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Wednesday, November 9, 2011


We've all heard of "the Bar". That phrase can be taken literally or for what it really means. After all, they are one and the same. For the few who don't know, "the Bar" is short for the passage of a camel through the needle....Ok let me get serious. Legally defined, it is the State Board Examination all law school graduates must take in order to practice law in the United States. It differs state to state. Some call it "lawyer hazing". I didn't... so don't quote me. As you may have heard, it is the hardest exam you can ever imagine. Its the final door to "Esquire" and its the pat on the back every law school graduate needs to be able to say, "yep, now that's done, what's up life?"

Kind of like the marrying of a judge's gavel and its base.

This brings me to the literal meaning. "The Bar" aka the fence aka the block aka the pole= basically, all things hard to scale. I kid you not. These terms are synonyms of the phrase. If you doubt me, try it- design a white MS Word page with "the bar", then right-click it and select synonyms. See? Its literal meaning lends meaning to its legal definition.

All in all, this is an exam all law students dread. As a matter of fact, many law students will most likely choose an extra year in school over taking this exam if they had the choice (and you've heard how tortious law school is). Literally, you have two months to train for a two-day exam that consists of 10 essay questions using a mere 25 mins for each question, a performance test that requires you to perform a realistically 2-days-of-work task in 75 mins and 200 multiple choice questions spending about a meager minute and a half on each question. This exam is more than about how intelligent you are. More so, its about one's ability to endure, persevere and function efficiently under pressure while maintaining sanity.

I lent my 2011 summer to 'the Bar'. I toiled day and night. My day started at 7 am and ended at 11pm. Everyday I questioned my reasons for the brain rape. At a point, I felt like my brain could not contain any more. Sometimes I felt like if I moved my head around too much, it will rupture and spill out. Or that I could vomit words. I went to bed defining "Rep Ipsa Loquitor", dreamt about the difference between specific and general intent crimes and woke up reciting the powers reserved exclusively to Congress. Yes, I had it bad. I prayed and I kept faith. I knew I couldn't do it alone. Faith? check. Praying family? check. Supportive friends? check? an awesome bar-prep course? check. Strict schedule? check. Motivation? check. consistency? check.

On July 26, I was in zone and ready to go. And I was doing just fine. Until I got to essay question 5. I swear, God has to have written the answer to that question for me. I wasn't even sure the subject that was being tested. Needless to say, I fantasized of the possibility of its impact on my fate for a few weeks. I couldn't even discuss it with my fellow bar takers for fear of increasing their fear. or mine. or both. That was the rule. Sealed lips. I worried. Until I came to the difficult realization that one more day of worry would render me indefinitely insane. Seriously. Suicide would've been continuously fretting knowing the results did not come out till November 4 at 4.30pm. Talk about self-inflicted cruel and inhuman treatment. There's even an argument that it rises to the level of torture.

Every now and then, people asked "are your results out?". Non bar-takers don't know this but bar takers don't want to talk about the bar. When its done, we just want to relax, breathe and attempt to move on. Notice I said "attempt". Until we tell you about it, talk about everything but. We don't want countdowns. We don't want "I know you smashed it" (unless we ask) because the truth is this- even if you think you know we smashed it, you weren't in that hall with us when we weren't sure if the words dancing on paper meant what they seemed to mean or were a coy distraction by the bar examiners.

In the same way, everyone around me seemed to be convinced I passed. Except me. 3 weeks before the results came out, I had a dream I passed but I didn't tell anyone because as a kid, I was made to believe that sharing dreams eradicated their chances of coming to pass. So I hoped by not telling anyone, I increased my chances of passing. So...I kept the unspoken rule of bar takers...lay low just before the results come out...don't publicly countdown...just keep your mouth shut especially on social media. If you draw attention to yourself, and suddenly go quiet after the results come out, negative assumptions will flow. So...I discussed it only with close family and friends. and I kept faith. I prayed. I fasted. I kept more faith.

Fast forward Nov. 4. I had been in Dubai that week for a mini-family vacation. The vacay seemed like a faith vacation. Like a pre-celebration. I prayed my results would justify it. Turns out results were due an hour prior to my return flight to the U.S. This meant that I could either buy wi-fi at the airport and check the results at the gate just before I boarded, wait till I got to my layover in Paris or just wait till I got home. I decided I couldn't wait- so I took the first option. Fortunately, wi-fi was free.

The results were listed online according to each applicant's four character exam number. Scrolling down the numbers probably took 2 seconds but felt like 2 hours. When I finally saw and recognized my exam number, it was decorated with a very pleasant word:

I screamed. Didn't care that I was in the airport. Then crosschecked to make sure like 5 times. Happiness. It was over.  Thank you God. Thank you supportive family and friends.

Its done.


anonymous said...

Ral,whoever defined greatness had u in mind. u are highly favored my dear and there are more and more to come. I am SO proud of u and i mean it literally. I've been tell pple about how u scaled this exam. Some rejoiced with me, some hated silently but who cares. so I'm here once again to scream CONGRATULATION to u. I love and stay blessed.
P.S: where the party at???

Princess R said...

Aww Thank you!!!! Its people like you who helped me get through it. The party is where you host it. haha! Hugs!

Dae said...

YOU ROCK lady!!!! So proud:)

Princess R said...

Thanks hun! :)

Adannaya said...

"My faith matured". I love that last bit. Finding your blog has been a blessing. I'm inspired to be get up, live, and become more. Thanks again and even though this is coming late, congrats!

Princess R said...

Thank you so much Ak! God bless!