The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow!Too bad I won't really be seeing the sun tomorrow since I'll be on planes all day long. However, when the sun comes out Thursday, I'll be there to soak up those rays on a beach in Honolulu. For the next six weeks, I'm on vacation. A real true vacation. The book-reading, magazine-perusing, people-meeting, beachy-tanning, nighttime-dancing, cocktail-drinking, cultural-touring, picture-taking, just-plain-relaxing vacation! I'm not sure I even know how to handle all this. Have no fear, I'll figure it out. Probably before Thursday night's Paradise Cove Luau.
I will try to keep y'all posted along the way, but quite honestly, only if it does not interfere with any of the above listed activities. I do love y'all, but right now, I love me more. :-)
And now, I'm off for my trip of a lifetime!
For those of you who have inquired:
August 5-17 in Australia where we will visit some wineries, cuddle koala's and snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.
August 18-23 in Thailand where we will ride elephants, go on rafting tours to see floating markets, visit palaces and watch a Thai drag show.
August 24-27 in India where we will visit friends and friends of friends and the Taj Mahal.
August 27-30 in Dubai where I will be in architectural/engineering heaven and we'll go dune bashing then visit a Bedouin campsite for camel rides and henna tattoos.
August 30-Sept. 9 in Istanbul (not Constantinople), on a cruise around the Greek Islands, then a few days in Athens.
September 10-13 in Egypt checking out some pyramids.
Then I guess we'll come back home.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
As one of my dear friend's away message says right now "there are no words." There really are not. But I'll try. I've been decompressing and talking things over with other fellow bar exam takers and one thing is certain, we all feel pretty much the same. Since we won't get our results until October or November, there is an anti-climactic feel to being finished. I mean, I'm "done" as in I don't have to study every day or go to classes anymore. But I'm not "done" as in I'm a lawyer. I don't know if I passed the Bar Exam. For the first time since this hellish 8+week process began, I honestly don't know. All along, I felt okay. I worked really hard, knew the law better than a lot of people and felt confident going in. Now, I really just don't know. That's a pretty unsettling feeling.
The VA Bar was every bit as bad as they said it would be. Day 1 was VA specific questions. The morning session was 5 essays at 36 minutes a piece. Of course, one can never know every single thing for such a comprehensive exam, but I felt pretty good. I spent my lunch sitting in my car with a good friend. We narrowed down what would be tested on the afternoon portion and reviewed for an hour. Then we made the mistake of saying out loud that it wasn't so bad.
The world got turned upside down when we went back inside. The afternoon session consisted of 4 essays (some with a few subparts) and 20 short answers. I hammered out the short answers in less than 10 minutes and settled into the essays. It was like entering the twilight zone. As if they gave us an exam for another state. For 2 of the 4 essays, I stared at my blank screen for quite some time. In some instances, I honestly had no clue what the law was. None. Other times, the questions were worded in ways that I had (well, still have) no idea what they were asking of me. When faced with questions like this, I could do one of two things: I could ramble on and on just laying out every piece of law I could think of or I could just make up the law. Well, I did a little bit of both. I sure hope I get points for creativity on some of those ethics laws I invented.
I walked out of that afternoon exam and for the first time this summer my spirit was broken. The VA Bar broke me. I went to dinner with some friends and did something I usually never do. We talked about the exam. I mean an all out "what did you put?" conversation. It came to light that of the four of us sitting at the table, none of us put the same thing. We all made up laws. We all rambled on. We all stared at blank screens. Between the four of us, we still couldn't figure out what some of the questions were asking of us. At least we were all in the same boat, even though it did seem to be sinking.
The next day was the Multistate Bar Exam. That one was a little less intimidating going in because I had already done two practice run-throughs and also countless practice questions over the summer. I'm not quite sure how I felt about it except to say it was pretty much exactly what I expected. I didn't think it was especially difficult, nor did I think it was especially easy. It was just what I expected. The thing with those 200 multiple choice questions is that I never can tell how I did until I turn around and score myself right afterwards. Well, they didn't let us do that, so I guess I have to wait. If I performed as I have been averaging all summer, I should be okay. I just have to hope that it was well enough to overcome my performance on Day 1. I guess only time will tell.
