Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Oddness of Finality and Suprises

I'm about ready to pack up for what I am realizing is the very last time I will study at ye olde school. It's odd. When I cleaned out my law review office after graduation, it wasn't odd so much as relief. But as I was packing up my thousand barbri books and cleaning out my locker tonight, for whatever reason the whole "doneness" of it hit me. (Assuming of course, that I don't fail the bar anyway :|) It's the first time I've really felt that the whole law school experience has finality. I'm actually done. I have my diploma and at the end of this week, I will have no reason to regularly darken its hallways.

On another semi-related note. I ended up studying with a small group of people just by virtue of proximity than I had planned. It just sort of happened, and it was honestly the best part about doing this whole horror that is bar study. I knew them all before but was only close friends with a couple of them. I don't know why this turning out this way pleased me so much, but I found as I got ready to leave that in some twisted way, I was going to miss them. After all, I've seen them much more than I've seen my own fam for almost 10 weeks.

10 weeks. I hope it was worth it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I can do one more hour because I've done this for 2 bloody months

That's my rationale. That's what I am chanting to myself all day today, what I will no doubt be chanting tomorrow and possibly monday. Today was the first day that I have felt like i was about to vomit or tremble myself right out of my seat. The icky butterfly feelings in my forearms. The uncontrolled shivering that I notice when I'm not cold. The super shallow breathing just one step away from hyperventilating. That was today.

I've been worried before. I've been freaked out. But they were momentary break downs. This is all-encompassing fear. And I'm entertained at how distracting that is. I have a study list a mile long of "things to do before the bar" that is very clearly not going to happen. And I've embraced that. But I do have to get at least some of it done. Sigh. And that is why I'm chanting to myself: you've done this for 2 months, you can do another hour, another 30 minutes, another 5 minutes. My life is being measured from accomplishment of mini-goal to mini-goal.

I need this to be over.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tired. And almost beyond worry

So after my splat last week, the hubby put away my computer and books and made me play for about 18 hours (including 9 hours of rocking sleep in there). It was fun and much needed. And I think I've been overall more productive and sane this week because of it. Which is good because my beloved daughter did what she does when the stakes are high and murphy is just waiting for a chance to show me his mightiness: she got unbelievably ill. Sigh. She's on the mend now, but honestly, I could have called this. Without fail. And of course, hubby is in the middle of long work hours for his special projects that come up twice a year. Naturally. So it's been a kid-juggling fest. And that has not helped my anxiety. But it has helped me focus when I am working. Except for this particular moment :)

Earlier this week, I took last summer's PMBR simulated MBE, and I feel comfortable with my score. Not ecstatic, but it could ahve been worse. And it was a a good exercise because now I feel free to do one mixed set a day and other wise pick 3-4 subjects, take my reduced outline and reduce it to a page... then take that and put it on one note card. Then take at least 5 essays (just outlining at this point, who has time to write them out?). And then I get instant feedback on whether i need to add something to my cards. One card per topic.

Beginning sunday, all of my topics should be reduced to cards and then it will be all about remembering mnemonics and doing a million essays until I can't stand it Monday afternoon. And then, I'll stop. Nothing after Monday at 6 pm. I'll take my cards with me in the car to the bar exam, and i might sift through them because I'll need something in my hands, but that's it.

That's it. And that's why I say almost beyond worry... there isn't a whole lot that I can do about the big picture now, except keep to my plan.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


That's the sound of me hitting the wall. Seriously. I cannot feign indifference, cheerfulness, determination, or anything else that might get me through this particular moment. My concentration today is simply non-existent; my mind simply wanders away whenever I attempt to make it focus. I've tried to write an MPT, take MBEs, reduce a couple of big outlines and an essay. Nothing is working.

And the more that I focus on nothing working and acknowledging that I have the attention span of a 2 year old, the more depressed I get. i don't want to be here. i don't want to study. I called the fam to see what they were up too, and woke the spouse. They're having a nap. Doesn't that sound lovely. I just want to be doing something other than what I am doing. And I know that big picture, I only have to do this 9.5-ish more days (the study part... not the test part). But that doesn't change the way that I feel. It's getting to me. The monotony. The extreme boredom. The sheer level of difficulty that is prepping for the bar.

I'm not trying to have a whine here, although that's probably how it's coming out. I'm trying to express the blackness that has become my soul. Ok maybe that's overly dramatic. Just a tidge?? But this is the one thing that no one prepped me for with bar study: the total emotional upheaval that is my life hour to hour. That part is exhausting too.

End whine. (I know I said it wasn't one, but let's all be realistic, shall we?)

