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My First Summer in Waterloo

Hey Guys!
June 18th, 2016

It's been a while since I've made a new blog post as I've been quite busy as of recently. Currently, I've been working for a month and a half as a Research Assistant for the University of Waterloo, Secretariat & Office of General Counsel. It's certainly been very interesting work for sure. On top of that, I've also been studying for the LSAT, which I'll be taking June 2017 at the earliest. Now it might seem weird to be studying for something so far in the future, but the LSAT is not a simple examination that you take for a course. Law Schools weigh your score heavily, and the whole test is a test of logical and analytical reasoning skills. It takes a long time to build these skills up, and I encourage anyone who wants to do law school to study for this at least half a year in advance. 

Work

I can honestly say that I'm really glad I took this Co-op job. The work is highly relevant to my future career path and very interesting. To be specific, my research area involves analyzing  the enactment statutes of the universities in Ontario, and preparing comparative reports on various themes within these statutes. I also had the chance to research other applicable legislation regarding the post-secondary education sector, as well as attend some meetings of the University of Waterloo Board of Governors and Senate. I cannot elaborate any more on the specifics of what I'm analyzing, as I'm under a confidentiality agreement. However, this is a pretty big project and I'm certainly surprised and honoured that they'd let a Co-op student take on this endeavor. 

What I like most about this job is the flexibility that it offers - I can choose to analyze the themes that I find interesting and important, and there's little to no direct supervision. I'm free to write whatever I want, and to present my ideas in any way I see fit. Although I'm the only Co-op student, all my coworkers are really cool people and we are all legit fam. What's really nice is that many of my coworkers are practicing lawyers, and I've learnt a lot from them telling me about their experiences in the legal field.

Summer Life at Waterloo 

I would say that Summer here is probably the second best term to be around, especially if you're on Co-op. Fall term is generally more fun, mainly because the campus life is the most active, but Summer for sure is a nice change. There's plenty of outdoor life to enjoy, and there are many events on campus. This Summer, I started participating in more campus events, and also went to more social events. Since I'm not on a study term, I don't really have to worry about assignments and tests. Also, since I live in Waterloo right now, I can still go out and enjoy student-run events and continue to live the campus life vibe. My working hours are also way better than last year's. This year, I work a regular 9-5 job, instead of frequent 12 hour shifts, so I have more free time to do things. 

I started to go out clubbing a couple of times a month, just to talk to people and have some fun. I encourage y'all to go out at least once a month or so to nightclubs, as the experience is rather fun - people are friendly, there are plenty of interesting people to talk to, and you really have to go out of your zone. It's certainly a good way to break out of your shell and gain the confidence to talk to strangers on a regular basis. 

LSAT Progress

Since I have extra time this term, I've been putting in about 10 or so hours a week into studying for the LSAT. Right now, I've been working a lot on the LSAT Logic Games section. In my opinion, this is probably considered the hardest section of the LSAT, mainly because the material on this section is rather unusual. This section consists of 4 "games", in which you must either group or order, or do both on entities based on around 3-7 rules that they give you. Here's an example of an easier simple linear ordering LSAT Logic game, to give you guys some context on what it's all about. Coming from a background that focuses more on essays and readings, it's certainly a challenge for me to grasp these games. There are so many moving parts that are hard to quickly comprehend in your head. The time limit of 35 minutes only gives you about 9 minutes to do each game, which I feel is pretty tight. When I first started, I was absolutely overwhelmed; I couldn't finish even the easiest games in less than 12 minutes. However, I've recently been making drastic improvements after going through some textbook preparatory material, and my mental health has not been impacted that much (apart from constantly dreaming about random logic games in the middle of the night). The good thing about this section is that it's the only section in which you can get perfect through having raw mechanical skill - every correct answer can be objectively proven to be 100% correct, while every incorrect answer can be objectively proven to be 100% incorrect. The other sections have some subjectivity in them, which means I generally always get a few wrong without even knowing why. I feel like with enough practice, I might be able to score close to perfect on this section. 

In Conclusion

I think this Summer was the first Summer in which I really got into University life. I started volunteering for orientation events, started participating in student councils, and also started going out more. I feel like this is both a good and bad thing sometimes. When my Fall study term comes, I might have to give up some of these things in order to balance my grades. However, I really like how the Co-op system has allowed me to enjoy a nice summer on campus without having to study tediously for any course tests or exams.

I'll probably be writing another post around august to sum up my Co-op experiences, and also to update you guys on what I'm planning for the Fall and Winter terms. 
 
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