I am a full 24 hours into my first post-bar experience: beaching with my family on the South Georgia coast. It is fantastic to do three of my favorite things with three of my favorite people: eating, reading, and napping. There’s also a little beach-swimming thrown in there!
The last twenty-four hours have been hard on my electronics. To start things off, I forgot to pack my laptop power cord into my carry-on bag and had just enough battery life left when I got to the airport to see my laptop light up and then click off. The three hours of work I was planning to get done on the trip? Had to switch to a blackberry + notebook editing method.
I tried purchasing a USB charger kit that an electronics specialist said would fit my computer, because it was tiny and would also charge my camera, another item packed without a power cord. Lucky for me, the multi-adapter charger kit fit only my blackberry — the one item whose charger I packed!
So, in an effort to find a power cord that fit my camera, I accidentally shorted out my digital camera by finding the perfect size cord but not realizing that it would send a 9 Volt charge into my 3.7 Volt camera battery. Awesome. Now it doesn’t even turn on.
So, I’m relaxed and super tan and well fed, and trying to decide if I should (a) try buying a new camera battery ($22) + a camera charger ($30) at Walmart so I can take photos or (b) buy a new camera (with battery and charger included) so we will have perfect photos from this weekend and which I can take to Aruba. I’m thinking new camera, unless I can get the Walmart guy to put another lithium battery into my current camera and see if it will work. That’s my real plan: sweet talk the electronics guy into helping me out.
Well, it’s over. Three years of learning, eight weeks of studying, two days of testing have come to a close. Now, we wait.
Bar results will be released on November 4th. Until then, my review books are packed away and my law books are slowly being mailed away one-by-one to poor pitiful half.com purchasers.
These days are new and exciting and empty. Switching from weeks and weeks of working non-stop and riding the emotional roller coaster of fear to waking up whenever-you-please and doing whatever-you-want is confusing, uncomfortable. All I want to do is cuddle up to a good book or have long conversations with friends — difficult only because now that the bar is over I have absolutely nothing to talk about.
For the next four days, I am cuddling up to Zadie Smith’s 2000 Bestseller White Teeth while staying at the Royal Palm with my family on a beautiful island. I’ll be eating fresh seafood and soaking up the sun and collecting myself.
This is a fresh start for me – everything I am doing from now on is completely different, with no school, no giant loan checks to pay for whatever I want, no self-directed semesters with only two testing periods a year.
I can’t wait.
P.G. Tips Tea. Piping hot, with one sweet-n-low.
Cinnamon Spice Candle.
Proper back support.
Leo curled up at my feet.
Knowing that in exactly 48 hours, the bar exam will be over.
After complaining and whining about having to wake up so early to prepare for the bar exam, I have honestly started to love it. Part of me wants to commit to this and make it a permanent change. I’m considering approaching this topic with H when he gets back tonight — here’s how it will probably go:
Me: Hey, I have an idea. Let’s start waking up at 6 am every day so we can get more done and get ready for when I start work in September.
H: How about we sleep all day forever instead?
Me: I really like waking up early because it is quiet and I feel more productive.
H: Okay, why don’t you do that, and I’ll stay here asleep.
But honestly, there are tons of benefits to waking up early, right?
1) Breakfast is the greatest meal of the day, and has the most delicious options — waking up early lets you make it a priority. There is certainly no time to make homemade biscuits and sausage gravy when you only allot 10 minutes to make the coffee, grab some Special K, and run out the door.
2) We pay $150 each year for daily delivery of the Washington Post. And when was the last time I read it? Ummm… I look at the sale papers on Sunday and read Petula Dvorak’s columns about DC life when I see it. But usually H just takes it to work with him and I miss out on that experience completely.
4) Quiet Time/Bible Study/Whatever you call your special moments communicating with God, mine slip away much too easily when I am rushing, and when I am awake in the morning I can feel a pull toward devotional moments. Maybe it is a memory thing — that my most devotional moments happened when I was waking up early, such as avoiding 13-year-olds on a youth mission trip by hitting the showers as early as possible, but I feel more holy in the mornings.
5) It really is good practice, right? I mean, if starting on August 29th I need to be downtown at 9:00 a.m., then I should probably plan to be there by 8:45 every morning so I seem responsible. [I mean, I actually AM responsible. I'm not trying to fake it...] With a 35 minute train ride (plus a delay from changing trains), I need to be at the metro by 8:00 or 8:10. That requires the 7:50 bus from a stop 7 minutes from my door. So, I’ll have to be out the door by 7:40 to be safely on-time with potential train delays. And what if my boss wants me there by 8 instead of by 9? [This is why we are planning to move back into the city. Plus it is cooler to live there.]
So, we’ll see. It may be that waking up early is not a thing that I will share with H, but maybe that would be better — I might lose the specialness of these early mornings if I didn’t have them all to myself.
