Oct. 9th, 2016 12:03 pm
alee_grrl: Image of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada holding her glasses and looking pensive. (dwp think)
As of Friday, October 8th, I am officially licensed to practice law in the state of Vermont. \o/

I retook the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam--basically the professional ethics exam) in August. Almost all states require this exam in addition to the bar, though thankfully this exam is much less strenuous. I was notified last month that my results had been passing and that the character and fitness board had approved my application (they're the lovely folks who review all that detailed background info provided during the bar exam application process), and that I was accepted for admittance to the Vermont bar. I then had 90 days to complete the licensing paperwork, pay the appropriate fees, and take the required oath. I was able to get the clerk of the Supreme Court to administer the Oath on Thursday (and get my questions about the licensing paperwork answered), and dropped off my completed paperwork and check with the licensing office. Got my official license yesterday. So I can now legally practice law in Vermont! I'll have to complete the various required CLEs (continuing legal education) and Mentorship requirements (40 hours of various supervised activities with an established member of the bar who has signed up to be a mentor), but I have two years to complete those requirements.

Not sure what my next steps are going to be, but I am considering opening a small solo practice focusing on disability law (and maybe some estate planning and elder law). As stressful as opening my own practice would be, it would also give me a flexibility of hours that I might not get working for someone else. But I have to get around my rather large insecurities and fears to get it going. I felt a bit better after running into a friend and fellow Vermont Law alum who is opening her own practice (hers will be focused on Food and Ag law). She brilliantly pointed out that we are all just making it up as we go and none of us really feel like we know what we're doing, even those who have been out in the field for a while can feel that way. So we shall see.
alee_grrl: Dread Pirate Roberts relaxing in satisfaction (Dread Pirate)
I finally got my bar exam results in the mail today. After finally convincing myself to open the terrifying envelope, I managed to read with only slightly shaking hands one of the most satisfying and happy making sentences ever "On behalf of the Board of Bar Examiners, I am pleased to inform you that you passed the Vermont bar exam that was administered in February of 2016."

I still have a few things I need to do before I can be licensed (a clerkship, retake the ethics exam), but this was the hardest of the steps needed to become a licensed attorney. So whew. I'm just gonna finish drying my tears of joy and sit and bask in the glow of accomplishment. I'd go out and celebrate but I don't have the energy. This was an antibiotic increase week, which means my spoons are pretty low. But hot damn, I passed!

This wonderful song by the Doubleclicks (and if you haven't heard of this adorable geeky duo then you absolutely should go check them out, they're great fun) sums up my feelings on the matter perfectly:

alee_grrl: From Fantasia: Demon mountain from Night on Bald Mountain (bald mountain)
I sat for the Vermont Bar on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was every bit as grueling and exhausting as I expected, but I was able to manage my anxiety loads better this go round. While it is impossible to come out of the exam feeling that you passed, I do at least feel that I did my very best. I have a feeling that if I do not pass it will be by a slim margin.

Wednesday night I was so exhausted I actually had trouble getting to sleep. I have been resting and relaxing the past few days. Heck I didn't even get out of my pajamas yesterday. Today I got dressed, but that was as ambitious as it got. :) Tomorrow I'll need to actually leave the house and do grocery shopping and such. But for now I'm just chilling. I'm tremendously glad to be done with the exam. Will probably take a few weeks to rest and relax, and then I'll start working on sorting out a clerkship (a requirement to be licensed as an attorney here in Vermont) and trying to figure out what next.
alee_grrl: Rupert Giles looking up from reading a book.  Text: bookish (giles)
The past few months have gone relatively well. My main focus at the moment is diligently studying for the upcoming Vermont Bar exam, a two day exam that will take place at the end of this month. For the past few weeks I've managed to study between four and seven hours (with five being the general average) for six days a week. I take Sundays off to veg a bit. Unlike the last time I went through this process I am feeling far less overwhelmed and my anxiety is largely manageable.

It helps that I am working at my own pace and was able to start the process earlier than I did the last go round. It also helps that I am far more aware of what works well for me and what doesn't, and able to adjust my study plans accordingly. Plus I'm generally in a better place of health than I was several years ago when I was preparing for the Virginia exam. So all very good things.

