I haven’t updated in a while. So here’s what’s going on.
First, I started work this week. That entailed lots of orientation sessions involving things like benefits, computer systems, and cost-effective online research, getting my office set up, and jumping into a kick-ass first assignment that I LOVE LOVE LOVE but that will probably have me in the office tomorrow.
Second, I passed the bar! Yes, this is exciting. But I got that awesome assignment basically twelve hours after finding out I passed the bar, so I just switched gears into being excited about my assignment instead of passing the bar. Also, once you pass the bar, I think it just becomes this thing you’ve done, and then don’t really want to think about anymore!
So things are good! I really like my job, and I’m really excited about that. I’ve always been a little ambivalent (and admittedly, cynical) about the big firm thing, and I am really pleased to see that I am enjoying law firm life—and that I am really enjoying the work. Of course, I’m a little astonished that I’m already anticipating going into the office on the weekend, but the situation is a bit special and I don’t think it’ll be the norm. I hope it won’t be the norm. I do kind of feel like I’m getting a crash-course in work-life balance, and I think that’s good. I want to figure out now how to prioritize and how to maximize the time I have where I am, whether that’s office time or family time. That way, in six months, when I’m even busier with multiple matters and my time is even tighter, I will know what works and what doesn’t, what creates problems and what doesn’t.
So that’s what’s going on with me. How about you?
I am human again.
After consuming not-too-much-wine on Wednesday night, I fell into bed at midnight, but woke up promptly at, yes, you guessed it, 6 am. I rolled over and went back to sleep, but it wasn’t a very good sleep, and I was up by 8. Which was OK. I spent most of the day at the spa being pampered, though I won’t go back to that spa for the nail services. ((My fingernails don’t take to polish very well, and I need a really careful manicurist to give me nails that will last more than a couple of days. Despite my manicurist saying her French manicures can last for 10 days with nothing more than a quick reapplication of top coat, I am already chipping this morning on the edges. I had a manicurist tell me once that I have very oily nails and they have to be properly and carefully prepped for polish. Notably, that manicure was the only French manicure I’ve ever had last more than a few days. So, anyway, it was a fine manicure, but I won’t have the polish in a couple of days, I can already tell you, and it was too expensive a service for me to pay for that myself. (I had a gift certficate for most of my services this time.) )) But never mind the nail services—the 90-minute massage was worth every penny, plus the generous tip I gave my massage therapist, and the facial was also terrific. I am not one of those people who ever finds a facial relaxing—hello, digging at my pores? Relaxing? No way!—but I don’t expect relaxation, I expect clean, glowing skin. And I got it; my skin looks terrific. Those two services alone really did the trick for me, leaving me feeling just relaxed and just pampered enough.
And since my massage therapist pounded the tension out of my back, I slept like a ROCK for 10 hours last night. Today I’m awake, refreshed, and, having nothing on my schedule but to go do some shopping, I’m thinking that feeling isn’t going to go away.
I may post again tomorrow, but probably not; and after that, I’m not sure I’ll be back. First, I’ll be on my bar trip, getting away to the tropics for some quality sunshine; after that, I don’t know what else I have to write about. I’m not as down on the blogging thing as I was way back in May, full of the stress of having just graduated with the bar yet looming before me, but I’m also quite happy to leave on a high note. I’ve started feeling an obligation to blog again, and that’s exactly what I don’t want—if I’m writing here, it should be because I want to be writing. I don’t know if I’ll want to be writing, much less if there will be any stuff going on in my life that I can write about.
Anyway, to everyone who took the bar this week, CONGRATS! It’s over; we can all forget about it until the results are out sometime this fall. To those who haven’t taken the bar, it’s not as awful as I’ve made it sound. It’s just an endurance race. Schedule a spa day after your bar ((I think the spa I went to may start offering a bar exam package—one of my techs told me I was the second post-bar-exam client she’d seen yesterday, and then she started getting really excited about the possibility of a package just for us. I’m honestly not sure what to think about that.)) to flush all the tension from your skin; it’ll be worth it.
