Turns out, I did. See? I don't even trust myself.
The source of my nervous breakdown is self inflicted. And it all just really hit me this week: WHO THE HECK THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO STUDY FOR THE CALIFORNIA BAR WHILE SHE HAD FOUR KIDS AT HOME ALL DAY???
I simply cannot ignore my children for the time required. Yes, I skated through law school, doing the minimal amount of study time required, always putting my family first, with a very close second to all things gospel and church related (because the two are really intertwined, after all) and then my community commitments came third. And I made it just fine. But still.
I am feeling completely overwhelmed by the fact that I absolutely will not do well on this test in July. I made out my calendar, and I have to cut out a week for Girl's Camp, which is RIGHT BEFORE the test. The week before the test I will be in the mountains. I'm trying to tell myself it will be fine. That somehow, time will work out, and that my brain will remember every detail of the 15 subjects I need to know.
And then I look at my calendar again, and my children's faces. I refuse to ship them out and away. I want them here with me.
I can't get the voices out of my head of three really smart guys who said they studied 8 hours a day. Or, they went away from their families for a month. Those aren't options for me. (The 8 hour a day thing SOUNDS reasonable, until you realize kids need to eat lunch and need supervision lest they set the house aflame. This is also a reminder that I absolutely do not WANT to work 8 hours a day even when I am finished. I'm aiming for the part time schedule! haha)
If Ryan were here, he could talk me down off my mental ledge. He would reassure me that he knows I can do it, that "So what if you don't pass? Take it again in February, no big deal." And he would mean it. And honestly, at this point, I'm thinking waiting until February might have been a wiser idea. The kids would be in school doing their thing.
The other part that totally, completely, 100% freaks me out right now is that I have a little voice in the back of my head saying "You went to law school online. It's not Stanford, UCLA, or Pepperdine. It's not "real" law school. They probably just gave you grades to make you feel good." I used a back door way to sit for the Bar, and while I study all over here by myself (because I never had time to use the online portions anyway), much like Abraham Lincoln did, I don't trust myself. I don't have an honest comparison of my abilities in relation to others.
Oh, well. If you see me sucking my thumb in the corner of a room, forgetting my own mother's name, or generally looking like I might burst into tears at any moment, you know the reason why. I'm totally having a nervous breakdown over how I am supposed to remember every detail of what I've learned over the last 4 years, with one subject being my very worst subject (like, so bad that I'll need to relearn it and hope that I can), and fighting the little voice in my head that says I'm going to fail, and what an expensive thing to fail at. Even if I decide to call July my "practice" test, and do it again in February, that is still a VERY expensive test and hotel and food cost that would have to come out of our already tight budget. I just can't stand the thought of that.
I need to remind myself of the following:
I passed the FYLSX the first time I took it, while studying 2L subjects and one month after Ryan got shot. Yes, I nearly threw-up and I did cry a little at the beginning with stress because I knew I wasn't prepared. But I did pass. (First Year Law Student Exam, essentially 1/3 of the Bar, required by the state of CA for non ABA accredited schools.) This should comfort me. (It doesn't.)
I passed the NCBE ethics test the first time this last fall. I was totally wigged out being in a "real" law school, seeing people much younger than me, and much more confident than me, all talking about this professor or that assignment, or how well they were doing...how their law clerking was going...and I was just sitting there making the Deathly Hollows sign out of my four allotted pencils and eraser, while wondering what Mindi and I would teach the next Friday in music class. I was calculating that I needed to be better than 70% of the people in that lecture hall. But how could I be, having never interacted with other law students? This should comfort me. (It doesn't.)
This was easier when no one knew what I was doing, and the only people I would let down if I failed was myself and Ryan. The pressure to succeed may kill me. Well, not literally. I'll likely just gain 5 pounds from stress eating.
Off to studying I go. Not that I think I know better than my bar review course or anything, but I'm going to change it up a bit so I can get through all the classes a touch faster. That may help my state of mind. Maybe.
Pass the donuts and some anti-cortisol meds, would you?