I really am in a state of limbo right now. I'm sure this will fade over the next few days and I will definitely leave these feelings at home when I travel around the world! I do predict they will resurface around October and I can deal with them then. Because at least for now, I'm done with the Bar Exam.
Labels: Bar Exam
Thursday, July 26, 2007
DoneI just wanted to drop a quick note and thank everyone for the calls and emails and texts and well wishes and prayers! The Bar Exam is over. I survived (as in: I did not die halfway through). As for whether I passed, that's a question I cannot answer...until October. I'm still trying to decompress and process all of this. but will try to put together some thoughts tomorrow for those of you who keep checking in. As for now, I'm off to indulge in sangria by the pitcher.
Labels: Bar Exam
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
All I'm saying
Labels: Bar Exam
July 24, the first day of the Bar ExamIt's about that time.
I may or may not have gotten any sleep last night, I have been pacing around my hotel room reading notecards since before the sun came up, and my stomach is somewhere on the first floor (I'm on the third). I do know one thing for sure: I'm going to be okay.
On my way home from my friend's hotel after dinner last night, I snapped a picture.
That's a mountain. And that's a star at the top of the mountain. Take that how you want it, but I'm taking it as a sign from the Big Guy that I'm going to be okay.
Labels: Bar Exam
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Good luck to all!
Things are about to get crazy. Before they get too bad and there is not time left for the internets, I just want to take a moment to wish everyone the BEST OF LUCK on their respective Bar Exams. It's been a long long long climb, but we are almost to the top. I have enjoyed having each and every one of you by my side (from the couple of Californians, the New Yorker, the drunk Chicagoan, the gal down south a bit, and my favorite former-local.) I am glad I decided to continue blogging for a little while because this little online network we made for ourselves has proved to be quite fruitful. Special good luck nod to Zuska and Stare Decisis and Faith and of course MEG, who were here pre-Bar Exam (back when it was regular law school stress).
I also want to wish a SPECIAL GOOD LUCK to those of you who, despite not having your own blog, have been following along at home. I have appreciated your comments and your reading. More importantly, I am glad you felt you had a place to vent and share in the misery.
See all of you at the top!
Labels: Bar Exam
Friday, July 20, 2007
I just keep climbing.
I wake up each day and stare up at this huge mountain I am climbing. As the hours tick by, the reading continues and the notes get organized, the essays get worked and the checklists and notecards get crafted. All of this aids me up this mountain. Every time I think I have made great progress, I realize that I have merely scaled a cliff or a big rock. Only but a fraction of what I need to climb. The rest of the mountain awaits. And so, with enthusiasm in tow, I keep going. With every large rock scaled or cliff I lift myself upon, I stand up. I take a breath. And I just keep climbing.
As I stare up toward the sky, I know this mountain will end somewhere. In fact, I know exactly where it ends, but from where I am, it seems so far away. Every so often, I get discouraged by the seemingly endless climbing. It's then that I take a moment to look down and check my progress. Even squinting, I cannot see the faintest image of the ground below. I realize just how very far I have climbed. That gives me the strength I need to turn around and keep just keep climbing.
I reflect on everyone that climbs this mountain. I gain respect for those who have already reached the top and I know that soon, others will being their climb. I turn to the side and lend a hand to those who are struggling with me. Being a part of such a perseverant group of people gives me the motivation to just keep climbing.
I am exhausted. I have known from the beginning that this climb would be about endurance. But I'm tired. I feel like I have been climbing this mountain as long as I can remember. But I do know that it ends. I do know that there is a peak to this mountain and that I will get to it soon. I know that when I do, it will be the most amazing view ever. I know that it will have been worth the climb. But for now...for the next few days...I just keep climbing.