So I’m done with the bar. I’ve consumed approximately 1/3 (give or take) of each of two bottles of wine (which I guess is 2/3 give or take of ONE bottle of wine), a very good steak ((I won’t say a great steak because I have a hard time calling a steak great. My steak was cooked as I wanted it, and the texture was great, but flavor was just OK. So it was a very good steak instead of a great steak)), and now I have nothing to do but laze around until tomorrow at about 10:30 when I leave for my spa day. So, really, I have nothing to do for the next two days but transport myself the six or so blocks to and from the spa (handy that), in between which I get a full DAY of I-have-nothing-to-do-but-be-pampered. Sweet.
Since I’m talking about my future-beyond-the-bar, let me offer my opinion about what it is about the bar that is SO awful. Because it is not the amount of work compressed into a tiny period of time—I went to a college that required comprehensive exams in each major, so TWICE in my last semester, I spent an 8-hour day regurgitating information onto a screen (luckily that was an option even way back in the stone ages when I was in college) with no real idea of what might be asked. Thankfully, I managed to learn enough stuff to answer the questions and graduate in both of my majors (even though I did not comp with distinction, but c’est la vie, I had other shit going on). But I had eight hours each time to work at my own pace and answer the questions that were given and, while I used up my eight hours, I didn’t have to sit through INSTRUCTIONS.
Yes, the part of the bar that is the worst is the INSTRUCTIONS. If I have to hear one more time how I cannot have sunglasses or headwear that is not of a religious nature, or any other item, including books, papers, study materials, aids, or any other similar or dissimilar items near me at my seating location, I might just have to hurt someone. Also awful: the BOREDOM. There is the boredom involved with hearing the instructions for the fourth time. There is also the boredom of realizing I cannot write anything more on these essays because I (a) don’t know what I’m saying, (b) don’t want to erase something right for something wrong just because I THINK I didn’t know what I was saying earlier or (c) I couldn’t care less, BUT the bar examiners in my state won’t LET ME LEAVE YET. ((Yes, I know in some of your states, you can leave as soon as you are done and want to leave. Not us. If you finish early, you have to STAY UNTIL THE TIME IS UP. This, folks, BLOWS.)) The boredom of sitting and watching the clock for fifteen minutes when you know looking over your answers is futile and NOT in your best interests because you don’t know any more now than you did twenty minutes (or an hour or two hours) ago when you first looked at the question, thought carefully about it, and answered it, is UNBEARABLE. And you can’t sleep because you had too much caffeine so you’d be alert for the damm BAR EXAM. Boo.
OK, I have more wine to drink.
Day 1 is over. There will be no thinking about, talking about, rehashing, reliving, or other mental dwelling-upon of the day. It is over.
On to Day 2.
Today is the last day. I’m trying to take advantage of it, without burning myself out. I went to Starbucks for a while, had some tea, read some essays and essay answers. Then I grabbed sushi for lunch (fish = brain food), reading essays while I enjoyed my food. Then I went to a different Starbucks and tried to read some more, but that Starbucks was hosting a staff meeting of Starbucks employees and they were LOUD, so I came home, took a shower, and now I’m reading more essays.
I don’t think there’s anything more I can do at this point—even reading these essays feels sort of futile. Futile is maybe a little more defeatist of a word than I’d choose, but I can’t think of a better one. I doubt anything I read today is going to make a serious difference in what I write down tomorrow, and it’s possible that things I read today could psyche me out for tomorrow. So maybe I should stop reading essays!
The plan for tonight is to eat a healthy dinner, pack up all of my stuff for tomorrow, and get to bed early. My packing list includes:
- 1 laptop computer, with two batteries installed ((I’m using Mr. Angst’s laptop, and it has an extra battery that slides into the optical drive bay. With wireless turned off, I can get a full 5 hours of use from the sucker just on battery. I hope I won’t need that, but it’s good to know in any case.))
- 1 laptop power adapter
- 1 power strip ((I’m allowed a 6′ extension cord, but I couldn’t find one that would take a three-prong plug, as my power adapter has, so I’m going to take my power strip, which will accommodate a three-prong plug, and is about 5.5′ long.))
