Thursday, July 8, 2010

The California Bar Exam, Part 2

Both my [then] husband and my aunt approached me about taking the bar at a later time. See The California Bar Exam, Part 1. That thought never occurred to me for even a moment because (1) I didn't want to lose my momentum, and (2) My mother would have been mortified if she thought that she had been the reason for me postponing the bar.

The pmbr multistate review course started the Monday after graduation. The course was held in a dilapidated sad hotel in the industrial part of town. The wallpaper was peeling in the ballroom, and the folding tables and chairs that they put out for us were in disrepair. It was all very depressing - where were the tablecloths and the pitchers of water and the little candies? Or maybe I was just sad because I knew that after the review course I would probably never see my law school classmates again. We had been through quite a lot together in the past few months.

The day after the pmbr class ended we were headed on our road trip/move out West. Indeed, I have never seen any of those law school classmates again.

For a brief moment at the start of the pmbr class I thought about panicking. Then I realized that was a time luxury that I could not afford. I also realized fairly quickly that the multi-state didn't test on the rule of law; rather, it tested on the exception to the rule of law. Then, if there was an exception to the exception, it tested on that. I also remember the proctor telling us to wear purple to the exam because it would provide good karma. Helpful. Very helpful.

After the pmbr course ended, I opened my schedule for the BarBri study-at-home California review course. (Yes, for the first time.) There wasn't a free day on the schedule. And the topics, some of which I had never covered in law school, were each allotted only two days of review. Accordingly, as we drove away from what I had known to be my home, the sweet sound of the California bar review course was playing on the car stereo.

The first night we stopped in Amarillo and I still had some of the day's review left to go. My then-husband curled up on the hotel bed with our son and called up a movie on pay-per-view. I was exhausted from everything and I wanted more than anything to take a break and curl up too. I knew, however, I couldn't get behind that early in the game.

When we finally arrived at our destination, I thought that I would study during the day while my son was asleep. After one morning of that plan I was on the phone to the nanny agency.

The nanny would show up at 8:30 and I would take my bar review materials to Starbucks. I would order a venti caramel macchiato - enough caffeine and sugar to get me through until a late lunch. Apparently, a bar studying person has a look about them because I can't tell you how many people came up to me and asked "Bar Exam?"

I shortly got into a groove where I only needed to hear something once before it was stored in my brain for its near-future use. Like the groove you get into 20 minutes into your run, my brain was functioning like a machine. After the nanny left in the afternoon I would spend some time with my baby, then when he went down at night I would study more. But I always took a break for the Daily Show. I had to get my news about what was happening in the real world somehow.

The spots for the bar exam were filling up quickly in the major cities, so I secured a spot in San Mateo and booked my flight to San Jose. I bought the non-digital time piece required for the California bar. I considered carefully the color of nail polish I should wear (while the comment about wearing purple was ridiculous, the color of your toenails for the bar exam is extremely important.) And, finally, I took my son to his new pediatrician for his latest round of vaccinations before I left for San Mateo. Whereupon the pediatrician said, "Has anybody told you that your son has craniostenosis? You need to have him evaluated by a pediatric neurosurgeon right away."


[He ends up being just fine - more about that in Part 3.]

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