Friday, May 30, 2008

Things I Did During My Last Exam

I can't decide if this is a How To or a How Not To, but this is how I took my 2-hour legal profession exam, for which I studied approximately 1.5 hours:

1. Read the first fact pattern, read it again, read it a third time. Wonder if there's really on two issues in it. Shrug, decide, two is certainly sufficient for a C and start reading an outline to learn something about the two issues I managed to spot.

2. Realize I am 37 minutes into the 120 minute exam and I still haven't written anything. Start typing, something- ANYTHING.

3. Finish question 1 after another 15 minutes. Since I am now 18 minutes ahead of my 1 question per hour pace, take 5 to have a mini self-identity crisis about the fact I will no longer be a student. I have always been a student. Who am I without a first day of school outfit, school supply shopping, and a planner? Relax as I realize all of these things will remain in my life as a lawyer- the first day of work outfit has already been planned and now school supply shopping is free in a beautifully stocked supply closet. Smile at the thought of all those pens and highlighters and little colored flags.

4. Look around the room and realize that I won't see any of these people on a daily basis anymore. Get incredibly sad at that thought (yes, I love my classmates, they are wonderful and smart and supportive and nice in a good old fashioned friendly way). Start to tear up, take a bathroom break to snap out of it.

5. Return focused and read fact pattern #2. Figure there must be at least five issues floating around in there but settle on two to learn and then discuss. In the process of reading the outline, get distracted by an interesting case about a horribly negligent lawyer and feel fury on behalf of the client. Note that the case is 25 years old, convince myself the client is fine now, and continue learning about the issues I need to discuss (which had nothing to do with the only case I have now read).

6. Get about half-way done and decide to take a break. Get out a piece of paper and write a to-do list of things to accomplish on the car ride.

7. Finish the second question. Debate whether or not to attack another issue and settle for flushing one out a little more. Get a little sad about the fact that I'm now a completely bare minimum kind of student, but decide the past few weeks have been insane and give myself a break.

8. Spend the last 10 minutes transferring all my now unneeded law school documents to my virtual recycle bin. Take great joy in pressing "empty recycle bin", wish the sound was on so I could hear the crinkling noise.

9. Wish time would move quicker so everyone else would have to stop discussing more issues than I did.

10. Time is called! Turn in exam, run upstairs to print out directions, go meet JP, little brother, Landon, and the cat to begin our 1100 mile, double car trek to Houston. Tear up again when walking out of the law school, laugh when I think about what my 1L-self would have said if someone told her she'd end up emotionally attached to that building. Realize there's a lot of things my 1L self wouldn't have believed she would do over the next three years and decide that's a good thing (tear up again, feel kind of proud of self, then shake it off). Open the back door to give a sleepy smiley Landon a big kiss on the forehead and jump in the front seat next to JP with my barbri book, iPod, and a package of Subway chocolate chip cookies he picked up just for me.

Drive off into the sunset- or more correctly, large thunderstorm with tornado warning; a special goodbye treat from Chicago to JP.

(I'm now writing this in Blytheville, AR a teeny tiny town with a Sonic and a motel that's almost halfway to our destination. JP is feeling good, Landon was about as cooperative as a 10.5-month-old can be on an 8 hour car trip during his awake hours. Hopefully he will remain as fascinated with empty plastic bottles and the fun sound a tylenol container makes when you shake it under close parental supervision.)


  1. Lagliv, I have been a longtime reader but am only now commenting. I started reading during "the nightmare." I just want to wish you all the best in Texas and say CONGRATULATIONS on finishing law school. You have had a hell of a year, and you should be SOOOO proud of yourself for finishing! GOOD LUCK! (Although, after "getting to know you" through your blog, I don't think you'll need it.)

  2. Congratulations!

    You got through the exams (and what seems like must have been a hellish week) and now you're done! It sounds like you'll be really happy in Austin.

    Enjoy your new job!

  3. Wow, you were way more productive during your last final than I was during mine. To do lists? Self-reflection? Tearing up? Nice work. I didn't get to half of that until after the exam, and then after the bar and then probably a good couple hours later.... Nice work.

    And congratulations on finishing!

  4. Yeah! All done with law school. Now we will get to hear all about your adventures as a lawyer. And all about the great city of Austin. I am glad the car trip is going well. We did well with lots of juice, Gerber puffs, empty water bottles, and Momma's magazines he could rip up.

  5. WOO HOOO - it's OVER!!!!!

    You know, while I've done all of those space-out things during exams, I can't say I've ever looked around and have become nostalgic. I'm just happy for it to be over! (Well, in my case, almost - just a few more weeks!)

  6. Another lurker here since the "nightmare." I live in Austin so Welcome and Howdy! You are almost here! I think you will like it. I love Chicago too and I think you will find fun, big city things to do here, too.

  7. What a relief that must be! Congratulations! And I am SO glad JP is feeling better... and brought you cookies from Subway! What a guy!!! Have a safe drive the rest of the way here. And tell JP we have tornado warnings here too!

  8. writing to say I have been to blytheville - in fact, grew up depressingly near there - and I feel your sonic induced dismay.
    You are DONE. You are my HERO. Love on hubby and kid.

  9. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!! You're done!!! Woohoo!!!!

    I'm sure it won't totally sink in for awhile. Honestly, I don't know how you have managed to get through all life has thrown at you this year, but I am so proud of you for doing so! Can't wait for you to get here! Yeah AUSTIN!!!!

    And, yes, you are so right, that particular supply closet is AMAZING! I mean, they have purple pens AND purple highlighters. And not crappy pens and highlighters either, the very best kind like the ones I would buy for myself. It truly is glorious :-)

  10. Congratulations! One nice thing about having to leave so quickly is that at least you didn't have to dwell on your sadness. Are you going to participate in graduation ceremonies?

    Hope the rest of the trip goes smoothly.

  11. Congratulations! All told, I'll agree with everyone else that you did pretty darn well on your finals - I *fell asleep* in the middle of two of my last three in college and had none of your very valid excuses. :)

    My daughter also looooooves the Tylenol bottle... maybe I should fill it with something less potentially harmful, but well... I probably won't. :)

  12. good job on schlepping through that last exam. :) (just joking...totally think you did great!)

    also, we have an old pill bottle that I put a couple pennies in and glued the lid shut. Gavin played with that silly thing for over a year and now Cooper loves playing with it.

  13. I'm just finishing up my 2L year and am staring down the barrel of three exams, a take-home and a research paper over the next two weeks. So naturally I chose yesterday and today to discover your blog and read an entire year of it (so far) instead of studying. Sadly, the first exam (t-minus 37 hours) is closed book so I can't emulate your strategy. :(

  14. Welcome Liz! Probably not good timing to find a blog with this many archived posts, but I'm glad you're here :). Good luck on your exams!