- 1 pair earplugs
- 1 analog watch ((Just my normal watch.))
- 1 hoodie sweatshirt in case it is cold
Other than that, I’m planning on setting up the coffeemaker before I go to bed so I can just hit the button in the morning. I’m hoping that that will ensure I drink coffee at home instead of on the way, giving me plenty of time to process it, as it were. I don’t want to face the bathroom break dilemma.
In the morning, I plan to get up bright and early, turn on the coffee, get dressed, eat breakfast and drink the coffee, take 2 Aleve to preempt any RSI twinges, and get in a cab by 6:45 am. I have to be in my seat by 7:30.
Good luck to everyone taking the bar tomorrow!
I keep watching that countdown over on the side there, and wanting it to go faster.
Because as long as there are days left on the damn thing, I still have time to study. And I don’t want to study anymore. I want to stop studying. I want to take the damn bar exam, go out for a couple of bottles of wine and a steak, spend the next day at the spa, the day after that shopping, and then go on my first real vacation in four and a half years.
What’s funny is that the bar has become this final hurdle before I can take my life back. After the bar, I’ll be able to do things I haven’t really done since before law school. I’m not saying I was always the most diligent at studying or at keeping up with my obligations—lord knows I procrastinated my fair share!—but I always felt like Law School was looming over my head. I haven’t enjoyed life enough, I don’t think, for the last few years because I always knew that when I came home from enjoying life, I’d have work to do, work I could have done yesterday.
I don’t think real life is going to be much different in most respects—I will always have things to do that loom over me and they will probably consume more of my time than law school ever did. But real life will differ in one key way: it will be separate. When you’re a student, you don’t have an office or a boss or a set schedule in any real sense. The work is always there and you always have to get it done, and you will always take it home with you. I am sure I will have days where I bring my law firm work home with me, without a doubt, but I also think having an office and a boss and a set schedule will make me less likely to live my work. If I have to work on a weekend, OK, but that work will be determined on an as-necessary basis—working on Saturday will be my choice rather than a requirement ((Yes, I know, this sounds pretty naive. I realize that there will probably be stretches of my career where working on Saturday WILL be the norm because of the matters I’m working on, and I am OK with that, to a certain extent. The point is that, pretty soon, work will be a place I GO TO rather than a state of mind.)) I can get back to enjoying cooking as a process rather than as something to rush through so I can eat and get back to work. Mr. Angst and I can go to the beach, take the dog on long walks, hang out and enjoy each other.
So that’s why I want to get the damn test over with. Because I’d like my life back.
So I’ve been saying I’ve hit the wall every day for the last three days, but today, I think I actually hit the wall.
I finished doing my mini-outlines (full of lovely jargon for super astro points), I’ve done several sets of MBE questions (but not the evil full-day MBE practice test, boo), looked at some essays, and I am, frankly, just tapped. I don’t really know what else I can do. I haven’t exhausted the materials, unfortunately, but I don’t know how to summon up the energy to even just read through some of the sample essays. I just feel done. Not ready, but done. It got so bad today that, after finishing my last mini-outline, instead of staying in the zone and doing some sample essays right then and there, I had to get up and go clean. Given that I was in the library, you’d think that would be a hard task—but you’d be wrong. Because I had three issues worth of books checked out to the journal to return, so I did that. And my locker was full of stuff that needed to be thrown away, donated, or brought home. So I took care of that. And there were things to be returned to fellow students (who have not graduated). So I returned those things to their mailboxes.
And in the process of doing all of that, I basically cleaned out my law school life. I have no reason to go back to the law school now (except that I have some books to return to a professor, who wasn’t there today, because, duh, it’s Saturday). I don’t have a locker anymore, I don’t have any books checked out to me or to me-by-proxy. Which means that the only thing standing between me and (gulp) real life is the bar exam. (And a week-long vacation, of course.) I am not a student anymore.
I’m really pretty sure that doing all of that stuff right now, today, two days before the bar exam, was not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Because I’ve essentially replaced one reason to be anxious with another. Ack.