Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A week ago, I almost wrote an entry on law school and how it had cured me of my pride. How every other student in my class had traveled extensively, had great careers and multiple post-graduate degrees, and were more worldly and well-spoken than I could hope to be if I lived 3 lifetimes. And how after spending my life at the top of my class, being at the bottom gave me much needed perspective and humility.

This week when I found out that I failed the bar exam, I realized that law school had not humbled me a bit.

I know this because I opened my mailbox on Monday with as much hubris as I've ever had, fully expecting the letter to begin with 'congratulations,' and not, 'we regret to inform you.' Even after spending three years at a school full of people who are smarter, more talented, and harder workers than I will ever be, I still was stuck up enough to assume I would be one of those who passed the test.

Because most people do pass. This year there was an exceptionally low pass-rate, and it was still something up near 70%. And also, because I studied. Really, really studied hard. I have never tried so hard at something and then failed so utterly.

When I called my exam prep school yesterday to ask what I should do next, the woman I spoke with looked up my file and said, 'Oh. Your practice essays were well within the average - I wonder what happened?'

Yeah, lady, you and me both.

And I wasn't even close to squeaking by, either. If you score within a certain margin and still fail, the bar association lets you appeal the decision. I wasn't even near the appealable range. My scores were so low, it would be almost funny, if it weren't so heartbreaking. I mean, I really tanked.

And so now I start all over again. I'm going to give myself until Monday to nurse my ego and overcome my denial, and then it's back to outlining and flashcards and essays until the next exam at the end of February. Oh, it makes me sick just thinking about it - it was all supposed to be OVER when I opened that letter, not about to begin again.

But mostly I am dreading it because now I am truly humbled. And while my ego may not have helped me pass the exam, it certainly kept me going while I studied over the summer. Every time I'd run out of steam, I'd think, 'All you have to do is keep going. Of course you will pass if you just put in the time and give it 100%.'

And then even after giving that 100%, I came up way short.

So what am I supposed to say to myself when I get worn out and run down while studying this time around?

Oh, I'm sure there's a lesson in this. But I'm still too freshly stung to see it.

Love, J

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