I have never really thought about what my posts might mean to other people when I write them. I guess this blog serves as a space for me to reflect on the world and I’ve always thought of it as a “safe” place — no one knows about it except for the people I tell about it, or my twitter-friends who click over after it advertises itself there.
I cherish each comment, because it shows that what I’ve written speaks to someone — usually, to close friends who probably read out of pity or just an interest in keeping in touch — but each time a comment comes up I have been so excited to have a “conversation” about what I was thinking.
Today, I had my first negative comment — not negative like “you are stupid,” but worse: negative like “you should have thought about what you were saying more, because when you challenged this you attacked something that is good, that you agree with, and now you are going to fight to take those words back, and it will never be the same.”
So, as I am trying to focus on bar studying and surviving the next week, I am also seriously considering how my critiques might impact their subjects. Specifically, I wrote a post criticizing a shallow theological expose, and the author has challenged me to suggest better ways to reach out to a community in which Christ is not a name generally respected and revered.
It is honestly hard for me to imaging such a community, and I don’t have a platform of ideas about how to minister in a community different from America. It is harder still for me to imagine that community being won over by a shallow theological expose, but do I really have the right to criticize what I do not fully and entirely understand?
I think I do. I think that (while I certainly never intended for my attack to be linked to his post! I don’t think I did that — I don’t really even know how to do that) my words were justified, but out of context. Perhaps in the author’s world, his article was great and wonderful, but in mine it falls short. And I think that is okay — we all live in different worlds, have different circles, and approach issues differently. We all have different needs, and while non-Christians and teenagers crave one kind of dialogue, I crave a deeper, meaningful discussion of our world, of our God, and of our purpose.
I haven’t allowed the comment to post to the blog yet, but I’m sure that I will — I want to protect this space as a safe place for my own thoughts, but I also want to create an open dialogue for real theological discussions. I’m not quite ready yet, but in a few days when I’m thinking more rationally and not cramming for the biggest test of my life, I’ll be prepared to respond to it directly.
Until then, I feel moved by the dialogue I have had with the author — although we have only “spoken” indirectly, I have learned to carefully choose my methods of attack when posting about religion because, as much as I dislike those who throw Christianity around like chump change and who misunderstand and misinterpret what it means, I also love it, and want to nurture it. And I hope that, from time to time, the author will think “what am I really saying here” when he posts articles to his popular blog, because I think that adding a little substance will make the difference between people knowing Christ’s name and feeling His call.
So, it is almost here: I will begin taking the bar at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, so there are only a handful of days left to study-study-study for the big day! I am confident in my test-taking abilities, but less confident that I can remember all of this information. Being half-confident seems pretty solid, considering the alternative.
My plan, which I think is working well so far, is making mini-outlines as a method of reviewing. I’m condensing all of the knowledge I need for each subject onto one (double-sided) piece of resume paper, and printing it out so it is thick, stiff, and small-looking. Seeing all of the knowledge I need pared down to just a few pages is SO reassuring.
So far I have gotten through Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Torts, Property, Contracts, UCC 3/4, UCC9, and half of Maryland Family Law. The topics remaining are Business Associations, Civil Procedure, and Professional Responsibility. I plan to have this completely finished by the end of today, to do practice essays and read through essay choices tomorrow, and to rest with only minimal studying on Sunday and Monday.
I still have to map out a route to the test location for Tuesday morning, in DC rush-hour traffic, so that will be peachy. :) Also, I think I might hit up the mall for a little vacation shopping to get my mind off things.
With H out of town for the weekend, it is just me and Leo hanging out, and we are studying and cuddling up a storm. Good luck to all bar exam takers out there, from both of us! We are sending good thoughts your way.
I am so not a morning person. I have always wanted to be one — I love waking up early, getting tons accomplished, having time to watch a little TV and slowly enjoy my coffee each morning before heading off to work. But each morning, my body rejects the alarm clock and my eyes won’t open; I snooze for twenty minutes (okay, sometimes for a whole hour) without getting up, wasting those precious early moments that I could spend on myself or in prayer or at the gym (hello bar exam weight gain!!!).
This week, in preparation for the bar exam (which is on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY of next week, in case you have no idea what is going on in the world), I have been waking up earlier. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I was up by 7:30 each day — today, I was up at 6:02 a.m.
I spent the first ten minutes or so stumbling around my apartment, and the next fifteen sitting back in bed under the blankets, while H got ready to leave (he’s going away for the weekend so I can be a crazy study person. how sweet). Then, it was time for Ally McBeal (I’m watching lawyer-related TV to boost my exam skills. ha!), breakfast (waffle tacos!), and some online shopping.
By the time 9:30 rolled around I had finished my Property Law mini-outline, spent $99 at Lands End (they are having this massive warehouse sale and it is awesome), and watched 2 episodes of Ally McBeal. Typically, I don’t even think about starting work until 9:30 a.m.! Success.