Statistics and other meaningless numbers

That's what my life has been reduced to these days. I'm holding at 60% with con law. I'm between 80-90% in Torts and Crim law. I've been too afraid to go back to evidence and see if my panic-induced 3-day evidence fest earlier this week was fruitful.

I've worked MPTs. I'm starting in earnest to essay a lot. (That was never a verb until the bar.) I've perused the stats from the simulated national Barbri MBE exam... where i was entertained and unsurprised to see that I was in the 10th perentile for evidence impeachment questions and in the 96th percentile overall for torts (are you kidding me?). It seems that my freak out and subsequent intense study of the 8.5 x 14 book for torts was not a waste of time.

I've got my day broken up into equal segments for studying. I'm carefully reducing my caffeine consumption so that the days of the test (where we are not permitted to bring anything at all to eat or drink into the test), I won't crash hard without my usual 10 am, 2pm caffeine fixes.

I'm sleeping, less or more or badly or not at all. I'm not seeing my family. My daughter is missing me. And I've lost count of how many times I've said "in August, we can do that sweetie."

And of course the most interesting number in my life at the moment: days left until the bar=10. It's a nice round number, isn't it?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A plug for a calming bar taker site and the next phase

This post on game day thoughts had me breathing a little slower and easier this morning. Thank you Biff for your comment... and allowing me to find your blog. I appreciated your perspective.

Today begins "the rest" of all that I can do. I've often thought that if I do all that I can do, I will pass the bar. I'm not sure if I'm doing "all" I can do, but dammit, I'm trying pretty hard.

So here is the plan for phase "the last." Memorize. Practice. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I've been goign through by subject to figure out what bits 'o law I won't be able to just regurgitate unless I do some hard core memorization of the 4 (or 5?, see why i need to do this) elements of an express trust. So I'm making a list of those and then handwriting them onto stuff that is going to decorate my house. Then I'm going to make a list of "order of review" to make sure that when I'm driving or working out or having another bout of insomnia, I can run through everything.

And when my brain feels squishy and sore, I'll stop input and take a few practice tests. Everyday. Some fully written, some just for the delightful experience. And then, well then, it'll be game time

(Is anyone else having issue with blogger this morning? It's playing mind games with me on links!!??)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I had a true moment of hyper-ventilation type of anxiety this morning as my daughter so cheerfully pointed out to me that i have 2 weeks before I can play with her at the zoo.

Two weeks. I'm really torn now that I'm facing that. On the one hand, I'm tired, I'm cranky, I miss my family, and I'm sick to death of doing this all day, everyday. On the other, two weeks so does not seems like enough time to get everything into my head that I need to. There is too much. I'm acknowledging as I write outlines now that I'm not putting in as much detail about some of the smaller issues as I was a week ago. It's a nod to the shortness of time and the finiteness of my memory. And it's scary. Because I have to accept that if that issue comes up on the test (I'm really thinking essays here), I will forego those points. And I'm not sure how many points I'm going to be able to forego and still get the job done.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where does the focus go?

I just read Anastasia's commentary on her oh-so-unproductive day. And laughed. Because, yeah, that was my day too, until about an hour ago. Then I hit a spurt of energy. And then it stopped and I checked my blogroll.

Sunday was an exceptionally good study day. Lots of learning. Lots of accomplishment. Yesterday was less so. Harder to focus, less accomplishment, less motivation. Today has been basically a joke. No focus, almost no accomplishment, and totally devoid of motivation. The one bright spot in my day was watching a particularly anal classmate of mine suck usually reasonable people into his "essay guess fest." My favorite thing about this particular anal idiot is that he's so certain that he's right. About everything. Sigh. But especially about the bar stuff. He's actually foregoing studying certain subjects that he is, and I quote, "sure will NOT be on the bar, because there's just no possible mathematical way."

What i really love about that statement is that 1) i'm going to score better than him on those essays if they do show up, 2) if enough of them show up, he won't pass, and 3) how can you say that, especially this year considering that the MEE is, for the first time, offering the MBE subjects. My state has historically rarely tested MBE subjects on the essays. But if you talk to folks who took the february bar, THREE of the MBE subjects were essays. So, I get that I'm mocking him for trying to predict the essays by essentially predicting that we will have more MBE subjects than in the past, but I'm also no dumb bunny, and I'm going to know at least enough about all of the areas to answer and get some points.

