Lawyering, Personal

Bar prep is a study in contrasts

June 29, 2014

I’m a little over a month out, y’all, and even if the rest of the time were rainbows and butterflies, this would still be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  It is also just a ridiculous process.

(Realtalk before I get silly: it would be awesome if you could check in on me, because this is the worst, and if I see you in real life and snap at you it’s not you, it’s me/bar prep)

I no longer have any idea how smart I am
I will do like, 60-ish practice questions and get a decent number right because I just made a whole bunch of flashcards for the topic and I’ll sit there like I AM THE SMARTEST (WO)MAN ALIVE and have grandiose visions of fist-bumping Ruth Bader Ginsburg and getting an Oscar for portraying myself in my own biographical movie and being chosen to lead the free world BECAUSE I AM THE GREATEST

Aaaaaand then I’ll read a practice essay, skip happily to a conclusion about what the issue is, write an outline for it, and then read the sample answer which is roughly the length of all the One Direction fanfic put together and realize that my outline is about as quality as the average One Direction fanfic because I missed literally everything important about the question (“there was a torts issue here? what? since when? oh since forever and you learned that 4 days ago”) and then I just want to dive into my bed of shame and stay there until my brain reaches its goddamn potential which is NEVER.

I have a lot of feelings about the prep program I chose
(in all seriousness, Barbri has been great so far: the experience itself obviously sucks but in no way do I feel like they’re leading me astray or that I don’t have enough prep, and I really appreciate their graded essay program…disclaimer over)

I’ll sit in class or watch a recorded lecture and be like “lawls bro made a Kenny G joke and I’m actually impressed with the level of fun in this horrendously boring topic” and I’ll do a practice essay and get useful but non-soul-crushing feedback about the stuff I did right and the stuff I missed, and the program is inherently impossible to keep up with but definitely makes sure you cover everything important.

Then I’ll get to a torts question that includes this:

“Once she confirmed with the bank teller that the charges from the escort service were not an error in the bank’s system, she went outside to the driveway, where her husband’s car was parked.  She took a baseball bat to his headlights and carved her name in the leather seats.”

did u just



Also all the lecturers thus far have been white and all the lecturers except three have been men and this has therefore become a study in “if one more old white dude on a power trip with no hair and a nasally voice tells me how to run my life I will SNAP”

My emotions are both all over the place and no longer related to reality
Yep, saw a really cute dog the other day and started crying.  Because it was cute.  Really cute.

That’s my major one right now: tearing up at things that are cute or pretty or some other equally benign adjective.  Songs are a big one, but I’ve also teared up at a really delicious piece of chocolate, Game of Thrones, a text my mom sent me, Johann de Meij’s “Hobbits”, my new running sneakers, and, most embarrassingly, I teared up because I was laughing so hard at Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle” being played at my spin class.  Yeah, apparently what to do with that big fat butt is “burst into tears.”

There’s also what those in the biz call “bargression,” which is hating pretty much the entire world.  This means getting really upset at legitimate things, like racism, or an email from Sallie Mae, or the fact that “The Bachelorette” exists, but also little things.  Everything becomes a trigger for Hulk-like levels of rage.

A non-exhaustive list of things that have set me off in the past month:
dropping my bar of soap while in the shower
a child’s laughter
someone unironically using the expression “the bae” on Twitter
someone yelling their orders at Chipotle
someone ordering too quietly at Chipotle and needing to repeat everything
low battery on my Kindle when I am sitting next to the charger
engagement photos
the Red Cross emailing me to donate blood
cars (just cars, being on the road, at the same time as me)
someone looking at me in the gym
a commercial being on all 6 of my radio presets
texts from my apartment complex
“kaleesi” (sic)
not being able to find the specific pair of workout pants that I want that day
doing laundry
the sun

My brain can store a lot of things!…none of which are important
There is a LOT of stuff required for the bar, and although you’re basically told that you can’t really learn everything, you should know a lot.  Which includes the dozen or so exceptions to the hearsay rule in evidence, the five elements of a negligence claim, roughly 8 goddamn million ways you can leave your stupid, stupid property to another person (no I’m not bitter why do you ask) and all the overlapping “who’s in charge of THIS topic” shenanigans that is our three-branch federalist system of government. No but seriously states are the dumbest thing why do we have states I hate states one law only forever

At any given point, I am confident of about ten percent of the above material.  Fun fact: ten percent competency does not let you pass the bar.

