2006-03-06 - 5:29 p.m.
I just looked at the NYS BAR site.
The need for an increased score to pass is intimidating, however the pass rate of students which is HIGHER than I anticipated is encouraging.
As I was thinking about KAterina and the fact she DOES SO WELL when given EXTERNAL support of structure and encouragement and assistance, it also occurred to me that I managed to get by thus far largely without those things. (Albeit JUST GETTING BY....) But I think how to have EXTERNAL SUPPORTS MAY HAVE BEEN AND IN FACT IN THE PRESENT TENSE MIGHT IN FACT BE HELPFUL!
I am wondering IF ANY MIGHT ACTUALLY BE AVAILABLE TO ME TO ASSIST WITH STUDYING??? They may be, and they may not be. AND IF NOT THEN AS ALWAYS IN THE PAST I NEED TO JUST REALLY APPLY MYSELF AND DO THE BEST I CAN ON MY OWN. I NEED TO, LIKE KATERINA, just DO MY BEST AND REALLY BECOME SELF MOTIVATED AND WORK HARD DESPITE THE FACT I DON't HAVE DAILY CHEER LEADERS. I have encouraged her to do that and she did so wonderfully last year when she practiced her math and prepared without ANY SUPPORT and tried to get into that gifted math program. LAST YEAR SHE DIDN'T GET IN. THIS YEAR SHE IS MOTIVATED TO TRY AGAIN and thankfully IT SEEMS THAT HER DAD IS ALSO ENCOUAGING HER AND VERY POSITIVE ABOUT IT.
My parents who REALLY ARE THESE wonderful people WERE NOT PERFECT. I realize their support WAS MUCH LIKE THAT OF KATERINA'S DAD. HE says he thinks its great for her to try- but he didn't make it to the informational meeting or sign her up for the test!
My parents likewise did indeed have a laize fair parenting philosophy! They supported us when we individually persued things of our interest, but my mom and DAD were never the parents who signed up to judge one debate tournament at my school and I recall the PRESSURE for me to bring a judge once AS EVERYONE DID SO... IT WAS EXPECTED and the other parents all did so! MY parents SUPPORTED IN WORDS AND PRAISE AND A POSITIVE ATTITUDE, but were NEVER HANDS ON INVOLVED.
So in discussion with Katerina and SOREN's grandmother I encouraged her to read and learn what she can SO AS TO OFFER ANY SUPPORT but that I think its not so necessary to seek out diagnosis and labeling which COULD BE HARMFUL to esteem.
(YET Likewise similar to handeling me, my parents also never sought any situations which would have labeled one of my brothers as GIFTED and would have called attention to his differences. She thought he was made fun of enough! AND IN THAT CASE I THINK IT WAS A LITERAL TRAVESTY!!! IT WAS JUST SO WRONG TO LEAVE THIS ABSOLUTELY BRILLANT KID IN A PLACE WHERE HE NEVER HAD NEED TO EVER LEARN ANY ACADEMIC SKILLS AND WAS SO SOCIALLY MALIGNED THAT HE WAS MARGINALIZED AND LITERALLY FRIENDLESS )
In retrospect I am sure MY MOTHER ALSO must have been suffering from depression! That may have colored her view and HER ABILITY to actually GIVE ALOT of Support to us kids!
This is something I think she may have no awareness of. I think it likely she STILL struggles with this. I think it likely she never will have that self awareness!
I visited my oldest brother's web site and was HAPPY to see that he wrote a wonderful entry about LENT. HE wrote that FOR LENT he was going to try to give up DEPRESSION. That is the first time I ever heard him acknowledge that he has suffered from depession. He wrote of how he attempts to do so and remain healthy. He wrote of HOW HE DOES THAT by forcing himself to get up early each day and be productive EVEN WHEN HE DOESN'T FEEL LIKE IT and how he has learned to do that by avoiding self destructive behavior like drinking etc... It was actually WONDERFUL to read his writing of his own battle with this!
It is the NEXT oldest that the rest of the family HAS AWARENESS of having struggles with mental health trouble. He has a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder.
So it was actually NICE FOR ME to read of my oldest brother's self awareness and to have the knowledge that he has presonally sought help and is generally a healthy productive happy guy. (HE had talked to me before of how he went to counseling but never about this specific issue.)
But it makes me realize that out of my five siblings, we have two clearly diagnosed with bona fide mental illnesses (OK so I haven't an ACTUAL DIAGNOIS-- but that's only BECAUSE I HAVEN'T ASKED FOR IT!) , and possibly a third (YES DEPRESSION IS A MENTAL ILLNESS), and a fourth who has self professed to "have a problem with alcohol" and I believe would definately meet standards of being labeled an alcoholic (although he manages this generally pretty well by being a WORKAHOLIC as many alcoholics and those with addictive personalities learn to do much of the time so they just AVOID all temptation by having filled busy lives). Then there is the fifth child of our family-- the one who is MOST NORMAL yet who I suspect has found assistance in life in self medication rather than traditional medical care as I suspect he too has issues (most similar to my own as oppossed to either depression or alcoholism which I don't think he has struggled with-- but he too is clearly a workaholic and I think may also have that addictive personality!)
