Sunday, June 19, 2005

"Dude, they're nihilists."

I've been feeling a little nihilistic about the bar exam lately. Like it doesn't matter how smart or stupid I am, or how much or little I study, I'm going to fail this exam. I don't want to turn this into the blog of despair, so that's why I didn't blog all day yesterday, when I sat around paralyzed by how behind I am and yet, still found someway to avoid work nearly all day.

So, I'm going to break this down once, partly because I think I have a valid point, and then leave it alone. I feel this way about the bar exam, becaue its exactly what law school taught me about the results of my hard work - a large portion of the time, they will be completely arbitrary. Let's take an example (this will also be the last time I ever disclose my grades, since I usually hate that, but it works well here). Last semester I took Antitrust Law and Sales/Secured Transactions. I loved antitrust; I thought the material was interesting, I read every single page that was assigned and took copious margin notes whittling down the facts and synthesizing the cases so I could really understand the rule of law (there are no brightline laws in antitrust), and my outline kicked ass. I know with honesty that I knew enough to get one of the highest grades in the class, so what did I get? B. Not a B+, but a B.

Okay, so I took S/ST. I skipped at least a third of the classes (it was a 9am), I skimmed the cases if I read at all, since he only called on each person once a semester, and the material was so boring I wanted to die. I hated contracts my first year, and this was no better. I barely studied, didn't make an outline, and didn't do a single one of the hundreds of "problems" that were in the book. And that, apparently, adds up to "A" work. (My school doesn't give out A+, fyi, so an A's the ceiling). Well good for me, if I actually knew anything about sales or secured transactions.

Pretty much every single class I've taken in law school has been exactly like this. I don't think I've ever checked my grades where, for better or worse, my reaction wasn't "Huh?"

Just to really bring this home, I had an internship from May 2003-May 2004 with a really great organization. I really respect the work they do, and the professor who brought me into it. I worked for that entire year writing what amounted to a thesis (~85 pages) on a real-world topic, so that the big-guns could use it for consulting work. I worked in a group of 10 people who each had a different topic but for the same client. I worked my ass off on that thing, doing more research when needed, editing, reoganizing, whatever they needed to be done; not to mention letting my classes slide, staying up all night, and generally stressing out to my limit, because I was also waiting tables during this year, as well. But the real-world situation changed so much over that year, that my paper became completely irrelevant. Every single person in my group worked as hard as I did over that year, but to this day, mine is the only paper that hasn't been published, just because I happened to work on this particular topic. I worried that it was my research skills, so I went to the head honcho and said I would understand if he felt that way, but maybe he should tell me straight-out because he's one of my references. He assured me that had nothing to do with it, and that I just happened to be unlucky.

So, you can see how law school might have turned me in a nihilistic fool. I think the fates have been telling me for years that law school was not the right path for me, as if I didn't know, and the bar exam will just be the final straw, no matter how much I study for it. Maybe that explains to you why I'm so sure I'll fail, no matter how much I may know about any particular subject.

But, like everything else this past three years, I will put this behind me and continue to study my ass off, even though someone in the back of my head is yelling, "don't bother!"

And that's the end of my rant for today. I happen to like posting funny stories and random observations in this blog more than this ridiculous stuff, so hopefully we'll be back to normal tomorrow.


At 4:58 PM, June 19, 2005, Blogger Roonie said...

You just summed up my entire neuroses. That is why I believe that it's already set for me whether or not I'm going to pass or fail. My hard work in law school was FUTILE. Completely. I am in the same boat as you, except I probably did worse first year than you did (but I guess I should look on the bright side - I squeaked by and passed a little below the middle of the class). But I find that the semesters that I care LESS are the ones in which I do THE BEST. How is that POSSIBLE? I had four classes this past semester, for instance. I didn't do work for them until April. I'm going to be on the Dean's List this semester. WTF? I worked my ASS off first year. COMPLETELY. I have never worked harder except right now. What'd that do for me? Nothing. Didn't write onto anything, didn't earn any scholarships, didn't get a summer associateship, nothing. So I am in your same boat. My only consolation is that other people from my school who weren't rabid smart passed the bar in their respective states. The girl who had the LOWEST GPA in her graduating class in 2004 passed the NY bar on the first try. So, when that little demon in the back of your head echoes the sentiments of my little demon, I try to resurrect the little angel in the back of my head from my high school and undergrad days who tells the little demon, "Fuck off, asshole! We are smart and even if we're down...well, we're not out yet!" I'm really not that positive, but it's the only thing I have to keep me in this game. Sometimes I really just want to close the books and say "Fuck it." But the little angel tells me that at one point I knew I was competent. And I only have to prove my competency for three days at the end of July. As long as the bar examiners are fooled, I don't care.

At 1:17 AM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous shell said...

That's right... Think of that little angel...

If the angel doesn't appear, think about the little devil... That's right... The little devil that wants to kick some badass.

At 2:43 AM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Snubligent said...

I was going to comment. But it got too long, and too off topic... so I posted it on my blog. I'm curious to know your opinions on it. Especially how you feel about second and third year courses relative to 1L classes.

At 4:10 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger stag said...

I would think the Bar would be a little more objective than LS classes and that you would pass if you really milked the prep class and did everything they suggested. Of course, I don't know much about the bar or LS classes at this point, but I have taken a good number of standardized tests (i.e. CPA, LSAT, GMAT), all with review courses and was very happy with my results. I did every problem assigned in every review class. I was engrossed in that shit, especially the CPA. It has a first time pass rate of 11%, and I passed the first time. Keep up the practicing!


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