Once “Time” was called at the end of the afternoon session on day three of the bar exam, there was a restlessness in the room that was palpable. We were all so ready to leave, but of course, several sections in the room took unusually long to account for all the paperwork and the state-bar-issued USB thumb drives. It took FOREVER….
Finally, the head bar examiner said the words that all of us had been waiting to hear: “You are released.” And what a release it was. I wanted to jump up and cheer, but wasn’t sure if that would be too weird. Apparently others felt the same way and gave in to the urge. I just picked up my stuff and couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I looked over at my friend E.J. who, gratefully had been assigned to sit in my same section, one row back and two tables over, and we both just grinned. We were done and it was such a great feeling.
Walking out of that convention center was so surreal. I knew that I’d get asked, a million times between now and when bar results come in, how I thought I did, so I conducted an internal check right there in the moment. My gut tells me I did my best and that’s exactly the feeling I wanted. Whatever happens when results come in, I gave it my all. Let the chips fall where they may.
I am grateful that I remembered some of the crucial advice given by my professor which was to remain calm and not panic. He wasn’t kidding. Panic is the enemy and luckily there was only one moment where it tried to derail my plan.
About mid-way during the MPT on day one I looked at my written outline and then glanced at the time. Something in my head quickly determined that I didn’t have enough time to finish it all and at that moment I felt the panic rising up from my chest, up into my throat. For a second I thought I was going to cry and just completely lose it, but then a voice from somewhere deeper within said, “NO!” I pushed the panic down and, when I thought about it later, it was like I could physically feel it getting shoved down like the plunger on a hypodermic needle.
For those few seconds I felt completely out of control and at the mercy of panic, but then it was gone and never surfaced again for the rest of the exam. It’s not that I wasn’t in a time crunch the whole rest of the week, but there was no other point during the exam that I let my focus shift from the task, to the time. It was like I was working outside of myself—completely insulated from panic and fear and negativity. I am convinced this was the answer to a prayer, probably lots of prayers. I know that I had many people praying earnestly for me and I specifically prayed for peace, wisdom and discernment. I got the peace that I wanted; that I needed. I guess we’ll need to wait and see about the wisdom and discernment when results come in!
After 15 hours of testing over 2.5 days I then had a three hour drive home. I was running on adrenaline and just sheer happiness at being done. I had a brand new Maroon 5 cd waiting for me in the car and was anxious to get it into the stereo so Adam Levine could keep me company on the long drive. That was the best drive ever. I had to take a picture of my first, After Bar Exam sunset.
I could’ve used a several weeks to recover from the whole “bar exam experience,” but instead I had a job interview the very next day and…got the job. Last Wednesday I started working at the University of Texas at Austin, so I was unemployed for less than 24 hours after the bar exam. Thank you, God.
It’s been so busy getting situated and re-discovering the ability to have a life outside of school. I’ve had time to get my hair cut, volunteer at the high school for the band, attend Jazzercise, RSVP for a wedding, stay up late to play cards with my family and watch movies without the burden of having to study hanging over my head. It’s been awesome! I missed this stuff!
Things promise to get busier before they slow down…but I’m already planning a vacation. I deserve it.
A special thank you to the faculty, staff and Alumni Association of Texas Wesleyan Law who showed up on Day 2 and provided a great lunch for all of us bar takers. Yes, the food was good, but more than anything it was nice to see friendly supportive faces wishing us well at the mid-point of the exam. As always, you guys never stop taking care of us. Thanks a million.