Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fuming, but really nobody's fault except my own for trying to study in my apartment with my wife and the kids screaming.

[I wrote this a few days ago but am only posting this now.] About five minutes ago, I was so angry that I could spit fire. Today is my first "crunch" day in studying for the bar. I loaded up my schedule to the brim giving myself tasks to do from 7am until 11pm -- things Barbri say I need to complete to be prepared for the bar. Since I'm one that believes in following the system to get predicted results, I almost passed out trying to keep up with the things I assigned to myself. I concluded that I couldn't finish everything, but I'll do my best and circle the tasks I didn't get to. As I get more efficient in the coming days, I'll pick up what I couldn't do today.

So my wife took the kids out to her parents all day -- this was wonderful in that she was making time for me to study and to stick to my new schedule. A few minutes before 7am, she kicked me out of bed and reminded me that I needed to get going and I did. From then until around 6:30pm, I was going full force. Then at 6:30pm, she came home and I was in the middle of my recorded lecture online.

Barbri has this funky thing that you're only allowed to listen to six make-up videos, and if you lose a connection or shut your window and listen to the same one again, that counts as if you've listened to another video, even though it's the same video your counter was already dinged for. I was listening on my broken laptop which can't be unplugged to move into another room or else it goes into hibernation mode and I lose my internet connection (and I get dinged again when I start the video back up). My wife knew I was scheduled tonight to listen to a makeup class video from 6pm - 9pm and I was under the impression that she would put the kids to bed at her parents house and watch the superbowl with them since they're all into that kind of stuff. Nope. 6:30pm she came home, and I was 1 hour into the video (I started early because I wanted to end early). I had to keep the video on pause (and I actually lost the connection costing me an extra makeup class ding) and I didn't get to return to the video until after 8:30pm when the kids finally fell asleep.

I was fuming mad, so mad that my face made angry grimaces and I couldn't control my fuming. I was so angry that my blood boiled, so much so that I am sure that I knocked at least a few months off of my life from the bodily damage I caused through the burning flames of my anger. I want to use a stronger word for flames, but I can't think of any -- plumes, flumes, fumes, whatever. Substitute it for flames in that last sentence and you'll get an idea of how angry I was. I am sure I even popped a few blood vessels in my face from being angry.

I won't go into how ironic it is that I'm able to hold back my anger even though at one point my right hand started shaking and I made a fist and let out a large breath of air that could have burned a hole in the wall eight feet across from me.

All in all, this is just one of the many experiences I had where my wife worked hard to accommodate my studying needs, but fell short which screwed me over because I lost some piece of studying that would have gotten done if she didn't interrupt me by coming home early or by some other distraction BUT WAIT! I don't fault her for this because she HAS been trying really hard to help me have time to study, and there are certain things that are simply out of her control. If she's at her parents and its getting late and the kids are screaming, she HAS TO COME HOME and if I'm there, tough luck on me.

The advice I give to other fathers taking the bar is... get as far away from your home as possible. When you are physically in your home, be 100% present, be at home, and don't think about or do any studying for the bar. If you need to study, pack up and leave for however many hours you need to study. It's not your wife's fault if you can't focus at home because she has no control over the kids, and if she's helping you out by watching them many hours a day to help you study, then she may physically not be able to go all the way to meet your study expectations.

The week before the bar, I'll be going alone to one of those cheapo hotels that have a bed, a desk, and internet access, and I'll be staying there until after the exam. It's a tough prospect to separate myself from my wife for that long, but really, I need the separation to focus and learn as much as I need to. Since my exam is at the Javits Center, I found a place right outside the city that is able to accommodate my needs.


Mister said...

I have no idea how the hell I stumbled across this blog, but I'm a father of three currently studying for the February Missouri Bar Exam. For what it's worth, I feel your pain! I went to law school in Columbia, Missouri and graduated this past December. The problem I faced was that they only offered the Barbri course in St. Louis or Kansas City during this time of year (or I could pay that additional $650.00 for the iPod lectures). Needless to say, I've been stuck in St. Louis staying with family for the past 5/6 weeks trying to watch the lectures at class and get some studying in at the local public library.

I don't know about you, but for me, going to law school with kids (and while working) meant that my best study time was at night after everybody else went to bed. I had to create a routine/study habit that worked with my crazy schedule as a law student/father. During law school, I never sat up at the law school all day and just studied for my classes. I had to laugh when Barbri started because they emphasized that we should maintain our same study habits for the bar exam that got us through law school. Well, sitting in a public library listening to old people pass gas and crab at each other while children run around screaming in the background and teenagers talk loudly with one another was not the environment that got me through law school. Like you, I have no option of going home and studying because there I face my own children screaming and yelling in the background while I try and study for this God awful exam. Anyway, during this stressful time it is good to know that I'm not the only father out there trying to get through this Barbri course and a bar examination. I can only imagine what it's like for most the students in my Barbri course who go home from a lecture to study at a quiet empty house for the rest of the day. Thanks for posting this blog. I'm off to finish this terrible Trusts lecture that is making no sense to me at all. I don't know about you, but my mind is filled to the brim and I don't think I have the mental capacity to retain anything else at this point. Best of luck on the bar exam!


Zoe Strickman said...

Hey Matt. I completely understand and empathize with what you're feeling. I wasn't married when I was in law school (I likely would NOT have passed my exams or the bar if I were because I tend to offload blame and responsibility and my wife would have taken the brunt of it because I'm just that kind of bad person.) While I totally agree with regard to the library (after a few tries, I WON'T GO NEAR THAT PLACE EVER AGAIN), I settled on Starbucks because of the friendly atmosphere, free coffee refills with the card, and slow, but existent internet access with Boingo. The first time around I had an empty house to study in, but I usually studied in the library at school. Now living in a different state, this is not a possibility. Kick butt and keep in touch!