I started law school in August of 2009. It's now August of 2012. With the exception of receiving my bar exam score and being sworn in, I think I've finished the grueling rites of passage from page to esquire.
This summer, I crammed everyday for that bar exam; I lost 9 pounds of fat, (I probably have three pounds to go), I made a few scientific discoveries, and I realized my cat died from FIV. I owned that cat for fourteen years, since I was 15 3/4, and I would have never guessed he died from FIV.
So - I think I've been through a lot. For all my followers that have followed my journey from New Zealand to America, I guess this sort of closes off this part of the journey. I mean, of course, if I pass the bar, there's still the part about receiving the results and the part that I get sworn in. But the reason those rites don't matter as much to me is that they don't take effort and work on my part. If you do everything right, the last grueling hurdle in becoming an esquire shouldn't be too bad. The main challenges are in the first year of law school, and the next two years of law school. The bar exam is like the ultimate final.
I suppose, the legal journey can continue, as there are more challenges to making it as partner. But that's another journey for another time, if I chose to take it on.
For those in New Zealand, let me describe the Bar examination. As you know, it is the licensing exam to practice law in one of the States of the Union. I took the California Bar, which means I can practice law in California, and if my score is high enough in Washington DC. California has no reciprocity agreement with any other state; therefore, a California Bar License only allows you to practice in the State of California. It's also the hardest of bar exams - with the highest fail rate of 55%.
It's also the most grueling of the bar examinations. The California Bar exam is three days long. I took mine in Pasadena, which is located very close to my childhood hometown. I drove there the first day from my mother's place in the San Gabriel Valley. For the next two days, I stayed at a 2 star motel about 2.7 miles away. It cost $70 a night. Even though my childhood home is only 14 miles away, it's definitely worth getting a motel to avoid the morning traffic. Let me tell you, although I didn't believe people at the time, it is really worth staying at a motel. You need your peace in the morning to have your mental balance to take on the bar exam. Driving through traffic is not worth it.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the exam questions themselves as challenging as the horror stories I heard. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a hard exam. But it shouldn't be that hard if you put in all the study you needed to in your three years in law school. Furthermore, I didn't slack off while I was studying for it as well. So - again, hard work pays off.
I'll tell you what I hated, yes hated, about the bar. It's the way that they implement Soviet-Communist-Nazi tactics during the exam. They herd a horde of you into a huge high school cafeteria - gymnasium setting. They make you sit in these worn out old tables, that look like they're from the USSR time. They take away your government issued identification and give you a number. I hated it. I'm a human being; why are they treating me like a number, just one of the masses? I was a number 21**. I just looked at my number sadly, and thought, I'm more than this number.
Then, they tell you where to sit, when to eat, when you can go pee. It's all so insane, this type of ritual. The bar exam is hard enough without all these added restrictions.
The two most painful things about the bar exam, everyone who's taking it pay attention, are two tricks that they play on you. The first one is when the time begins, I noticed they blast up the air conditioner. They also don't allow you to wear hats. The head loses the most body heat first. So, the result is that you lose a lot of body heat, which makes you struggle to pay attention on the test. So - when you take the exam, make sure to bring a jacket.
The second thing they do, that I couldn't believe, is on day three, they change the start time of the examination. This is to throw off your body clock and you probably have the most anxiety after day 2 of the examination. So, it's harder for you to sleep. Make sure to sleep earlier on day 2 to not fall into this trap.
Other than that, after I finished the exam on day 3, I went to my adviser's home. He graciously treated me to dinner. I love the ice cream the place served. It certainly gave me ideas on how to serve ice cream for the future. I didn't feel excitement, maybe some relief. It was over, and I didn't have that much stress about it.
What am I doing now? I'm just trying to re-sort through my life. I'm trying to re-manage my budget. I need to re-edit papers accepted for publication. I have to lose 3 pounds of body fat - and then regain some muscle. I need to do some maintenance on my cars. I have two - Alexandria the BMW Z3 and Julia the 1967 Mustang.
I don't have the money, but it's time to be thinking about a new car. I like cats; so I think a jaguar would be fitting. This is the next car I must get: It's a 1970's E type. =) Yes, another convertible.
I don't know how I'm going to afford it though. I've turned down two legal opportunities so far. I'm not sure if the slavish hours of law is in my future. I think for now, I'd like to be a chef and - or - a novelist. I already have a thriller in mind. I think it's a spy thriller. Maybe - that'll bring me my fortunes.
Anyways, this part of my journey is finished. Now - it's time to plan my bar trip.