Tuesday, February 28, 2012

bar exam, day one

The internet is fairly stable here (surprisingly) so I thought I'd make a little post to take notes of my (mis)adventures.  Hey, I was trying to blog more often, right?  And yes, I know, silly picture of me (and Nyago! <3 him)...I took that a little while ago and as you can probably tell, it's been a long day.

Things out here in the boonies is pretty nice, like a mini vacay minus the whole 'I have to take this horrible, terrible, hellish exam' part.  Ha!  Matt was awesome enough to book me a crazy room, aka suite aka palace, so I'm living it up with more room than one little person like me needs.  I've been here since Monday, when I had to fight hellish traffic and rain just to make it here in one piece.  I nearly dropped all my food/groceries on the ground because of 1) the rain making my brown bags wet and 2) the flimsy-ness of Ralphs' new brown bags.  For your information, so you know, just because they may look like TJs awesome brown bags, alas they are not and in fact, are far inferior.  Not only did the handles break off on 2 of the 3 bags I brought here within the first few minutes, but then when grabbing one bag by the top, a big chunk ripped out of it!  Huh?  Lesson learned:  TJs brown bags >>>>>>>>> Ralphs brown bags.

It has been lovely and quiet though, just how I like it.  Although this morning didn't start off so well.  With so many people here waking up at the crack of dawn, I ended up taking a fairly lukewarm shower since the hot water was sucked up.  Does that even happen in hotels?  Apparently it does because I was freezing my tush off.  Nothing like a cold shower to wake you up!

I did, however, make it smoothly there and when you're an old pro like me, you know the drill.  Funny to see people fumbling around and all nervous and meanwhile, I know the routine.  As they say, it's not my first time at the rodeo?  I have no idea why that phrase keeps reverberating through my head (true story, I've been thinking that all day).  The proctors keep trying to tell me what to do and my response is, 'oh, I know, it's not like I haven't done this before.'  Oops.

My proctor is a very nice lady, maybe too nice.  Every time she comes around, she has a whole greeting prepared, starting off with, 'hi, how are you?' and 'welcome to (x) session' and 'thank you very much' and 'good luck on this section.'  Nice sentiments but borderline creepy when she stops purposefully and stares you in the eyes every time.  

The sessions today were...harsh.  I know, aren't they always.  The morning session was disgusting topics, aka Trusts, Constitutional Law and Evidence.  Umm, yuck?  The afternoon performance test was disappointing.  Performance tests, oddly, are usually where I strike exam gold and score the highest.  They're closed universe mock real world cases that you are given a task to complete.  I thought I had a handle on today's, until I started going...and going...and things got more confusing, convoluted, and just plain long.  Nothing made sense and everything seemed like an issue that was a mess to organize and discuss.  Sigh.  After a while, I had no idea what was up, down, left or right.  What a mean problem they wrote :(   

But the show must go on, and there are still 2 days left.  Tomorrow is a full day of multiple choice.  200 questions over 6 hours.  Sounds fun, right?  But after all this typing and writing, I'm looking forward to just filling in some bubbles with #2 pencils.  Thursday will be a repeat of our day today and then we get to go home.  After all this, I can't believe I'll be back at work next week again.  It'll feel really weird to switch gears again, but also good in a way.  I can't imagine what's been going on there, but hopefully things are ok.  No one ever knows how they did after these 3 days so I'll just hope for the best.  It's such a crapshoot and luck of the draw on what topics you're tested on and how the exam goes.  Sometimes everything just feels all wrong and sometimes it can feel great, but when everything is scaled, there's no telling what the end result will be.  But it is what it is and I can only try my best, right?  

Here are some funny observations from the day, to lighten the mood:

~ A sign that a bunch of Bar takers are on the loose:  everyone is running around clutching ridiculous gallon-sized clear ziploc bags containing items like pens, pencils, IDs, etc. looking crazed.

~ A bunch of guys were wearing NBA jerseys today.  For the exam.  Jerseys...really?  Most of us are dressed like we're going to bed, and dudes are dressed like they're going to dribble b-balls on a court.  Weird.  Listen, channeling Kobe is not going to make you 'clutch' for the exam.  Have you seen the dude play?  You might want to do that and reconsider your choice of jersey, should you choose to continue to wear one tomorrow.

~ I'm really amused by the items that people bring to the convention center.  No joke, people are hauling around pillows, footrests, giant keyboards, giant clocks - remind me again, but are we taking an exam or taking a nap?  Granted, we're sitting at long tables but our chairs are surprisingly cushioned.  Is it really necessary to bring enough bedding items to make one's bed?  How can that little chair hold that many pillows anyway?  I don't get it.  Although the girl in front of me did put her head down on her pillow when the general instructions were being read...strange.

~ I seem to be sitting in the 'older persons' section of the room.  Not that it was purposely done this way, but a lot of people near me are middle aged and above.  Are the Bar examiners trying to send me a message?  As my friend/co-worker put it, hopefully this doesn't mean that it's taken them THIS long to try to pass haha.  Then again, I got the sense that a lot of them are repeaters...

~ Old dude in front of me really wanted to be chatty cathy after the exam.  There's nothing I hate more than rehashing an exam after it's already over.  You're not going to change anything by talking about it, and in your mind you might've written the greatest thing ever but that's not what was really put on paper.  He didn't get the hint when I kept avoiding eye contact.  Hey mister, you continually asking me why I'm not smiling and me not really responding is probably an indication that 1) I'm exhausted and don't want to talk and 2) we just took a full day exam that is only the first of three days, is there really that much to smile about?  And telling me about your great essay writing from the day does nothing for me.  Let's face it, you've repeated this more than once, too, so I don't think you're in any position to tell me how awesome you are, mmkay, thanks.  Damn, I still have to see him tomorrow...and Thursday...

~ The head proctor stands at this podium in the front while reading endless pages of instructions.  It's a real buzzkill, especially when you have to sit there for 30 minutes listening to the same, repetitive instructions for every session.  What IS amusing, however, is the dude has this whole 'Morgan Freeman as the voice of God' thing going, especially when you can't really see him and his voice is echoing around the room. Awesome.

~ I'm thankful to have a seat farther in the back this time.  Last February I was in the front row and not only was it lame to stare at a wall but it was a real distraction to watch people come/go to the bathrooms.  Phew.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now.  And I have to get back to reviewing for the multiple choice tomorrow and then get some rest.  Good times!  Or, as good as they can get for now, all things considered.  Good night!  

p.s.  Oh, and happy leap year day tomorrow!  If I had the time and ability, I'd check out the 24 hours of Disneyland (I can't even fathom this) since the park is supposed to be open from 6am Wednesday until 6am Thursday.  Craziness!

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