Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Long Time Coming

We don't always know (make that most times) what God has in store for us or where His path is leading us.  And that's ok.  As long as we're listening for His direction, and aren't too stubborn about taking it, we'll be fine.

As some of you may know, my path to and through law school was not exactly typical.  Never in my life did I think I wanted to be an attorney.  I know my vocation is as a wife and eventually a mother.  I never would have considered law school if it weren't for my father, who continually told me throughout my last years of college that I would make a great attorney - something about having the right type of brain for it.  And still I disagreed.  

But he persisted.  Finally, I agreed to take the LSAT, with the stipulation that if God gave me a good grade on the test, I'd APPLY to law school.  Three weeks of "studying" (read: went through the Princeton Review book once), and I sat for the LSAT.  It was a novel experience . . . being practically the only person there who literally did not care how the test results came out.  It was quite refreshing, actually, to be able to just take the test, do my best, and leave the rest up to God.  A few weeks later, I got my results . . . pretty high score.  So I begrudgingly applied to law school, this time with the stipulation that if God wanted me in law school, He was going to have to figure out how to pay for it.  Looking back, it seems pretty arrogant of me to make those stipulations.

I applied to four law schools, including Ave Maria School of Law (AMSL), and within three weeks, I'd received my acceptance into AMSL along with a full academic scholarship and a stipend for the first year's expenses.  As I read the email acceptance, I got an overwhelming sense that THIS was my next step.  So I packed my bags and moved to FL.

And I hated law school.  Occasionally, I enjoyed one or two of the classes.  But by and large, I hated it.  I don't have a high tolerance threshold for stupid people making stupid mistakes and winding up in case books. I was going to quit after the first semester.  Especially because I was miserable, bored, and lonely . . . I did all the homework in 1/3 of the time it took everyone else . . . and watched a LOT of Netflix.  

My friends and parents convinced me to at least finish out the year, and I got to work at the library my second semester.  That job is the main reason I finished law school.  That job got me through the days and weeks of boring cases and painful studying.  And I learned a lot in law school.  I'm an introvert at heart, and I've never been comfortable around groups of people or with public speaking.  The Socratic method in class and my job at the library changed that . . . for the better.  I've definitely grown as a person on this path.  And I met my husband at AMSL, so that was a HUGE bonus to law school.  :)

After law school comes the bar exam.  And for the vast majority of law school, I was adamant that I was NOT taking the exam.  Even while in law school, I knew I wasn't going to practice law, so the thought of torturing myself with months of intensive study and saddling myself with thousands more dollars of expenses just to take a test I wasn't ever going to use seemed futile.  Eventually, however, I cracked.  The pressure from practically everyone in my life to take it and really finish the law school experience got to be too much, so I broke down, signed up, studied hard, and took the ridiculously difficult exam.

Three exhausting months later, we got our results.  In Florida, you need a 136 scaled score to pass, which means they take your score on the Florida portion and your score on the Multi-State portion and average them out.  Me?  I got a 136 on Florida and a 135 on the MBE . . . scaling down to a 135.5.  I failed the exam by 1/2 a point.  Everyone I know was shocked, especially since I did so well in school.  I had the scores rechecked, but the same result.  And I was so grateful.  I took that score as a sign from God that I didn't HAVE to be a lawyer.  That I didn't HAVE to practice law or continue down that path.  And it was a giant relief.  

Now, over a year later, I'm signed up to retake the MBE.  I didn't want to at first.  At first, when everyone was asking if I was going to retake it, the very thought of opening an outline or working on multiple choice questions made me nauseous.  And I couldn't afford it.  And I wasn't planning on practicing.  And I didn't need the license.  I had completed the law school experience, thank you very much, and now it was time for everyone to back off and leave me alone.  It's insanely difficult to convince your professors and your boss that you just don't want to retake the exam.  Thankfully, my family and closest friends and my husband (then boyfriend/fiance) didn't pressure me.  For which I am eternally grateful.  It's hard to work in a law school where you're surrounded by people continually asking you why you're not retaking the exam.  I knew I was smart enough.  I just didn't want to.  And the reason I failed?  (A) I read too fast and skipped words in the questions.  (B) My heart wasn't in it.

As the months passed, however, I grew to despise the thought less and less.  I found out that I only had to retake the MBE since I passed the FL portion.  And I made the decision to retake the MBE because I wanted to . . . not because I was guilted into it.  Because I wanted to have the license in case I needed to help my husband with his practice, or my family with something.  Or who knows.  I don't know what God has in store for me now.  But my life has settled down enough now that I'm married that I can take the time to study without stressing myself out.  And I can go in with the attitude that I did with the LSAT . . . I'm going to give it my honest best, but the results are up to God.

If you made it this far, you're probably wondering what the point of this post is.  Honestly, I don't know.  Maybe a means of justifying myself to my peers.  Maybe making sure that I know and remember how God has led me this far.  Maybe reaffirming my decision to retake the MBE.  All I know for certain is that God's done a good job with my life so far, and I know He'll lead me where He wants me to go.  All I have to do is make sure I'm ready . . . so wherever He sends me next, I'll be prepared.

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