For sake of LSAT, pause construction

“And most important, get a good night’s sleep. How you approach the days leading up to the test really does matter!” So write the folks at Kaplan.

This is not a shocking new discovery by a group of sleep specialists. One surely doesn’t need to quote an LSAT prep book or any other source to arrive at the basic fact that good sleeping habits and a good mind for test-taking go hand in hand. Yet it seems that Yale either doesn’t believe this to be true, or — even worse — simply doesn’t care.

Now, I’m not trying to stand in the way of the college-renovation process. Am I bothered by the late-night and early-morning clamor at Trumbull? Yes. My Saybrook room is directly across the street from one of the shells of its former towers and even with the windows shut the noise rains in like someone is taking a jackhammer to the floor of my hall. But, despite the inconvenience, I’ve learned to live with it and accept it, however grudgingly, as something that must be done. I even acquiesce to the fact that some necessary projects may have to go on all through the night: again, not a pleasing prospect, but one that I can surely deal with.

That is not to say there are not qualifications. An important one, I should think, would be that if students are to make sacrifices of peace and quiet on a regular basis, the least we could ask in return is for the renovators to respond in a similar manner in certain instances. One of the most glaringly obvious of these instances would be on a date when what I should imagine is a rather large percentage of the population is set to take an exam which is very, very (very!) important for their future careers.

Well, such a situation has arisen: The LSAT, that all-important collection of 101 or so brain teasers which disproportionately affects the law school admissions process, is this coming Saturday, Oct. 1. But rather than the University stepping in to suggest that perhaps the crews scale back work in deference to this event, just the opposite happens! Not only will we have to put up with the usual noise until midnight, but we get the privilege of hearing it go on all through the night. Now, I didn’t take the Kaplan course, but I don’t imagine they proscribed noisy construction crews as part of a good test-prep strategy.

But this project is necessary, they say. Let’s think about this. Despite the few bouts of rain in recent weeks, it’s not as if the crews have had to change their plans and work now because of some sort of consistent natural disaster plaguing New Haven throughout September. It has, in fact, been rather sunny and pleasant for the Northeast. Why couldn’t this seemingly important project have been done earlier?

Adding gasoline to the fire, this important all-nighter project is not even something that needs to be completed by next week. This comes straight from the pen, or rather the keyboard, of the Yale projects manager himself: Because it is done outside, this particular project is labeled “weather-permitting” — so if it rains Friday night, it will be postponed to a later date. If it can be postponed on behalf of a pesky thundershower, then exactly why can’t it on behalf of University students taking the LSAT?

In talk of this impending disruption, there is a whiff of inevitability. It’s as if the University has no choice but to go ahead with it, despite the protests from students who will be ill-affected. The solution becomes — or so it has in Saybrook — handing out ear plugs to students, a case of sticking a piece of chewing gum in a leaky faucet if there ever were one.

This is a matter of the University letting down its students. All Yale’s attempts to help undergraduates in the law school application process — pre-law advisers, forums, and the like — cannot substitute for the most basic element of test preparedness: a good night’s rest. While Yale can’t ever compel students to sleep well before an important exam like the LSAT, it can choose not to impede those of us who want to from doing so.



Eric White is a senior in Saybrook College.

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