Friday, July 10, 2009

The MBE and Mind Games

Yesterday, along with approximately 30,000 other people nationwide (according to BarBri), I took the practice MBE. This is 200 multiple choice question, which we do in two 3-hour sessions. It is grueling, exhausting, and meant to simulate our actual MBE test day. By about question 35, I was thinking “This is about enough questions. If we could stop here, that would good.” By 50 questions my eyes were getting tired and English no longer felt like my first (and only) language. I took a quick bathroom break to see if the words would begin to make sense again. By question 75, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel (a train?), but was slightly behind timewise and had to speed up. By question 85, I was pretty sure I would finish right on time, but my sense of “knowing” vs “totally guessing” was now overpowered by the latter impression.

Lunch was a very much needed break. We all were feeling beat up and unsure of how we were doing. Good. Normal. We’ve been told, for the bar exam, we want to be sheep. Follow the pack. Do what everyone else does. Don’t draw attention to your answer (especially essay and performance exam answers). OK. (This, by the way, goes against everything every good teacher has ever taught me. Thank you, Mr. Getsinger, my 9th grade History teacher, who first warned in very plain language against the dangers of going through life like sheep.)

The second set of questions was much the same, with the sense of relief nearly approaching exhilaration by question 175 because I’d almost made it through, and was exactly on time. At the end, I was brain-dead and mostly just wanted to go drink.

A drink, or four, with a friend would have been awesome!

Instead I went to work.

Since it was impractical to go drinking, it seemed better to get paid than to sit in what, by that time of day, would be terrible traffic. Once at work, I was walking around in a stupor and I suddenly experienced a sense of what I’d later categorize as my life flashing before my eyes. OK, not before my eyes really….it was all inside my head, of course. It wasn’t even my whole life – just random bits. It started with a high school friend of mine and me singing “Sweet Transvestite” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show as a myriad of devoutly religious and patriotic little old ladies insisted on helping us across the street at a leadership camp. Then there were snippets of other events – my best friend in high school not talking to me because I’d started dating her barely ex-boyfriend (yes, was before I became enlightened), Wife’s back surgery, the birth of my son….about that point I became aware of what was happening, thus stopping the flow. It occurred to me that it was probably not good that my life was flashing before my eyes...doesn't that usually precede death? I rationalized that it was just my anxiety level coupled with exhaustion. was very strange. There was no sensible reason for these unrelated images to have suddenly popped into my head.

Or was there? Even though it was only a practice exam, in some ways, it was a very intense day. It was a gauge of where I am and how close it is to where I need to be in two more weeks. It was mentally exhausting. So, my defenses were down…and now that I am writing these words, I see these events are connected:
They were all things that scared the hell out of me.

They were all frightening on different levels, for very different reasons, but traumatic, just the same.

I know the little old ladies don’t sound frightening, and I don’t think of the leadership camp as scary, but I think being enmeshed for a week with a lot of very religious, conservative people freaked me out. It freaks me out thinking about it right now.

Wow...the mind is an amazing place. It brought together for me these random times in my life that I was frightened on some level, and I’d made it through. That’s pretty cool, if you think about it. It's as if my mind is saying: I can do this. I have skills.

I found out this morning my scores on the MBE were right at the average, as were my essay scores from last week. I’m right where everyone else is….and since most of us pass…..this is a good place to be. I will study my ass off for the next two weeks, and be in great shape come July 28th and 29th.


Butterflyfish said...

My essay was way below average. Something about writing about issues that didn't exist and missing the ones that did. But my MBE was ok, so I am holding it together. Barely.

Dakota said...

Butterflyfish - It's all about these next two weeks. We'll pull it all together, remember it in the proper order at the proper time and in August, it can, and likely will, all disappear.

We did 6 essays and a performance test one day. One of the essays was so hard that the high score was a 38. Now, who thinks that is funny?

It will be fine, it will be fine, it will be fine....

Lynilu said...

Dakota, you are bi-lingual. You now speak Legalese. That's a very good second language for lawyers!