On the Other Side

It’s been four and a half days since I completed the California Bar Examination.  To say I haven’t done much is an understatement.  I think today was actually the first day where I went beyond a 5-mile radius from my room.  Most of the time has been spent watching seasons of The West Wing and ignoring the remnants of my studying.  I have pretty much avoided doing anything that required me to change out of my pajamas and into clothes I wear in public.

I was thinking about writing a contemplative post about what it was like taking this test, how I’m a better person because of it, et cetera.  But really, it was three days of law.  The first day was meh. The second day was better. The third day was good.  There were moments where I doubted myself, where I beat myself up for missing a few issues, where I would avoid thinking about it all together.  A few of my friends would talk around me, doing the same thing.  It would make me feel both better and worse.

It really is just one big psychological war game.

For two months, you’re studying, trying to cram 3 years of courses into your brain, trying to master the essays, the multiple choice, and the performance tests.  For the few weeks leading up to it, you’re anxious, scared, and on edge.  You repeat to yourself, “This is my future. If I fail, then OMGWTFBBQ!”  You chastise yourself for not studying every single waking moment of every single day.  For the week before, you’re going over each and every outline, trying to pick up the minute rules that may tip the scales in your favor.  For the night before, you try to keep the advice of not studying but fail miserably.

Then, you’re just there.  And you just mind-dump everything on the paper because, seriously, you just can’t take it anymore. (At least, that was me on the first day.)

One big psychological war game.  One that I think you can’t really prepare for, nor accurately describe to others.

I got my badge. And we’ll see in November if I was good enough.

Perfect Timing

While looking for blank paper to start another performance test, I happened to come across random writing to myself. It’s from a lifetime ago. Before I went to law school and in the midst of preparing to take the LSAT. I just have to laugh at the similarities.

Here it is:

Countdown: 6 Days

There’s this blog post going around the interwebs which details one person’s frustrations in connection with the California bar exam. Many of my fellow law school friends have re-posted it, relating to it’s general message. Which is: “Don’t tell me I am going to pass.”

I understand the sentiment. Three days ago, I said that I was afraid of letting people down. That stems from the fact that everyone does tell me I’m going to pass and if I don’t, then well, hello awkward conversation.

But I get it. We all need a chance to freak out and panic without more pressure plopped on us from the “you won’t fail” responses.

It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one panicking. Also a bit enlightening. In a “So that’s what I’m like” way.

I’ve tried to keep the crazy to a minimum, albeit I sometimes fail. Kay has been great about dealing with it all. Hopefully I’ve been better about expressly how much I appreciate the support of my friends, regardless of whatever imaginary pressure I place on my self, imputed to others.

(What? Where am I going with this? Oh right.)

I have given up worrying about whether I pass or fail because it is not my job to decide if I do. Whoever grades my exam gets to have that honor.

So what am I going to do? For the next six days, I’m going to do my darnedest to prepare and get my act together. Because I figure, whatever result I get in November is directly caused by what I do in the next 10 days. Seriously, what I deserve is what I get.

“There is no such thing as luck. There is only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe.” – Robert Heinlein.

I’m done panicking.

Countdown: 9 Days

In the final lectures, we were told that our role is not to determine whether we will pass or fail the bar, but to show the minimum competency required to be a lawyer in the state of California. Ever since that impart, I’ve been trying to keep my mind off whether I am right or wrong, and concentrate on honing my skills.

Today, I took a practice performance test because I am aware that it is my weakest out of the three types of test I’ll be facing. I’ve heard horror stories about people failing the entire test because of this section. Now, I am caught between not worrying about failing and completely resigning myself to it. This equals a lot of frustration.

I was doing fine a couple days ago. I was so sure that I would be able to do this. But the fact that I freeze up whenever I am facing a performance test, it is disheartening.

So what are my options? In this type of situation, I usually try to avoid whatever bothers me until it goes away. That, obviously, won’t work in this situation. More practice? Only downside about that is a performance test requires three hours to do. Pressed for time, I won’t be able to practice too much. I still have substantive law to worry about. Also, basic essay writing.