HOWEVER, I am about 95% competent on: Harry Potter spells, quotes from the movies Clueless and The Princess Bride, the words to “Welcome to Duloc” from the first Shrek movie, the words to “Guy Love” from the musical episode of Scrubs, which season of Say Yes to the Dress I’m watching by who the consultants are, the timing of the Rifftrax lines for all but the last of the Twilight movies, drawing a visual of Westeros’ Seven Kingdoms, what Panem’s districts specialize in manufacturing, and the Allomantic powers in the Mistborn novels.

You don’t have to be disgusted: I already disgust myself, don’t worry.

Basically if the bar exam has Harry Potter trivia, Titanic history, or Mean Girls quotes I’m golden; if it’s on any other topic I am barely/possibly competent.  (Hogwarts is a tort waiting to happen and some people who felt personally victimized by Regina George may have a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and/or slander.)

My wardrobe is incredibly varied
lololol NOPE I get up, change into my daytime pajamas, study forever, shower, change into my nighttime pajamas, sleep, wake up, and repeat.

Yes, I have different pajamas for daytime and nighttime.  It’s important to be comfortable but not so comfortable that my brain just goes “screw this” and goes to sleep in the middle of a real property lecture review.

My energy level is basically a lightswitch
At about 7 PM or so I go full on Rip van Christina and my eyelids droop regardless of how much work still remains and I either 1. take an Ambien like a good little girl and then proceed off to sleepland to have my weird dreams (sleep meds are fun, y’all) 2. act like I’ll calm down enough to not need an Ambien and attempt to read myself to sleep and toss and turn in a mattress of anxiety for the next four hours.

The next day, I get my first two hits of caffeine in AM hours, and that gets me functional, usually.  Sometimes, I get a third thing of coffee in the afternoon, and then I’m just SO EXCITED to be ALIVE and STUDY EVERYTHING and OH MY GOSH I’m gonna make ALL THE FLASHCARDS and watch ALL THE LECTURES and do ALL THE ESSAYS and WHY ARE MY HANDS SHAKING WHEN I TRY TO WRITE IS THAT MY HEARTBEAT THAT’S MY HEARTBEAT AWESOME

The next few weeks should be better because the lectures taper off and I don’t have to wake up to go in if I slept terribly the night before, but I can’t quit caffeine right now.  (They legit tell you before prep starts to not change any of your habits, up to and including “if you’re doing cocaine regularly, keep doing cocaine. Quit after the bar.”)

I am both the healthiest and least healthy I’ve ever been
I am at the gym like, ALL the time.  I am running out my bargression (that’s bar + aggression) and going to spin class and running more.  I should go to yoga, but I walked in this week, felt like punching a wall, realized I shouldn’t scare all the nice people, walked out, and did speedwork on the treadmill for like half an hour. I’m drinking a ton of water, exercising like a beast, and sleeping like a log a LOT.

However.  My diet is all over the place, because some days I’m like “hell yeah, salad” and other days I’m like “every carb in the world represents one of my feelings and they’re all going into my mouth right now.”  My posture is shit because I’m in a desk chair for like 10-12 hours a day, and as my prep program slowly crushes me, my spine bends like a pipe cleaner in a kindergartener’s craft project and everything hurts and nothing is beautiful.  I’m hoping bar prep-induced acne is a thing, because otherwise something is seriously wrong with my face, and my hair is legitimately drying out.  I cut a ton of it off recently as well (and came really close to a “fuck it, we’ll shave it off” moment while in the stylist’s chair because I don’t have time for shenanigans) so as a total package, I look like the Monster Book of Monsters.  Again, if I progress this way…world’s first orc lawyer.

Everything is really, really hard, but I am four weeks away from the exam, and I took a practice exam on Friday that went okay-ish, and this will not kill me.  Andrew has the patience of a dozen saints, Twitter is full of hilarious bar preppers, and this too shall pass, and SO SHALL I.  And then I get to go watch three of my friends get married over the month of August, and I’m planning a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I can do this.

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