Thinking of all my siblings started making me think of my parents and wondering about them. I recognize now that before my mother went to college to get her AA when I was in HS she slept an awful lot! She WAS SO PROUD and HAPPY WHEN SHE WAS IN SCHOOL AND ACHIEVED VERY WELL. She then got a job and I think seemed happy enough. But frankly I really don't know if she was ever very happy or not. The overwealming memory I have of my mother WAS THAT SHE WAS ALWAYS TIRED. She was always feeling tired and often not feeling well. SHE often fell asleep in her recliner in the living room and often had horrible migranes. When she was eventually diagnosed with lymphoma and received treatment it was ironically A RELIEF as she felt that FINALLY her medical problems that for years the Drs acted like were in her head WERE IDENTIFIED and by treating the CANCER she was then eventually feeling better and also freed of the migranes and overall tired feelings she suffered for years.
We all assumed the cancer must have been with her some time undiagnosed. She said she thought that must have been the source of her problems for years.
However in retrospect I think there could be OTHER reasons to . I suspect DEPRESSION which then became a problem for both my older brothers as well!
I think in retrospect that we were in fact being raised primarily by a depressed mother and a workaholic father who filled his time with being busy and productive in his successful roles at both work and in the Church. He and my mother ALSO WERE SUPPORTIVE of anything we kids were involved with, but they didn't really sign us up or encouarge extra curriculars much. THEIR SUPPORT Was in COMING to our shows or preformances, not of the type to be actively involved. They supported my oldest brother in guitar lessons, and the youngest in playing drums at school, and me on the piano lessons (for a while-- except since my mother never saw me practice she didn't want to continue to pay for it! And one bro needed braces which were a priority so they had to be paid for and my lessons ended. So even there the only one who CONTINUED was the one SELF MOTIVATED and I think that fact is likely more to do with child placement in family than anything else! So it was the TYPICAL FIRSTBORN who was SELF MOTIVATED and the rest of us therefore never continued with anything long like he did! )
But I see the pattern of we kids starting an activity and EVEN IF WE HAD A PASSION FOR IT, the activities were never really viewed as very important. My mother always said she didn't believe in PUSHING KIDS as if they have a real talent and interest in an area they will be SELF MOTIVATED and work themselves to develop it. So she continued to take the oldest to guitar lessons as HE WAS A SELF MOTIVATED practicer who played for hours each day, but stopped my piano lessons, and gymnastics which I loved and was very good at, and didn't encourage my one brother's artistic or writing talent thinking if he is talented he will do something with that himself. My parents SUPPORTED the youngest when we went to his band concert where he played drums, but then at the same time they made it seem like it wasn't such a big deal and in a way de-valued it as my brother himself dowmplayed it and came and joined us and we all took off before the rest of the concert was over and went to FRIENDLY'S for ice cream. SO YES we had great loving support-- but in this model that THE FAMILY is really CENTRAL AND SUFFICIENT. OTHER COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT was not encouraged. It was supported to an extent-- but NOT ENCOURAGED.
I also recall that because of my poor LATIN grade I was FORBIDDEN to participate in another school play. I LOVED being involved in theater and it was then banned thinking my time at this was taking away from study time (despite that while there I had older students that REALLY DID TUTOR ME and try to help me GET IT!) Even thought I LOST MY PART due to inability to recall lines in the previous production I STILL WANTED to be in the next one.THe director STILL WANTED TO GIVE ME THAT OPPORTUNITY as this next one was a musical which had more opportunity to extemporaneously improvise if I forgot the actual line that the work of Richard Brinsley Sheridan in the play SCHOOL FOR SCANDEL which I had been previously been cast in. It also seemed I had less trouble remembering SONGS than lines! AT that time I had such a passion for theater and it was then banned for me.
So thinking of how I never had anyone helping me with structuring of my time, and supporting by making me study , or really ENCOURAGING me to develop my talents and how I STILL MADE it through school and learned to study in college... made me think that Katerina will ALSO get by! But it made me realize that while she will likely do OK in life despite limitations that it MAKES SENSE to ask for assistance when needed. IT HELPS to not be afraid to acknowledge you have difficulty once you have that self awareness. AND IT SURE HELPS TO HAVE EXTERNAL STRUCTURE AND SUPPORT WHEN THAT IS WHAT ONE PERSONALLY THRIVES UNDER.
I was thinking of my DR who mentioned that I could ASK FOR SOME ACCOMADATION for the BAR EXAM. I said that I hoped that MEDICATION ALONE would be enough of a support for me to get through the exam.
But after today's discussion with her grandmother and thinking of my own kids, and recognizing that people DO NOT DEVELOP FULL POTENTIAL WHEN NOT GIVEN NEEDED SUPPORT (EVEN IF THEY GET BY) I AM THINKING THAT I SHOULD CONSIDER NOT ONLY GETTING SERIOUS AND REGISTER FOR THE BAR, but PERHAPS ALSO DO A FEW OTHER THINGS. ONE thought is that there might be some organizations out there that COULD PROVIDE A TUTOR to EVEN ADULT STUDENTS who would benefit, another thought is that it would be wise to try to TAKE THE EXAM ON A COMPUTER so it makes it easier to ORGANIZE my often disjointed writing (As then I can cut and paste which I do for all things--except these rambling UNEDITED RAW ENTRYS!)
