Volume 9, Issue 9
I have a secret. Show me a pattern and ask what shape or image comes next and you will get tears, wrath, maybe even an object thrown at your face. What you will not get is the correct answer. I’m sorry, but I can’t see the pattern.
This has been the bane of my life since childhood. Whether it’s suspicious aptitude tests in high school or allegedly ‘fun’ exercises in primary school, my deepest shame remains that I am pattern blind. I thought I had escaped this crippling character flaw when I started law school. Nobody is going to make me try to spot a pattern now, I thought to myself, while gleefully burning all my LSAT books. And for a year, this was true.
Then, alas, the clerkship period hit. I worked hard, I had the ‘things’ we’re told we need. But, what I did not have was an ability to see the patterns. Hours spent completing practice tests left me in a fit of rage, dreaming about circles and triangles, and a time where my worth wouldn’t depend on spotting the order in which they came. I am reasonable, I understand these firms are bombarded with applications and need a process to sort through them. My question is whether these online tests are the way to do it. Does the fact I can’t see this apparent ‘pattern’ mean I would be a poor choice of clerk? I’m not convinced.
Somehow I made it through, and found some firms that didn’t seem to care about this monumental failing on my part. But now, I, like many other third years, am applying for graduate jobs. And so the hell has started again. At times I think maybe there is no pattern, that what comes next in the progression isn’t a triangle with a dot on the far left, but a malevolent HR Rep laughing at my tear-stricken face. At other times I think about clicking the ‘special circumstances’ option and explaining my situation to them; no matter how hard I try, I cannot see the pattern.
But what I’m trying not to do is take it to heart. Yes, I have to guess approximately 23 of the 25 logical/inductive reasoning questions. And yes, this may mean some places will not even consider my application. But what it doesn’t do is make me a poor choice. It certainly doesn’t make me unworthy of a clerkship or graduate position. All it means is I should stay away from Survivor and other game shows which have a similar component. So, in the hope it may make those of you with a similar secret feel more comfortable, I am publicly confessing: I’m sorry, but I can’t see the pattern, and I don’t really care.
Grace Bowran-Burge is a third-year JD student