Keeping the Plates in the Air
One of the things that happens when you fail the bar exam is that you go back over every single excruciating detail of the test and the test preparation in your head to try to figure out "what went wrong." It could have been anything...maybe I had a bad test day (or days), maybe I didn't concentrate enough during the lectures, maybe I just didn't get it all like I thought I did. I received a detailed report of my results, so I know that it was the multiple choice questions that did me in and not the essays as I predicted it would be, but I still don't know exactly what happened. When I left the exam in July I felt relatively confident about it. Or at the very least, I didn't feel like I had failed.
I have begun to wonder if maybe I just did too much during that time. When I first started to study I remember reading a letter from the exam prep company about what the next couple of months were going to be like and about how the preparation was going to work. In the letter, they gave a few words of warning about how to do it "right." One thing they said, which I joked about all summer, was that they recommended that you do NOT try to work, plan a wedding, or train for a marathon while you prepare for the bar exam. And I didn't plan a wedding.
When I tell people this story, I always defend myself at the end by saying, "But I did everything they told me to do! I followed the schedule, I made it my top priority, and I just fit the other things in." And it's true...I did. If I can say anything about myself and what I have done in the past couple of years, it's that I'm a master juggler. I mean really...I juggled law school and three kids! I juggled law school, three kids, and cancer! Why shouldn't I be able to juggle bar prep, work, and triathlon training? And three kids? A friend who always speaks the truth said to me the other day, "Kim, I think you did too much. I know you can handle a lot, but this was one time when you should not have done all of that." And I have begun to wonder if perhaps she is right. Is that what it was? Did I divide my attention too thinly this summer?
I don't know if I will ever know exactly what happened, but I do know that this time I will do things differently. I have registered for the February 2010 bar exam and I have re-signed up for the same bar prep course that I took before. But this time I will not work at all during January and February and I will not train for any triathlons during those months. I will still have to feed my kids from time to time and probably emerge from my office for fresh air and bathroom breaks every once in awhile, but this time my main focus will be bar prep.