Saturday, July 13, 2013

True Life: I'm Taking the Bar

There are a lot of things people tell you before, during, and after you take the bar exam. There's the well-meaning advice, the "you'll be fine" or "I'm sure you know more than you think!," as well as the tips on how to pass, and the inevitable comparison to a marathon, not a sprint.

However, I was not prepared for some unexpected consequences of studying for the bar.

  1. I lose track of days. Seriously. When you're studying for a test 7 days a weeks, 10-12 hours a day, for two and a half months*, the days tend to run together. "Oh it's the weekend? That's nice- I still have a 3 hours practice exam to take, three 50-page outlines to read, and 2 practice essays to write. Today." (* indicates that is what I should be doing)
  2. You lose track of time. There are days when I start studying at 8 a.m. and then look up and it's 3. This is a good and bad thing. Time splits itself into alternately flying at the speed of light and seemingly going in reverse. The "speeding" typically happens when I take a 30 minute break that inevitably turns into an hour and the reverse happens when I'm watching a 3 hour video "Oh I have to be close to the hour break...nope--just 10 minutes in."
  3. It becomes very easy to trick yourself. I have tricked myself into thinking that going out into public wearing attire that I could easily sleep in is appropriate. I have also tricked myself into believing that makeup is optional...if not unnecessary.
  4. This one is a little harder to admit because I know it makes me sound like a bad person. Taking the bar has led to a severe lack of empathy. It doesn't matter what you tell me is wrong, my first though inevitably is "well at least you're not taking the bar." I'm sorry.
  5. Adding to #5, I have lost all sense of reality. 
  6. Adding to #5 and #6, I have lost all sense of sanity.
  7. You become extremely melodramatic. 
  8. Taking the bar also makes you feel even more insecure and inept than ever. There were days in law school I just thought I felt like I didn't know anything. And then I began studying for the bar. It's incredible how much one test can make you question your life. You alternate on a daily, sometimes hourly basis between "I'll be alright, I think I'll pass" to "hmmm...what are my career options when I fail the bar? I've always wanted to be a ______."
  9. And lastly, a good consequence-- you find out who your true friends and family are. They are the people that love you, through your insanity and your short-temperedness and your mental and/or emotional breakdowns and they love you regardless and unconditionally. I know it must be so hard to be a friend/spouse/family member/animal/child etc. of a person taking the bar- it must be so frustrating to feel like there is absolutely nothing you can say to make that person feel better. And I'm going to let you in on a secret, there really is nothing you can say that will help. Remember- we are crazy, irrational, dramatic weirdos right now (please see numbers 5-8). There is no rationalizing with us. Just tell them you love them and that you'll always be there for them. Your patience, love, and kindness means more than you will ever know.

I think it's important to record this moment in my life. I'm sure that as time goes by, studying/taking the bar won't seem so bad (here's to hoping). But this is a moment I do always want to remember. I want to remember these feelings, emotions, doubts, insecurities. These are important. This is a chapter of my life that (hopefully) I won't ever have to return to and a chapter that will (hopefully) let me finally be the person I've been working so hard to become.

There's a quote I really like from a woman who taught herself how to dance in a year. 

"When you watch someone perform, you're seeing them at the top of their game. When they score the winning point or sell their company for millions--you're seeing them in their moment of glory. What you don't see is the thousands of hours of preparation. You don't see the self doubt, the lost sleep, the lonely nights spent working. You don't see the moment they started. They moment they were just like you, wondering how they could ever be good."

Anyways, this is me, recording my self-doubt and lost sleep. I don't want to forget the moment I started, just like I don't want to forget my moment of glory.