year. Urgh.