End rant. End detour from studying. And now, back to the oh-so-fascinating realm of admin law (some one get me a razor!).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Not much to say other than that I am tired

This really is a sick sort of marathon. The insomnia is now ever present, and I felt somewhat in good company when several classmates ended up in an impromptu discussion about their favorite sleep-inducer: wine, benadryl, some omni-somthing, nighttime tylenol, etc. I don't know why it's comforting, but it is. I've only dosed the benadryl a couple of times so far . . . in total desparation to make the mneumonic devises and random elements stop running through my brain.

I'm to the point now too where I realize how much I am missing out on. And my daughter is NOT thrilled. I've played up a lot of the "in august, we will do: x, y, z special mommy/daughter stuff." But that only puts a bandaid on for so much.

I took last night off to be with the fam and with some close friends of ours. Even in myhaze, I still kicked can playing Settlers of Catan. I love that game... especially when I win.

I was above the "average" threshold on the simulated MBE, which made me take one step away from the cliff I feel like I am perpetually standing on these days. My evidence score was absolute puke though. God help me, but I am NEVER going to figure out exactly when extrinsic evidence can and cannot come in. Oddly, but happily, my best score was in torts, so it is good to know those few days I spent really hammering it and reading the huge honking outline really helped.

I've also got about half a dozen friends who are now aware of how sucky Barbri's state materials are. We are each taking the ones we think are more likely than not to show up and checking the statutes... it's a pain, but it's turning out to be very very worth it, and it sucks a little bit less since we have divided it up. I'm still astounded at how wrong they are on major points of law in every subject. Truly amazing.

Now, I'm ducking my head back into my studying: this evening's dish: wills. Mmm mmm good.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just what exactly did I pay Barbri more than $2000 for?

Cause where I'm sitting at the moment, I couldn't answer that question. Seriously?!?! I became thoroughly irritated earlier this week when a friend of mine was reducing her familiy law outline and got a puzzled look on her face. Fortunately for us, she used to work for the state legislature and had something stick in her brain about a funky family law issue that Barbri had under our state's distinctions. Well, after about 3 minutes on westlaw, she found out that the funky "state law distinction" had been REPEALED! ALMOST FOUR YEARS AGO. HELLO!?! WTF? I died a little inside. It's a frequently tested issue. And now my state does it like everyone else instead of bizarro. And Barbri, well, either they are lazy and cheap and didn't want to spend the resources to update my state's law or they knew they didn't have to because where the hell else am I supposed to go? Sift through my state's code and common laws in all my spare time? Right.

So fast forward to today, when we began our simulated exam. My first complaint is, really, I have to grade them? And I get the infeasibility of grading so many essays in any kind of a timely manner. Fine. But then, if you don't, Barbri, you owe me a point break down of the answers, and failing that, you owe me model answers actually written in the blasted format that you keep harping on about being so damn important. It is lame and excessively insufficient to merely give me what amounts to a bulleted list of issue-spotting with an occasional rule thrown in. All I can see is that I did worse than I thought, but I'm not sure how necessarily to make it better. So thanks for nothing on that end. Oh, and by the way, it would be nice if you updated the answers that claim to be specific to my state like on my ethics essay. It was half-assed at best and completely WRONG on two of the three points. So thanks again. Glad I've been studying that and that the lecturer you sent for the ethics stuff had done his homework for 2008 and could tell me what the law is now.

And how is it even imaginable that it will take you 9 days to return my "graded" scantron? It's a scantron for crying out loud. Me taking it 3 weeks before the test so that you can give me my score 1.5 weeks before the test seems like a total waste of everyone's time. Of course, I can and will mark my answers in my book so that I can grade it the next day.

But what is it that I paid you so much money for?

I don't get it. I'm sure the lecturers don't come cheap, at least not the really big ones that give you cred. But you dupe them a million times, so the recurring cost there has got to be pretty minimal. And the many forests killed in the printing of the books, yeah, that's probably not cheap either. Room rentals. Graders (who are worthless... it's a joke when everyone in my class gets the same number grade each week with a note that says: "good writing, but check the law.") The "local" attorney who is supposed to . . . yeah, I've still got no idea what he was supposed to actually do for us.

When I sit back and look at what I thought the real value would be in your course, it was for the state law stuff. Which is usually horribly inadequate, disjointed, and evidently wrong because at least some of it hasn't been updated in a while. The rest of the stuff you provide, meh. I could buy your books off ebay or a classmate. I could poke myself with a stick to make sure that I didn't fall asleep reading the big outlines which would more than compensate for not hearing most of the lectures. It's the state law stuff that I don't have time to google and westlaw for the myriad subjects that my state tests.

