Friday, August 26, 2011

The Summer I Learned to Spit Sunflower Seeds


It was a dark and stormy night. 

Somewhere in the world.

Watch this video
But not where I was.  I was in a room stuffed with tables, books, and overworked people.  The people were my fellow students.  The books were bar review books.  The tables, well, you know what tables are for. 

Resting your head for a nice nap.

It was 8 weeks into an intensive review of everything law school had taught me (and then some). The final hour was drawing nigh:  the Bar Exam.  This meant that at least once an hour, somebody would throw a pen at a book because they disagreed with the book’s answer.  They could articulate exactly why they disagreed and provide the law for why they disagreed with the book’s answer.  They could discuss little legal nuances for an hour with other people in the library, who were also looking for a release.  They could do so much but they could not calm down. 

I say “they” when I should really be saying “we”. 


It was a tough two months to prepare for a “mere” two days.  Friends and family members were letting loose with the F word. Not THE F word, rather, the other F word.  “You’re going to do fine.”  “You’re a smart kid, you’ll be fine.”  “When have you not done fine?”  “You parked here too long, now you have to pay a fine.”  But, we as law students had done our research.  We knew that lions before us had fallen victim to the Bar Exam.  Lions who did amazing things in the real world, that shaped our country to be what it is today, fell prey to the Bar Exam.  Nobody wanted to go through the rigors of retaking the Bar Exam; the physical and emotional stress would be much too much. 

So we did what we could.  We took the exam.  8,000 people in the Javits Center in New York City.  And now we wait until November when the results come.  I could not help but think that just outside the building, there were people who were on vacation, visiting NYC for the first time.  There were people rushing to work.  There were people who just broke up with their boyfriends or girlfriends. People who just experienced death.  The world kept on going.  No matter how I did on this exam, no matter how I would do later, the world would keep on moving.  And that was something that did not make me bitter (because nobody else knew the pain of this struggle), it just eased me through the process.   A couple nights before the bar exam, a good friend of mine said, “No matter what happens, we’re all coming out of this alive.” These few words were a powerful sentiment as he said this a few days after the shootings in Norway ended so many lives. 

Rock stacks are much better than book stacks 
The exam came and went, just as any other 24 hour cycle goes.  People even gave birth right after the exam.  My wife was waiting after the exam ended.  We packed up the car and went to the Adirondacks for a few days.   Just a few days prior, I had been surrounded by gadgets and technology.  My laptop, iPod, smartphone.  All these things I traded in to simply go camping in the woods.  Instead of gadgets in both hands, I had my wife’s hand in one, and sunflower seeds in the other.

Both were my wife’s doing. 

I agree, too many Disney pics.
But, even Mulan learned to spit.
I had no idea how to spit sunflower seeds.  My brain had been crammed with tons of information over a two-month period and I thought I could not put anything else in there.  But then I put the seeds in my mouth and all the tensions and stress went away.  When camping, chewing on sunflower seeds are an essential, you could say it is a law of the land. 

And I had a new law to learn. 

4 comments:

WisdomofQ said...

Cool post man, thanks for sharing.

Ahmad Bhatti said...

I'll keep this in mind when I go to school.

Ahmad Bhatti said...

*law school

Valerie said...

:)