Labels: Bar Exam
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Good ole daysI recall being a child in math class and the teacher laying on us the concept of greater than (>) and less than (<). I remember thinking "oh gosh, how will I ever remember that. It's so hard to keep straight." Then, my teacher said you just think of the symbol like pac-man...and he's eating in the direction of the larger of the two numbers.
I sure do miss that simplicity.
How I am copingWhat is working for me right now...
being at a house on the Potomac River in southern Maryland, far away from my friends and fellow bar exam-takers
studying for 16 hours a day with intermittent (short) breaks for occasional bathing
eating everything in sight (yeah, that's going to come back to haunt me soon)
not really blogging about the daily roller coaster of thoughts that have taken over my entire being
cutting back on my bar-exam-taker blog reading because some of you guys are really stressing me out!
belting out the lyrics to Whitesnake's "Here I go Again" or singing "All by Myself" with Eric Carmen as loud as my little heart desires
reflecting on where I will be in two weeks from today. then the week after that, then the week after that, etc.
making piles of notecards, multistate books, VA Subject books, notes, checklists, yellow legal pads full of law, to do lists to revel in all that I have done (while NOT thinking of things I have yet to do)
taking time every single evening to watch the sunset
late night wine drinking
Monday, July 16, 2007
Labels: Bar Exam
Friday, July 13, 2007
The Tunes of the BarI think we should start a Bar Exam Playlist. Wanna help? This is what I have so far:
- Meet Virginia (Train)
- I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
- Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)
- Take it to the Limit (Eagles)
- I Won't Back Down (Tom Petty)
- Nothing Can Stop Us (Saint Etienne)
- Keep the Faith (Bon Jovi)
- Turn the Page (Bob Seger)
- Far Behind (Candlebox)
- Livin' on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
- Is there Life Out There (Reba McEntire)
- Sick of Myself (Matthew Sweet)
- Misery (Soul Asylum)
- Down in a Hole (Alice in Chains)
- I'm so Lonesome I could Cry (Hank Williams)
- Ain't No Fun (Snoop Dogg)
- How Much More? (Shaggy)
- Battered Broken (Jude)
- Cruel Summer (Bananrama)
And yes, I fully recognize the progression of misery that has been my summer.
Addin' to the List:
- I Fought the Law (The Clash)
- Help (Beatles)
- Stuck in Moment (U2)
- Under Pressure (Queen and David Bowie)
- Don't Panic (Coldplay)
- The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Postal Service)
- Can't Stop Now (Keane)
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benetar)
- Have You Seen Me Lately (Counting Crows)
- Where Does the Good Go (Tegan and Sara)
- You Learn (Alanis Morissette)
- Brain Crack (Tracy Bonham)
- New York State of Mind (Billy Joel)
- New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down (LCD Soundsystem)
- Going the Distance (Cake)
- Bloody Mother F***ing A**hole (Martha Wainwright)
- All Star (Smashmouth)
- Hang On (Guster)
- Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
- Drink with Me (Les Mierables)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Watch yourselfThe following things, if said in my presence at any time in the next few weeks, are likely to get you stabbed:
In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal, it's only the bar exam.
You have two whole weeks, that's plenty of time.
Oh, it can't be that bad.
You look stressed. [Or alternatively "You look tired."]
I think you need a break.
Did you mean to leave the house looking like that?
I'm going to fail the bar because I have only done 1,846 practice questions and I only got a 150 on the practice MBE.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
My morning so far...Convo with myself...
Hmmm, my left eye is blurry.
Why can't I see out of my left eye?
Crap. (blink blink).
Maybe my contact is dry. (insert rewetting solution).
It's still blurry.
Maybe there is something on my contact. (looking in mirror).
Okay, I can't tell.
Damnit, I'll just take it out (looking in mirror and playing with left eye)
Law-rah, you are an idiot, your contact is gone.
Look again (pulling eyelid in all directions)
Nope, just gone.
Dummy, maybe that is why your eye is blurry.
Just put a new one in (grabbing disposable contact and putting in new left one)
Hmmm, still blurry.
Now, it feels really funny too.