Now, at 12:30, I am about to eat lunch and take a mini-break having finished my Torts mini-outline and showered. I’m planning to start working on Evidence after I eat. So, I’ll be finished reviewing all six MBE subjects before COB today, all because I woke up early and started my day off right! I wish I could do this every day. I mean, I AM going to do this every day. Maybe. It was really hard…
If you think you want to become a morning person, check these articles out. Apparently, a lot of people want to become morning people too.
The USA Today published an article yesterday noting that federal workers are more likely to die than to be fired from their jobs. The article itself was a bit callous toward the thousands upon thousands of federal workers who have spent their careers working for the American public, but even more saddening than that piece, which has a sufficient factual basis, is the tone of the response: The over 850 comments to the piece are embarrassing and mean-spirited. On the whole, the comments label all federal workers — not just a few who might have fallen through the cracks — as lazy, ignorant, under-educated, and incapable of doing anything productive. They see federal workers as a waste of a good salary. They claim that federal workers are paid too much anyway, and receive better benefits and a higher salary than their public counterparts.
Seriously? Better benefits and a higher salary than their public counterparts? Wow. Can we just talk for a minute about how the SEC struggles to maintain top-notch financial analysts because of the significantly lower salaries it provides — salaries that are literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year less than their employees could earn in the private sector? Can we consider the scandals and rip-offs the general American public have suffered because government employees are overworked and under-staffed with experts and cannot keep up with the fast-paced technological advances of the people and companies they were supposed to be regulating?
And, can we consider how difficult it must be for federal agencies to work under the direction of Congress and the President, when the Congress itself is falling apart and the House is working hard to stick a knife into every initiative that the President brings? Imagine working each day in an environment where you don’t know if you will have a job, because we are going to shut down the government or default on all debt and stop paying things like, you know, salaries.
And finally, if our government cannot even provide good benefits and job security as a trade-off for the lower-paying jobs, and if working for the government is no longer an admirable and patriotic career but a black spot on the face of an American free market, then who is going to process tax returns, or clean up nuclear spills, or provide emergency relief in natural or human-made disasters? Who is going to regulate banks and credit card agencies so they do not take advantage of an under-educated consumer population?
Me. With all of the bad information out there, the federal government is one of the best places you can work. You get amazing job security and solid benefits, while doing a job that improves the lives of Americans who hate your guts and think you don’t deserve your salary. What can be more rewarding than that?
Working to improve the lives of others, even if it is sometimes inefficient or frustrating, is a job well done. I hope that everyone is wrong, and that when I finally begin my government job it will be smooth sailing, but I anticipate some problems along the way. I know that, as Congress talks about crashing our economy to the ground and the DOJ maintains a hiring freeze for the second year, things in Washington may be difficult during my first few years on the job. But, I am still excited. And I plan to prove all of those 850 commenters wrong.
Today I feel like every thing is going wrong. Yesterday was so upbeat and positive and I felt very productive; today I feel unprepared for the bar, scared out of my mind, and annoyed. This week is insane, honestly, and a bit of an emotional roller coaster.
My small group essay workshops, which are typically on Wednesday afternoons, were rescheduled for today (Tuesday) since the bar is coming up next week. I conveniently forgot what day of the week it was and that my session was rescheduled until this morning.
H’s car was leaking oil yesterday and we had to take it in to the shop this morning. And so he took my car to go to work. And this totally makes sense, since he can’t get to work without a car and work pays money, which pays our rent. Normally, I would only be slightly annoyed to be without wheels when I have to study anyway (I mean, honestly, where am I going?), but I am majorly annoyed right now because (1) I was supposed to go to my class that I forgot about and (2) a book I need for my class is lying in the back seat of my car. Ugh.
So, I sit down to prepare the one essay I can write (since the other question is about 20 miles away with H at work), and I honestly have no idea what to do. Negotiable Instruments — you are the death of me! In the 25 allotted minutes, I get the basics down (like, a check is a negotiable instrument, what bearer paper is, what a holder is, and who is a holder in due course), and then I am literally stumped. I have no idea what makes you liable to pay your checks! This is a problem.
So here I am, at 10:43 a.m., wondering if I should even bother going to class, since (a) it will take me forever to get there by bus/train [really only about 35 minutes...], (b) I have basically nothing to turn in and I’m not sure it will be all that helpful to listen to my teacher tell me I forgot to explain liability [because, seriously, I get that I needed to explain it -- I just didn't know what it was!], (c) I should probably spend those two hours learning negotiable instruments instead of in traffic, and (d) I haven’t even read the second question, because it is way far away in my car!
Whew! Writing all of that out really helped me sequester the crazy onto the blog instead of keeping it in my head, which is a very healthy process, right? Right. Thanks for going through that with me.
In other news, I will no longer care about this in eight days.