It has meant that I have not been able to be all that social online or off as I tend to have very little in the way of spoons or brain power at the end of the day. But I have been trying to keep up with all my lovely friends here, even if I'm not able to comment as much as I'd like.

I am very much looking forward to being done with this process. I have a stack of books that I'm eager to dive into (including "Karen Memory" by Elizabeth Bear, "Under the Mink" by Lisa E. Davis, "Three Parts Dead" by Max Gladstone, and "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik). I'd also like to finally get around to finishing "The Martian," which I have enjoyed so far. But for a few weeks more I will continue to imprint as much law on my memory as possible (I rather feel like legal theories are ready to start dribbling out my ears at this point), and do lots of practice questions in prep for the exam. Much love to all.
alee_grrl: Clint Barton holding his bow and looking down to the left, word bubble says "Aw coffee no" (clint)
Another doctor's appointment that is, am one step closer to surgery. Icon choice unrelated to contents of post, I just really like this icon. :) CW: discussions of gynecological stuff )

As an added bonus I got to spend the whole day with my sister since she took me to the doctor this morning, and then hung out with me until she had to pick her husband up from the airport (they live about an hour away, so driving home and then coming back made absolutely no sense). So we had fun hanging out.

In less fun news my bar review materials have arrived. So I can start my studying. It is a necessary evil, but...yuck. I'm doing my best to think about the things I need to do (studying, house cleaning, laying in supplies for post-op recovery) in bite-sized chunks so as not to get too massively overwhelmed. But for the rest of the evening I'm going to relax and read fan-fic as today used up quite a few spoons.
alee_grrl: sad looking kitten with head on cloth (sad kitty)
Well f*ck. I do not want to go through that process again.

Sigh. No decisions to be made for a few days. Must recover from the OMG so disappoint first.
alee_grrl: Ellie and her adventure book (Up) (adventure book)
I survived the marathon exam and have made it home safe and sound. Have no idea how I did, but think I did okay. Won't know if I passed til late April, but at this point I am going to do my best not to worry about it. I survived the test. I did not faint, throw up, or beat anyone to death with my cane (for the most part people were generally polite and ensconced in their own heads and worries). There was no drama (stories often abound about drama at the exam), no power outages, and the very pregnant lady sitting not too far from me did not go into labor (another thing that has happened during past exams). The hotel I stayed at was quiet, the bed was comfortable, and the water consistently hot. I took nicely scented hot baths three nights in a row, which was lovely. I am utterly exhausted, slightly achy and still a bit nauseous from nerves and sinuses. I am happy to be home. Thankfully I have little to do for the next few days. I start work on Monday, but have until then to rest and relax.

Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes these past few months. Much love to you all.
alee_grrl: From Fantasia: Demon mountain from Night on Bald Mountain (bald mountain)
Poetry, because my brain is itching to do something besides panic. I'm driving down to Norfolk on Monday. The essay/short answer portion of test is on Tuesday, and multiple Choice sections on Wednesday. I'll return home on Thursday.

Over at [community profile] poetree there has been some fabulous posts this week on exploring politics through poetry, including [personal profile] raze's wonderful exploration of jazz poetry and Langston Hughes. You might say that this poem was inspired by that post and jazz poetry.

This is a little rough in spots, and I'm not sure about the fourth and fifth stanzas.Poem below the cut. )
alee_grrl: Dr. Bruce Banner wondering if you are serious.  Text reads "srsly" (srsly)
I haven't felt so good the past few days. May be coming down with something. It's not a herx as I haven't increased my antibiotics anytime recently. Possibly a cold or cold-like virus. Possibly my body reacting to the barometric pressure of the storm. All I know is that I hurt today. Tired, achy, blech.

Damnit universe--a week and a half prior to the exam is not the time to get sick. Sigh.

Will take today off instead of Sunday, which was my planned day off. And if need be re-adjust my plans for the rest of my studies. It's really hard not to feel guilty for needing to take some time off of studying, but as I tell others: resting is not doing nothing, it's giving your body time to heal. Why is it so much harder to listen to your own advice?