In the back of my mind, I still have that nagging fear of failing. Remembering all the tests I have taken that have been the gateways to the next phase of my life (driving test, SATs, LSATs), I’ve always had to take them twice. I don’t want that to happen this time, but I’m afraid that it may just be in my nature.

And I’m afraid of letting people down. Although logically, I know that this test is for me, and that my friends and family won’t be disappointed. But illogically, the fear is still there and it matters to me.

I have less than nine days. And I feel disheartened. I know I can do this, it’s just … I needed to say this out loud without people trying to pep talk me.

And now onto happier topics…

In the last few weeks, I have been going through some changes.  Ch..ch..ch…changes.  And strangely, I’m pretty okay with it.  There was a time when I would constantly talk about change.  Change this, change that, oh why oh why can’t I change – that sort of thing.  I was stuck in this view that some outside influence would be the vehicle of change and I constantly berated my own ability to help it along.  I realized lately that if I want change, then I’ll have to do it myself.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” || Anatole France

There is a hint of melancholy that is accompanying this process of change, of letting go.  That kind of acceptance when you know where you need to go, but look back with bittersweet sadness at what you’re leaving behind.  That final look back as you step out the door.

I’ve been spring cleaning myself lately, making room for all the new experiences ahead of me.  Finally growing up, I guess.

Mind you, I’m scared of what’s to come because there is so much unknown in front of me.  The stability of school will no longer be there.  There is some doubt: will I succeed; will I make it; will I find a job; will I survive?  But I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask and I certainly won’t be the last.

With law school coming to an end, I guess I’m just taking stock of my life.  I’m taking the time to differentiate between the child-like/childish and mature, I Corinthians Chapter 13 style.  Go figure.

In a State of Transition

I find myself in the same state I felt when I was a senior in high school.  That place where you’re at the end of a stage in your life and you’re so close to that new beginning. You’re excited, apprehensive, scared, impatient, happy, and sad … (and lazy and unmotivated).  Senioritis.

It’s hard to keep my head in the game when I want to be 7 months into the future.  Logically, I know, I have to get through these next 7 months, have to do all the things required of me, must do the work to get the reward – otherwise, I won’t graduate and the thing I’m looking forward to ain’t going to happen.

Frustrated. That’s the feeling I’ve been dealing with a lot. Frustrated that I can’t make it all go faster, or slow down enough so I can catch up.  Frustrated that I want to be the person I know I am becoming but can’t do so yet until I finish all of this stuff.  It’s not busy work, like high school; it’s work that is essential.  But still frustrated.

Scared. I can’t help feeling scared sometimes. Scared that I will mess up something and that dream at the tip of my fingers will just dissipate. Scared that a small mistake will end up with very big and very real consequences.  This is “real life” stuff I’m dealing with now.  This is the “what I want to be when I grow up” – the challenge is pretty daunting.

Curious. I know I do not have everything figured out for the course of my life.  I know that point B is graduating law school and passing the bar exam.  Point C may be becoming a lawyer for a time.  But after that – I’m curious to find out where my life will lead me. Where I will find myself in five years, in ten?  Will I still be passionate about all this stuff?  Will I be happy?  How many of my dreams would have come true by then?

Drowning. In all honesty, I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Time has become more valuable, and yet, I still manage to leave things until the last minute.  Character flaw of mine, for sure.  Procrastination, thy name is tabin.  The workload is getting to me.   I get so intimidated by the amount of work that needs to be done that I immobilize myself.  My priorities keep shifting back and forth.  I feel like I’m juggling and about to drop it all.

Lonely. I miss my friends. My kindred.  So many of the sacrifices made have involved spending time with those who keep me laughing, those who keep me sane.  Though all of those friends understand that this is something I have to do, I feel drained of energy because there’s no way to ‘recharge’ through being around people.

