Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's your song???

Do you have a song that just gets you pumped when you need a little inspiration? I think back to the Bills games in Buffalo and T.I.'s 'Bring 'Em Out" blasted in the stadium. People danced and cheered as the Bills came out of the tunnel. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed a bar song. I needed a song I could sing in my head that would get my pumped and focused for the task at hand. Hm, decisions, decisions.

Well, I picked a bar song a couple of weeks ago - "Diva" by Beyonce. It has a strong sound, is all about confidence, etc. I was buyin' it. About a week ago though, I started thinking Beyonce's "Bootylicious" might be more appropriate since my butt has expanded while studying for the exam - non-stop studying doesn't leave much time for working out (although hitting the gym had initially been a part of my study plan). Yesterday, my bar song changed again. There's a song from a movie that sings "God, give me strength (do, do, do), God, give me strength." It's all I could think about as I was answering questions. It's the song that kept popping in my head today during six hours of bubbling in a scantron. So for now, it's my bar song. No doubt that will change tomorrow afternoon when this dreaded test is over!!!!!!

The February bar is quite different from the July exam. You see, most people taking the February exam aren't fresh out of law school. Most of my fellow bar examinees are already lawyers, like myself, or re-takers who didn't pass the exam in July. I think that adds to the stress and pressure everyone feels. The "laywers" are expected to know what they're doing and since we already passed a bar exam, this one will be a breeze. Right. I hardly knew what I was doing on the CA exam and I still don't know how I passed. That was also seven years ago and I didn't have two kids to worry about.

The re-takers know exactly where they went wrong on the last exam (you can see your graded test), so there is certainly added pressure when those parts of the exam come up for them. The young lady sitting next to me is a re-taker. I asked her where things went wrong for her - she said it was the MBEs. Ah, the MBEs. That's the portion of the test we did today and it was brutal. I almost raised my hand a couple of times to let the proctor know my test was defective - none of the answer choices available to me were correct! But I figured that wouldn't fly. It's never a good thing when you find yourself guessing over and over again on questions. The MBEs are brutal. It's why people fail the exam. I hated it the first time, I hated it this time.

Tomorrow is the final day of the test. We have to do 12 essays in 6 hours. I had a major meltdown this afternoon when I opened up my first subject to quickly review - we're talking tears, nausea, hyperventilating, you name it. I looked at the first page of my notes and had problems remembering things I studied and "memorized" just a few short days ago. I fah-lipped. I called a fellow test-taker and she just listened and tried to calm me down in my panic. I was able to focus and do some review, but the amount of information is just overwhelming.

Did I mention we're responsible for 25 or 26 subjects here in Texas? Everything from family law to secured transactions to trusts and estates. I've vowed that no matter what, I'll make some stuff up tomorrow if I have to to make it sound like I know what I'm talking about. It's definitely easier to b.s. an essay that a multiple choice question! For that reason, tomorrow may actually be less stressful than today.

One thing that gives me peace is that I'm not the only one feeling like this - panicked, desperate, hopeless, stupid. None of my fellow test-takers are going to be walking into that exam room tomorrow singing "Diva." I'm guessing even those of little faith will be calling to high powers for strength, wisdom, and knowledge. I know I will be.

*Singing - God give me strength (do, do, do), God give me strength)

Now, we'll see what song I'm singing tomorrow afternoon around 3 or 4 p.m. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One down, two to go...

As I sit here pouring through an obscenely large stack of real property flashcards in order to get ready for tomorrow's multiple choice portion of the bar exam, I'm realizing how much of a spanking this test is. It all started last night after trying to cram hundreds of pages of criminal and civil procedure and evidence information into my brain. I took an Ambien at 10 p.m. knowing that I'd need help getting to sleep. 11 o'clock - still awake. 11:30 - still awake. I don't think I finally fell asleep until around midnight, which was quite frightening since my alarm was set to go off at 5 a.m. this morning.

This morning's portion of the bar exam is considered one of the easier parts of the test (if there is actually an easy part of the exam). But leave it to me to flub it up. The first portion of the exam is called an MPT. We're given instructions and a rather substantial file to go through and we had to create a persuasive memo based on the information, all within an hour-and-a-half's time. 45 minutes into the test, I hadn't started writing yet because I was still trying to organize the information. With 15 minutes left, I panicked. I started writing as much as I could as quickly as I could, and I realized that I'd combined two of my arguments. Why is this a problem? The MPT is all about organization and following instructions. I did both on a subpar level and can imagine I'll pay for it later.

Next was the procedure part of the exam. It's never good when you open the first page of a twenty-question test and you have absolutely no idea what the answer to the first two questions is. Again, panic. After practically hyperventilating, I refocused and managed to answer the questions, even if not correctly. Further adding insult to injury, I forgot that this portion of the exam is one in which they don't take points off for writing wrong information - they simply give points based on the correct information. With five minutes to spare, I actually crossed out some made up information I included. Who knows - it could've been right but I certainly won't get any points for it now. Oy... Today's portion of the exam is worth 20% - certainly not fatal, but points that would've been nice to have.

