Sunday, June 23, 2013
“How hard could it be?” I said to myself.
“Why is everyone stressing out?” I said to myself.
I told myself, “I have a handle on this. When everyone else is freaking out I will remain the calm voice of reason.”
Um… yes. Bar exam prep is such a strange way of life.
The exam is five three hour sessions over two and a half days. It covers 13 different subjects and includes 200 multiple choice questions, twelve essays, and a performance test. It starts at 9 am on July 30 and ends at noon on August 1. Piece of cake, right?
I made myself a schedule. It’s a pretty schedule, on a spreadsheet with colors and times laid out very carefully to make sure I stay on track and don’t forget anything. It shows one week, and allows for pre-class prep, post-class review, and practice questions. My intent was to follow this schedule from May 28, the first day of class, until July 30, the first day of the bar exam.
The schedule says I am to study in three to four hour increments three times a day. I am to eat three healthy meals and a snack every day, and track it all. I am to sleep a minimum of seven hours, from 11 pm to 6 am every night. I am to swim (or run or bike) four days a week. Any blank spots on the schedule are for downtime. I can watch a movie, or visit with a family member, or play with a dog, or just sit and be. Or I could write a blog.
The schedule is magneted to the fridge. It’s been there since May 28, the first day of class. I haven’t looked at it since May 29.
What are the favorite sayings?
The best laid plans of mice and men…..
The road to hell is paved with good intentions….
Men plan, God laughs….
How’s it going, you ask? For the first two weeks, it went fine. Then the sheer volume of material caught up with me. Now, almost four weeks in, with five weeks to go, I feel like I have never lived anything else, and that nothing else will ever exist.
For the last three days, I have forgotten to eat breakfast.
I can’t seem to remember to brush my teeth.
Every time I go somewhere in the car, I lose it in the parking lot.
I’ve been snapping at my loved ones.
Forget household chores. They are non-existent. Except for bill paying. Because bill collectors don’t care if you’re studying for the bar exam.
My sleep schedule is non-existent. More often than not, one of those three- to four-hour study sessions happens in the middle of the night instead of the middle of the day.
I am munching on whatever is quick and easy and available in the pantry. Thankfully most of it is healthy. Except for the two handfuls of lime flavored Tostitos I ate last night. And the mini candy bars. I have tracked next to nothing.
I have caught myself wearing clothes that fit me four years ago when I was 40 pounds heavier. Surprisingly enough, I have not gained any weight.
The only place I feel any sense of competence is in the pool. I am actually doing better with that than with any other part of my plan. Yet that too is a struggle. I feel guilty taking the time to go, and I’m distracted while I’m there. But I am swimming at least 2000 yards at a shot. Not as much as normal, but it’s something.
Thankfully, this won’t last forever. On August 2, I will wake up and realize I’ve got nothing left to do. Then I can move on with my life. It can’t get here fast enough for me.
But in the meantime, I need to get back to the books.
GOAL: On August 2, I will swim 5000 yards. Maybe I’ll cut myself a break and wait till August 3.
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: On August 9, I get on a plane and fly to California for nine days.