It's a good thing that courts generally don't second guess the value of consideration because I'd be on that like peanut butter on a kid.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Because I don't want to study torts

Stealing another meme. This time movies. Thanks to Z over at Balance of Power and E. McPan at the Neutral Zone Trap. Let's see how many new classics (according to Entertainment Weekly) yayarolly is up on.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

12. The Matrix (1999)

13. GoodFellas (1990)

14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)

25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)

34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998)

54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)

60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)

66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)

92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

I'm surprised. I'm such a classics Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn kind of girl. Half is pretty respectible. And of the ones that I haven't seen, I'd say I actually only want to see a handful. And now, back to negligence. Damn.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sloppiness and Being Discovered and Illusory Anonymity

So, sloppiness: A few years ago, I had a struggle with a post that I wrote, which I ultimately decided not to post. I remember being really disappointed that I had finally reached that moment where self-censoring caused me to not post about something, full stop. I had that same sort of struggle last week. I wrote something up that I thought was funny, accurate, a bit sardonic and would be appreciated by many in years to come. But I was uncomfortable with a couple of the negative things I wanted to say. And frankly, I blame my squeamishness on having studied bloody torts for the few days before I posted. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. In any case, despite my gut telling me not to do it, I posted it. Then I worried over it. As I was sitting at school the following day, I checked on it and discovered some random, fairly rude comments (not at me, agreeing with me actually) but they were said in a flippant sort of way that made me more uncomfortable than I already was, and I was miffed at where they came from. Then I discovered that the post had been picked up elsewhere. And I was really uncomfortable.

So i decided, after discussing it hypothetically with a friend at school, that I would pull it. I just didn't have the extra mental energy to worry about it. In hindsight, it was probably ok, but still, i don't need any extra crap turning in my head these days. So I'm glad that I pulled it.

Fast forward a few days though where I sit down with my best law school friend who wanted to smack me upside the head because the other friend I had my "blog hypo" with told the other that I had a blog. She hadn't previously known about it. That's right folks. I was outted. By my own sloppiness. I mean, I know that you can never do the "I have a friend" kind of hypo and get away with it. But I'm still entertained that after keeping this blog for 3 years, I never once told anyone anything about it. And as far as I know, none of my law school compadres read it or connected it with me. Which is how I had wanted it. So now, the cat is out of the bag, and those two are sworn to secrecy.

I know that blogs are not anonymous, no matter how much you try to make them so. it's relatively easy to figure out at least the exact location of a blogger. But you still hide behind the anonymity wall you construct. I've often thought of the irony of how much freedom anonymity gives you to tell it like it is... while nearly crippling you into being "content free" in order to maintain that anonymity. It's what made me decide for once and for all that yayarolly's doors will close August 1. I'll leave the blog up in case there is anything remotely useful to someone else later on. And I'll probably get it printed into a keepsake book for myself at blurb. But with law school on the shelf, it will be time to move on.

I'm still undecided as to whether I will start a new blog that looks at me as a whole picture: professional, mommy, wife, hobbies etc. But I'm struggling with the whole anonymity thing still. I certainly don't want to get fired, or worse. But I also don't want to write so that I end up being content free. It's tricky. But I love to write. The year that I didn't write on this blog, I was actually writing fiction. So see, I can't just stop writing. :)

Friday, July 04, 2008

First major freakout

It happened Wednesday night... after I had spent what felt like the better half of my life studying torts, and I was still scoring between 30 and 33%. Um, yeah. No bueno. i had been about 3 giggles away from crying for a few days. The tension and the exhaustion and the anxiety were all weighing on me heavily. And so on my way home from studying and taking the test, the tears started rolling, and I was in near hysterics by the time I got home. I just knew that I was going to fail the bar. Beause with as many torts questions, I couldn't possibly get enough "extra" answers right in other areas to make up for it. Or that was my line of thought anyway.

Happily my family had time for a group snuggle and then took me out to a late dinner and a chocolate milkshake. nothing is ever as bad when thought of over a chocolate milkshake. So I picked myself up, and dusted myself off, and started all over again (Name that Rogers/Astaire movie). I had actually also spent a lot of time reducing property (and am now the proud owner of a 1 page property outline :)) so before despairing altogether, i decided to take another property test. I was concerned that my entire method of studying wasn't working and if it wasn't, I was out of ideas of what to do differently. And I'm glad that I took that rational, double-check approach because my property score went up a lot. Then i took a mixed subject test and laughed out loud at the results:
  • All K and property questions right
  • 1 evidence question wrong
  • 3 crim and 3 con law questions wrong each
  • and all torts questions wrong but 1
Clearly, I just don't get torts. So I am sticking with my original plan, although I admit that I am about 2 days behind now. (Freak outs are such a time suckage.)

That's about all that I have to report. Studying for the bar blows.