Tomorrow's another day - the infamous MBE portion of the exam. 6 hours of multiple choice questions - 200 in all. This is the part of the test that can really get people. It's a portion of the exam that I struggle with. Hopefully my preparations will suffice and I'll manage to answer enough correct to squeeze out a passing grade.

Okay, it's 9 p.m. I promised I'd take my Ambien earlier tonight in the hopes I'll actually fall asleep by 11. I need my sleep - exhaustion on the MBEs do not go together!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's about that time...

Last night I decided to stop studying around 9pm - my hand ached so bad from writing that I just couldn't take anymore. I have calluses on my thumb and a bruise on my middle finger from holding a pen. I think I've written 1000 flashcards. I have two notebooks full of notes. I decided to pack up my things and get ready for my trip to downtown Dallas to take the bar exam. At this point, I will just be so relieved when it's over. I'm looking forward to life returning to normal - kids, laundry, cleaning. You know studying must be bad when you look forward to running your vacuum cleaner.

I'll try to post with some updates this week to let you know how things are going. Wish me luck and send prayers - I need them!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Almost there...

Anyone who has ever taken a bar exam knows EXACTLY what I'm going through right now. Every day experiences are legal issues - if Will smacks Bryn, it's a battery. Ryan most certainly should have some sort of claim for loss of consortium against somebody (look it up!). I literally have to take medication at night to get to sleep because my mind is just racing.

With the bar less than a week away, all I'm doing is studying. I'd love to take a study break to go to the gym or catch a flick, but I can't - no time! I'm amazed at how I can spend all day studying a subject, then wake up the next day and not be able to explain what I studied. How scary is that? But I'm hoping that my well-crafted flashcards will help refresh my memory next week before the test.

Studying for the bar is stressful and overwhelming. I've had some freak outs over the past month, but yesterday was the first day I wondered if I can do this. Argh! It's almost over. I'll do the best I can do, and hope it's better than a lot of other people in Texas so that I don't have to do this again. I'll check in soon!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sorry for the delay...

But Bryn's surgery went great. She and Ryan were actually on their way home the other morning as I was slowly making my way to bar review class in the Dallas traffic. She seems to be doing great and is even back to sleeping through the night. She was easily waking three or four times during the night, so this is a wonderful development for everyone!

Will is doing so well in his new school. He came home yesterday with two bags full of Valentine's Day toys and goodies. He made a couple heart necklaces in class. I'd put mine on and he pointed right at the heart and said "heart." I was just thrilled when I heard that.

And he did something pretty incredible today. He said the word orange and then spelled it. You have to know that I can't wait until I'm done studying for this test so I can get to work on that little guy - I think we've got a soon-to-be reader on our hands.

Speaking of studying, I'm in crunch mode. With a little over a week before my test, I'm on virtual lockdown. I spent 9 hours today going over family law (did you know that up until recently, you could legally marry your first cousin in Texas?) and I'll be up for several more hours foraging into community property. Ryan and I have decided to celebrate Valentine's Day next month - no time for love today (unfortunately).

And with the stress of everything, I tweaked my neck the other day and am now on a rotation of hydrocodone and muscle relaxants. I will get through all of this!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So much for sleeping on her back!

I went in to check on Bryn last night and this is how I found her. What does a mama do when her baby decides she wants to sleep on her tummy instead of her back???

Miss Bryn is having tube surgery tomorrow so please send prayers. Ryan has to take her because I have class, so I'll be a nervous wreck until I hear all is well. We've been down this road twice before with Will so we sort of know what to expect. But having a little one go under is never fun. Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's a good day

I was sitting in a ridiculous boring Secured Transactions bar review lecture this morning when my phone rang (thank goodness it was on silent). I don't get many calls from blocked numbers, so when I do, I always check the message immediately to make sure it's not important. Well, the call today was important - it was a representative from our insurance company with news about the appeal I filed regarding Cigna's denial of Will's speech therapy.

I am happy to report that they've approved our claim! Any speech therapy that Will received will be covered (which means we'll be reimbursed for the massive check I wrote last month to cover the services). This is such an answer to prayer - I can't tell you how many hours I spent arguing on the phone, compiling our written appeal, etc. It felt so good to get some good news for a change. The lady on the phone probably thought I was crazy because I burst into tears.

The ironic part of the story is that as of last week, we actually cancelled Will's private therapy since he was starting his new school. He started today and will be getting plenty of speech-related services in school. It feels so good to check this area of stress off of my mental list for now.

On a side note, we took the kiddos to an ENT yesterday and looks like Miss Bryn is getting tubes soon - yeah, 4 ear infections in 8 months suggests this is a good thing. Will keep you posted on those developments!