Just take it out. (pulling out contact to find there are actually two contacts in my left eye now)
Law-rah, you really are an idiot.
Convo with PMBR (sorta)...
Me: Hi, I'm taking the Barbri 3 day course and wanted to see if I could change my date.
Her: What? Your taking what?
Me: The Barbri 3 day course.
Her: I don't know what that is.
Me: (realizing I'm on the phone with PMBR) Oops, sorry. I meant the PMBR 3 day course.
Her: The what? I don't know what that is either.
Me: I'm scheduled for July 13, 14 and 15 for the PMBR course.
Her: Let me check the schedule.
Her: We don't have anything on the schedule for those days.
Me: (confused) Are you sure? It's at Georgetown. Could you check again.
Her: What did you say this was again?
Me: Wait, is this PMBR?
Her: No, this is [insert company name that is in no way affiliated with the bar exam].
Me: Okay thanks. (Yep Law-rah, you are an idiot.)
Convo with the lady at the Egyptian Embassy...
Me: (after calling for over an hour) Hi, I'm coming in today to get a visa and I had a few questions.
Her: Visit our website at www.egyptembassy.net
Me: I did. Your hours are not posted on the website.
Me: Okay, I have one more question.
Her: Visit our website at www.egyptembassy.net
Me: I did. That's where I got this phone number.
Her: Click on "visa" if you have questions.
Me: I did. The answers were not there. That is why I am calling.
Her: Are you sure you visited the right website? w-w-w-dot-egypt-embassy-dot-net?
Me: Ma'am, I have been on the visa section of your website all morning. I got the right phone number and application but I still have a question that is not answered on your website.
Her: Click on visa.
Me: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! WHY WON'T YOU JUST ANSWER MY QUESTION? I'LL JUST GET THE STUPID VISA UPON ENTRY INTO EGYPT. (click - hangs up on consulate woman)
(Law-rah, while you may be an idiot, at least you are not as stupid as her.)
Friday, July 06, 2007
BubblingThis is going to sound like a really stupid insignificant question, but this is where my mind is these days...and it kinda matters to me.
On the actual Multistate Bar Exam answer sheet, are the bubbles to fill in actual bubbles going vertically like Barbri's...
Or are they rectangles going horizontally like PMBR's?
I ask because three times in the last 100 PMBR questions I have darkened in the wrong answer choice even though I knew the correct answer. I have never ever ever had this problem before. I am meticulous when it comes to bubble-darkening. And this is NOT a problem I need to deal with on the Bar Exam. I can only assume my brain does not work in rectangles going horizontally.
Yes, I do realize there are more pressing things to worry about these days. I want to worry about the shape of the bubbles damnit!
Monday, July 02, 2007
Bar Exam woesYou know the bar exam is getting closer when...
You have absolutely no idea what today is. And when someone tells you, you still don't know what tomorrow will be.
You cringe at the words "paced program".
You spend every day experimenting with various forms and timings of caffeine-intake trying to find a balance between awake enough to get stuff done but not so jittery you cannot sit still.
You realize that from here on out, everything can wait until after July 25: friends, bills, oil change, doctors, sleep, bathing, gym. Okay, maybe not bathing.
Obnoxious terminology has infiltrated your daily conversations: "Look, I don't know what happened, but I'm pissed and res ipsa tells me it's your fault."..."Seriously, you are such an eggshell plaintiff!"..."That happened so long ago, the statute of limitations for you to bring this up to me has already run."
You realize Conviser is your friend. No seriously, he is. You find that you write him notes all day long like "help me Conviser" and "Conviser I need you". You also realize you have spent more time with him in the past few weeks than you have with any of your local friends.
Your friends' away messages say things like "This is one long race", "Make it STOP" and "Dear Bar Exam: suck it!"
When you turn on the television for background noise in the morning and Jerry Springer is on, you find yourself sitting down to watch it, because hell, anything is more interesting than studying at this point.
You look back at the girl you were a few months ago (the girl that was looking forward to studying for the bar exam) and you want to stab her with a highlighter.