Happy. It took awhile to get to happy … still haven’t reached the status quo ante aestas. But it’s easier to remember now that yes, I was happy.  Because I know that all this stuff that brings me down now are just temporary.  That one day, I won’t have to sacrifice time with my friends in order to study. That I will be able to leave work at work and rest at home.  That my passion for law will lead to some good times.  That I’ll get to where I’m going, on my own terms. Because hey, in 7 months, I’m graduating law school.  That’s going to be awesome.

Quarter-Century: The Obligatory Post

It’s been 25 years of life for me (well almost or already, depending on how you count the days and hours), and I will admit that I did not expect most of what has happened.  But you really anticipate what’s going to happen; you just have to go with what’s given to you.  And maybe that’s how I my life will play out.  Truth be told, I really don’t mind.

Classes start tomorrow.  Although the timing was something to be desired (who wants their birthday to be the first day of school?), I am still happy at the thought of returning to the grindstone.  I found law school to be the place I needed to be at this point in my life.  So maybe it’s not so bad that it falls on my quarter-century-of-life day.

I’m happy with my life right now.  It’s all good.  Go figure with all the complaints I’ve had along the way.

Barely Treading Water

I love learning about the law.  From learning the different rules to how to bend them, I love learning about the law.  It’s almost instinctive for me; the logic of it all makes my brain fire up.

But I am also extremely frustrated right now.  Most of it is caused by the impending finals and my inability to write good essays during exams.

I keep getting the same feedback – I know the law, I know the rules; I just need to apply them and explain my conclusions.  The only problem is that I over-analyze too much in my head that I don’t know where to start.  I second guess myself when I’m writing out a problem.  I back-track.  I keep coming up with different permutations of the same issue.  And I take too long.

Yesterday, I spent 8 hours on writing out a Contracts problem.  EIGHT hours.  That is not including the amount of time I spent on it today.  Sadly to say, I still haven’t finished it.  I’m only skimming the surface, at this point.

I’m frustrated because I know that it’s all in my head.  It’s all in there, I just cannot figure out a way to get it out.

And the fact that I’m getting hung up on this – it’s taking away valuable time for me to actually review all the material from the past semester (and the past year for a couple of classes).  I’m running out of time and I’m afraid that my performance in my exams will be very disappointing.

It would be so easy right now to just let myself drown.  But I know I can’t… it’s my dream to learn this stuff.

I just wish I had more time.

So… That Didn’t Work

Apparently, my body wanted to sleep rather than work out after I got home.  It didn’t help that I kept getting distracted in something that I shouldn’t stick my nose in, no matter how much it touches upon on my life.

I need to catch up on a lot of things this week.  Since the past two weeks were spent studying for the Civ Pro midterm and writing my legal memo, I didn’t really absorb much of the things that I read for my various classes.  I’ll probably be spending most of my time this week catching up and reviewing.  The lesson I learned from preparing for the midterm is that I cannot wait until the last minute to outline all my notes and all the reading.  It’s just not possible.

I’m starting to get a little apprehensive about my ability to survive law school.  Mostly because I am afraid that my tendency to skim through things without really remembering it will get in the way.

But I love law school and all the things I am learning.  It just makes sense to me, in a way.  I am determined to do well and to enjoy my time.

“Nothing but the rain”

Tonight marks the end of one part of my life and the beginning of the next.  I have a plethora of thoughts running through my head but I’m finding it difficult to put it into words.  There’s excitement and curiousity about what’s to come, but also a bittersweet nostalgia of all the things that I’ve experienced since I graduated from university.

The last half year or so has not been easy.  Looking back, I know that I should have made different decisions and should have handled it better.  I do not know how my friends humored me for all that time, but I am grateful for them.

 I went through a couple of life lessons and, hopefully, learned from them.  Learned not to make the same mistakes again and to take responsibility for all that I do.

I won’t go into detail because the details no longer matter.  It’s all over now; it’s time to move on.

 I have moved on from so many things in my life.  Each move, each goal post that I achieved just leads me to the next thing to do.  Funny thing is, I am not tired of it.  I’m doing all the things I’m suppose to be doing.