Sleep, Eat, Study…this is my life for now.
Well, I’m just finishing up week three of Barbri which puts me about 1/3 of the way along in my bar prep experience (BPE). I am
getting tired of eating Elephant everyday. It’s starting to take a toll in that I no longer even know what day it is; they are all the same. Wake up at the same time, get dressed, get coffee, pack lunch, off to Barbri, have exactly 2 ten-minute breaks between 9am and noon, drive to the library, eat lunch there, study until 6 or 7 pm, go home, eat, study for at least another hour–maybe two, bed by 11. Repeat x6 days a week.
Sunday is the only day that’s different because we go to church, have lunch THEN I study. All I think about is law, I read law, I see law, I dream about law. Even though I studied hard in law school, this is a different level of studying. If I’d studied this way all through law school I would have OWNED law review…all by myself!
Note that none of this is probably any different from the time, toil and effort that most other bar preppers are spending (and that I’d heard stories about from past bar-takers), but it really can’t be said enough: Bar Prep is one huge beat down–maybe a right of passage. Or sanctioned hazing.
Anyway, I start every day with a positive attitude determined to do my best work and give my best effort, but this week was rough, especially Tuesday. It started out alright; we had an Essay Workshop with the head Barbri guy who is quite entertaining, so the material was fine. I got to the library and was ready to study by 1 pm and then saw that I’d gotten my graded MPT back from Barbri. You will recall that last week I felt pretty good about it (even though I haven’t even looked at the sample answer), but then when I saw I got a “3” I guess I just freaked out. (MPT is graded on a rubric of 1-6, so a 3 is not so good.) I tried to recover by doing another MPT that I’d already reviewed and annotated so I was ready to just do the writing part, but I got stuck. Like I froze.
There I was in the library having a complete meltdown. I have also been struggling with these stupid multiple choice (MC) questions and I guess I thought that since writing has always been my “thing” I’d at least do well on the MPT. Not so much.
So, I did what any person in my position would have done: I sat and felt sorry for myself for a bit. (As a result, I had to subtract 30 minutes from my study time that day which only ended up being 8.5 hours after it was all said and done; that added insult to injury.) Then I emailed my Passing the Bar professor and he wrote back an encouraging email that it’s better to have the meltdown earlier than later. He sent me a handout he’d given us in class for just these situations when we’d (inevitably) feel overwhelmed and doubtful of our skills. When I read it the first time during the semester it made me cry back then! But he meant well and it got me through. I took a deep breath and took out another MPT, did that one and sent it to my professor for him to review. Melt down #1—CHECK!
I decided to get back to work. I slowed down on the MC questions trying to really focus on getting the concepts and I started getting way more of them right. Finally! It sure made me feel better to see some stuff I knew (or could at least reason my way through) and by the time I left I was feeling a bit better about myself.
My hand, well mostly my thumb and the joint between my index finger and all the way down the underside of my forearm to my elbow have been bothering me lately. I think the thumb thing is due to holding a darn pen for so many hours. I’ve already run through an entire blue ink pen that died earlier this week. It gave its life for the Texas Bar exam. Let’s all give the blue pen a moment of silence.
And while we’re at it, let’s give its sibling a moment as well as it is also on life support and may not make it through Monday. That’s two pens in 3 weeks of bar prep. Insane!
The best pen EVER!
Not to worry! I have just gotten offline from ordering more pens (2 dozen) of my new favorite: Bic Cristal BOLD in blue which, for some reason, I could not find at either of TWO office supply stores I visited this evening. A friend of mine gave me a set of these pens in multiple colors and I absolutely LOVE them. I have written and written and written these last 3 weeks and this pen has been all that’s stood between me and carpal tunnel. The ink is super smooth which really makes a huge difference when you’re doing so much writing. Two thumbs up on these pens because they are awesome and super cheap too.
At least my trip to the store wasn’t for ‘nuthin…. I took my flash drive there and had them print up copies of the Procedure & Evidence (P&E) portion of the bar exam all the way back to 2005. They are all online on the Texas Bar Examiner website and I’m going to do them. ALL of them–before the bar exam. The P&E is the only portion of the exam that I haven’t started studying to this point. I’m doing the MC questions, I submitted 4 essays last week and I’m doing MPT’s (at least) once on Sundays. Now, I gotta squeeze in some time for the P&E. If I do three a week I will have them all done by the time it’s two weeks out from the bar exam. So, that’s the plan.
Update on the study music: I have been using it daily and really liking it. A lot. Turns out that it does help me concentrate and stay focused. But even if it didn’t, at least it keeps out the noise from all the people that never learned that the library is a quiet zone. B-12…not so sure what that’s doing one way or the other, but there are several of us taking it, so no harm, no foul. Maybe I’m not taking enough. Hmmm…
I’ve logged in 57.25 hours studying this week. Tomorrow we hit Family Law, the subject I avoided like the plague in law school just because it’s not my thing. I worked in child support for about 7 years right after undergrad and it’s way too much drama for me. But, alas we meet again… Time to face my nemesis. Until next week!