Making Choices

I’m a pack rat, don’t like to throw things out but there comes a time when it has to be done.

That means I’m trying to do a bit of decluttering these days. I am going through boxes of paper, deciding what to keep, what to shred and what to just recycle.

I can’t decide if my high school diploma is worth keeping. No employer has ever asked me to prove that I graduated from high school. Or for that matter to prove that I graduated from university. They just take it on faith that I can read and write.

My high school grades were okay, but not stunning. There are reasons for that, though I must admit that the primary one was laziness. My theory was that I could get acceptable marks with a minimum of effort. Why I should I expend a lot of effort for only a marginal increase? I know this is not an acceptable attitude, but it stood me well at the time.

In adulthood I have at times adopted a similar approach to certain situations. Much as I would like to be perfect in all that I do, there are times when time constraints or the situation makes that difficult to impossible. When you are working for a daily newspaper the editor doesn’t want literature, s/he wants you to fill the required number of column inches and you had better have it done by noon. Perfection doesn’t always come when you are on deadline.

In my sorting I came across my LSAT (Law School Admission Test) results. I had wanted to be a lawyer since I was about 12, and at 28 it was time to look at making that a reality. I was living in Saskatoon at the time, a rock radio disc jockey, but I thought I should be investigating career alternatives.

I still remember writing the LSAT on a Saturday in early 1984, I had done no preparation. (I didn’t realize you are supposed to prepare for these things, that there are courses you can take to prepare you for the test.) I don’t remember actually writing the exam. What I remember is that I had the flu. It was an effort not to puke during the test, but I didn’t want to have to wait three months for the next sitting. Or maybe it was six months – that’s not information my mind needed to retain.

The results arrived in the mail a few weeks later. I scored in the 98th percentile. I have no idea how I did it. With a score like that law schools were interested, even though I did not at that time have an undergraduate degree. I was accepted by one of the top schools in the country.

I didn’t go. I wound up doing a journalism degree instead, which seemed to make more sense at the time. I set out in one direction, wound up going in another. Life can be like that. We think we have the future mapped out, then choices have to be made. We wind up in sometimes very unexpected places. Hopefully without regrets for those roads not taken, no dwelling on the “what ifs” of our life.

It’s been 32 years since I wrote the LSAT. I wonder if the results would still be considered valid by any law schools or whether I would be expected to write the test again should I wish to apply for admission. I love to learn and still find myself attracted to legal argument. I still haven’t completely ruled out law school, although at this point it seems I have left it too late. Four years more of school seemed long in 1984; it seems longer now. And it’s not like I am ever going to practice law; it would be strictly for interest’s sake.

I made a choice. No complaints. No regrets. Just wonder sometimes at what that other road would have looked like. As Aslan says in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “No-one is ever told what would have happened.”

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4 comments

  1. It is for good reason we are not told what would’ve happened. He saves us from ourselves.

  2. Your LSAT score explains so much… Now I know why your opinion always make good sense – you are a good advocate for what you believe in. We need more effective advocates for what is good, sensible and true. While being a lawyer would have made you lot more money, but I’m glad you did what you did.

    1. Thanks Season. I always thought my LSAT score was proof that I am at my best when I have the flu. Too sick to think straight, but somehow I checked off the right boxes.

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