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On Not Having a Life (Or, How Studying for the LSAT Is Like Running a Marathon)


There are some pursuits in life that are so labor-intensive and time-consuming that they quickly end up occupying most of your brain-space. Studying for the LSAT is, not surprisingly, one of those things – and as I’ve recently discovered, training for a marathon is another. (Oh, you didn’t know I’m training for a marathon? We must not have had a conversation lasting more than 30 seconds in the last couple months.)

The thing about these niche, life-occupying activities is that people who aren’t doing that thing just don’t get it. Sure, they might understand that you’re spending a lot of time on something you really care about – but they probably don’t know (or even want to know) much more than that. So here is my ode to not-having-a-life (for goal-related reasons):

It changes your habits

Like many 20-somethings, the thought of waking up to work out in the morning was – at one time – both laughable and a little horrifying to me. After all, my early morning hours were reserved for recovering from the happy hour that I’d hit a little too hard with my friends the previous evening. Suddenly, here I am just a few short months later, waking up before the crack of dawn to get my tempo run in. I hardly even recognize myself!

Similarly, studying for the LSAT and nights spent taking advantage of discounts on alcoholic beverages are – sadly – usually incompatible. Once you begin studying for the LSAT, you’ll probably find yourself turning down dinner and after-work drink invites in favor of heading home and hitting the books. And that’s okay, because it’s totally necessary if you’re serious about doing well on the LSAT (studying for the LSAT while hung over sucks… or at least, that’s what a friend told me *cough*).

No one quite understands

You know that feeling you get when you get a really good practice test score or nail a tricky logic game, and you’re really excited, and you just want to share the good news with someone? Yeah… good luck with that. You can always count on a “good job, sweetie” from Mom, and your friends might feign interest, but that’s about it – there just aren’t that many people who even understand what you’re talking about, let alone who can legitimately be excited for you.

Likewise, sometimes I’ll have a great long run or nail a workout, and I just want to share the good news with someone – anyone. However, I like my friends and I’d like them to keep talking to me. They have already heard far too much about my running-related activities. So, aside from a few friends who are just as crazy as I am, I have to keep my bragging internal.


So there are some negative aspects – but the good news is that there are some upsides, too. Both studying for the LSAT and running a marathon are relatively measurable achievements, so when you look back after your months of studying, you’ll be able to see concrete evidence of the progress you’ve made. (Another reason that taking a diagnostic test is so helpful!)

And, most importantly to keep in mind, it’s temporary. Right now, your life might revolve around determining which clown got out of the car first (and other similar conundrums), but soon you’ll be free again. So let the LSAT consume your life for a little while, and know that the eventual payoff will be worthwhile.