Friday, July 30, 2010


I shouldn't even be awake this early today, but I think my body is still coming out of the study/panic mode and can't quite accept that there's nothing left to study/panic about.

It feels so incredible to be done. There are really no words to describe how wonderful I felt as I was walking out of that testing room yesterday. It was just a crazy mix of pure exhaustion, elation, disappointment, joy, and terror. But the sheer panic I'd been feeling was gone... thank goodness.

And it's strange, because I'm generally not the type to have exam anxiety. I am, for the most part, a fairly chill and relaxed person, and I take most things in stride, including every other exam I've ever taken. And I even managed to keep the panic about the bar at bay until the night before the last day of the exam. Wait, have I even explained how the Texas bar exam works? Alright... let me back up for a minute.

The bar exam is taken over a three-day period. The first day lasts three hours and consists of two parts: the multistate performance test (MPT) and the procedure and evidence exam. The MPT is the practical part of the exam, and we had to write a memo (something that took me a month to do during my first year) in 90 minutes. The procedure and evidence exam is a set of 40 questions about the mechanics of prosecuting crimes and filing civil suits in Texas. The second day, we took 200 multiple choice questions spanning six different first-year law school topics. And yesterday I answered 12, 30-minute essay questions over approximately 12 different topics (depending on how you look at it). Ugh, it's exhausting just writing it all.

A lot of people rent a hotel near the exam site, just so they don't have to worry about driving back and forth or being late or any other nightmare-ish thing that could possibly happen. I wasn't going to, but I ended up biting the bullet and just paying for a room for the second two nights at the Holiday Inn Express near the exam site. I'm glad I did, because it sure was nice to be able to go back to a quiet, clean room each day and just study.

Okay, so back to my panic.

The night before the exam I was just ready. Ready to get started so that I could wash my hands of all of it and be done. I woke up early on the first day, drove downtown listening to "Defying Gravity" from the Wicked soundtrack on repeat. I got to the exam about an hour before the exam was supposed start (and about two hours before it actually started).

I won't get into the nitty gritty because, let's face it, no one should be subjected to boring lawyer stuff, and I already bore you enough. But I'll just say that I didn't feel wonderful after the first day. When it was over, I went back to the hotel room, got some yummy lunch, took a long nap, and had a fairly relaxing night studying the next day's topics.

The next morning, I walked over to the convention center feeling pretty okay. I was obviously a little nervous, and I kept having crazy visions of looking for my name on the pass list (they post it on the internet for everyone to see) and not seeing it. But other than that, no craziness. And after I finished on the second day, I actually felt fairly decent. I hadn't nailed it by any means, but I wasn't horrified by my performance.

It was when I got back to the hotel that night that things went south. I ended up meeting Micah downtown for dinner, which was a nice break, but when I got back to the room and started to look over the subjects for the next day, I just started feeling overwhelmed.

The sheer volume of the material was horrifying (TWELVE subjects!). And I kept looking at things, things I'd read over several times, and I couldn't recall anything! It was like I was reading everything for the first time and that I hadn't spent the past two months trying to cram it all into my brain. I started feeling queasy. I took a bath to relax. Then, I decided to go to sleep because the studying wasn't helping anyway.

Of course, I absolutely couldn't sleep. I got into bed around 10:00, and I just couldn't make my brain be quiet. Every fear and every worry just keep swimming around my head. Every time I started to pray for peace, I just kept worrying that I didn't know enough. The panic was debilitating.

The next morning, after getting about 4 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling the same way. I was queasy and jittery and panicky and horrified. And the worst part was that I hated the feeling that I couldn't control the way I was feeling.

But, amazingly, when I walked into the testing room, it all disappeared. Clearly, the Lord was providing the peace I had asked for (or tried to ask for). I just sat down, listened to the seemingly never-ending instructions, and began typing (I took most of the exam on my laptop, which provided another layer of stress - wondering whether or not it would die or crash or explode into oblivion... because that's my luck). And while I certainly didn't know all of the answers, my brain recalled many of the things I had shoved in there. :)

So, the bottom line is that I survived the Texas Bar Exam. Who knows if I passed, but I feel proud to be standing on the other side with my sanity, my marriage, and my good nature intact. :)

1 comment:

Alix said...

Congrats on being done!!! :)

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