Mantras for the next few weeks:
  • My worth and value is not impacted by this test.
  • Despite having come a long way in treatment I am still very sick and not able bodied.
  • I have already been offered a job, and that job does not hinge on me passing the bar exam.
  • Many famous people had to take the bar exam multiple times
  • Resting now will improve my chances of retaining information later

Suggestions for fluffy, fun movies or tv shows are welcome. Not sure what I'm in the mood for other than curling up in my pjs.
alee_grrl: A color illustration of me listening to music and smiling. (music)
In movies storytellers are able to indicate a long period of intense, often boring, overwhelming amounts of preparation and work into a musical montage, giving a hint of time and effort but focusing on inspiration. In reality two months of hard intense work is still two very long months. But, music is still inspirational and can help carry us through that long hard slog. My study soundtrack is huge as I own a rather large amount of music. But as a break from studying I thought I would do a quick top fifteen. You can listen to the mix here. Links below are to youtube videos if you prefer that form of playback. :) full list below the cut. )
alee_grrl: From Fantasia: Demon mountain from Night on Bald Mountain (bald mountain)
Some tasks are overwhelmingly daunting and it can be hard to figure out how to manage time and minimize anxiety with these sorts of tasks. Tasks become daunting for many reasons. They may have been explained in a way that sets them out as insurmountable (e.g. final exams), it may have been a task you've done before but had negative experience with (e.g. doctors visits or other types of appointments, socializing), chronic illness and lack of reserves may make the task more difficult or impossible (for instance opening a jar of pickles is daunting because my hands usually hurt too much to get a good grip and I lack the upper body strength I once had). It may be a mix of all these factors, or something else entirely. Knowing how big a task is and how much energy it will take makes the task that much more daunting. It can get to a point where all you want to do is lay down and give up. You end up thinking "the task is impossible...why should I even try...I'm just going to fail." This saps precious time and energy and can lead to a very viscous cycle.

This sort of anxiety cyclone is something that has occurred pretty regularly throughout my life and law school experience. Prepping for the bar exam is simply proving to be a more intense storm than others that I have weathered. It is made to be a big deal from the time you start law school. Seriously, the administration spends a lot of time scaring the shit out of you in regards to the bar exam from the time you start orientation to the time you graduate. By the time you graduate it has taken on such a monstrous proportion that it might as well Mount Everest. There is a long list of what might knowledge be tested and therefore need reviewed (or learned in some cases), and a fairly short time frame. It is the test that decides whether you get to practice law or not, and while it can be taken as many times as needed, it is a very costly test. So no one wants to have to retake that sucker.

While I am tempted to sit and bemoan the impossibility of it all (and have done a few times), I mostly have been trying to apply the coping tools I already have in my skill set. Checklists and tally sheets to keep track of what lecture series I have finished and how many practice essays or practice multiple choice sessions I have completed for each topic. I found that a handwritten/printed version of this was more helpful than the online checklist the review program, mainly because I could reorder a handwritten version in a way that best suited me. When I find myself spending more time thinking about strategy and what I need to be doing or have done than reading or listening to lectures, I implement breathing strategies because focusing on my breath brings me back to the present and helps me refocus on what is in front of me. This can happen a lot and be very frustrating. Focusing on deep breathing also helps calm my anxiety a little.

I try to remember to take each day, each task as a time. I try to take some time for me each day as well. I am currently reminding myself that if I didn't do so well on a practice session, it doesn't mean I will do poorly on the exam. I just need to learn from the mistakes made in each practice session. I am also reminding myself that I have a job waiting for me at the end of all this and said job does not hinge on me passing the bar exam. But to tell the truth all that logic isn't very convincing when you are feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. It does distracts the demons of doubt somewhat though.
alee_grrl: Candle burning next to mirror in a window sill with snow seen through the window (Winter candle)
TW: travel stress and vague mentions of health issues )

tl;dr version--Travel was exhausting and crazy, and airlines kind of suck. My visit with Lyme doc went well and he's happy with my progress. So forward we shall go. My Vermont family is awesome and I loved getting to spend some time with them. The whole trip used up way more spoons than I had expected.

I'm scheduled to start the bar prep course today and I do not want to get behind, so I'm going to tackle what I can today. I may not be online a whole lot in the interim (bar prep is a full time job in many ways). But I am thinking of all my amazing friends here, wishing you well, and missing you. <3


alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)

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