HEll if these entrys are any indication of the lack of organization ON A WRITTEN TEST which is done off the cuff... well I would NEVER PASS THE BAR THEN!
But the BAR EXAMINERS RECOGNIZE as all do (and must due to the ADA) that sometimes people ARE CAPABLE if given accomadation to a disability. So perhaps EXTRA TIME, so when or IF I FALL ASLEEP then I can wake up and ACTUALLY FINISH THE TEST might not be such a horrible thing! When working people get to do that in the REAL WORLD! THose of us who struggle with things like I have end up doing things like I did when I ADJUSTED MY WORK SCHEDULE so I had TIME if I needed to take a nap in the middle of my drive to work rather than fall asleep at the wheel.
NOW WHILE NOT ALL PEOPLE AND PLACES IN THE WORK WORLD OR LIFE ARE SO FLEXIBLE (AS MY BOSS THAT LET ME DO THAT!!) THE BAR EXAMINERS AND MOST PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT EVEN ONE WITH A DISABILITY CAN BE CAPABLE AND TALENTED AND OFFER SOMETING OF VALUE AND DESERVE TO PRACTICE THE PROFESSION OF LAW (OR ANY OTHER PROFESSION, OR SUCCEED IN ANY OTHER DISCIPLINE OR PURSUIT) PROVIDED THAT THEY CAN MEET OBJECTIVE CRITERIA-- SUCH AS COMPLETED A JD SUCCESSFULLY or PASSING A BAR EXAM EVEN IF THEY NEED SOME ADAPTIVE CHANGE TO DO SO.
So I have to re think that and NOT FEEL BAD about the possibility of HAVING TO ASK FOR AN ACCOMADATION.
I could try SOLELY MEDICATION... However as to date I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN MYSELF ORGANIZED ENOUGH TO SIT AND STUDY I am thinking maybe I can find OTHER EXTERNAL SUPPORTS to help! Maybe I can find some groups that offer tutoring. Maybe I can talk to a friend who is ALSO re-taking the exam FOR THE FOURTH TIME and maybe we could work out some STUDY BUDDY system and some way to try to be ACCOUNTABLE AND REPORT BACK to each other to help motivate.
Maybe I can find SOMETHING MORE to assist me in this goal!
Thinking of how I don't want the kids to be shortchanged really then made me realize I ALSO CAN'T SHORTCHANGE MYSELF.
I WILL PASS THAT BAR.
I always knew I would go to law school. It took me five years to get in (OOPS excepting the admission to the CA school that first application time around. SO it took me five years TO GET INTO UB... and I KNEW THAT WAS THE WISEST CHOICE FINANCIALLY)
FIVE YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE MY GRADUATION. I THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE MY BAR AT THIS POINT.... SO I am a bit older and maybe it takes LONGER now to reach my goals.....
But it won't happen UNLESS I REALLY WORK MY BUTT OFF
ANd so I need to find the best possible way to do so and since after 5 years it hasn't happened and I DID TRY THREE TIMES WITH STUDYING ON MY OWN, I figure its time to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
I worked myself up to being OK with medication. I am also now working myself up to the idea of a diagnosis and accomadation as it just might make my goal attainable. I need to be mentally prepared for that JUST IN CASE I DO REGISTER AND STUDY AND STILL FALL ASLEEP!!
I don't think I WILL as I EXPECT THAT THE ADDERALL WILL IN FACT ENABLE ME TO TAKE THIS BAR AND BE AWAKE AND FINISH IT.
BUt I have to explore ALL OPTIONS if I REALLY WANT THIS because of the fact IT JUST MIGHT NOT BE HELPFUL. I Won't know until I try the exam again.
ANd if I continue to NOT FIND STUDYING ACHIEVABLE then maybe the idea of a diagnosis WOULD BE HELPFUL NOW if it will open up the door for OTHER EXTERNAL SUPPORTS THAT COULD HELP ME ATTAIN MY GOAL OF REALLY STUDYING FOR THIS EXAM. I REALLY TRIED IN THE PAST AND HONESTLY ALWAYS JUST FELL ASLEEP AND DIDN'T REALLY SEEM TO GET ALL THAT MUCH OUT OF MY STUDY TIME. I THINK MY SCORES CONTINUED TO GO UP A LITTLE WITH EACH EXAM AS I WAS MORE FAMILIAR AND MORE COMFORTABLE AND EACH TIME A LITTLE BETTER AT SMUGGLING CAFFINE IN....
But I think in REALITY I never REALLY increased my knowledge base much at all from my pathetic study attempts!
THe reason I have to then ALSO BE MENTALLY PREPARED FOR TAKING THE EXAM WITH AN ACCOMADATION POSSIBILITY is that I MIGHT NEED A DIAGNOSIS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOME SUPPORTS THAT MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR STUDYING. IF I HAVE A DIAGNOSIS I WOULD HAVE TO NECESSARILLY THEN ANSWER ALL THE INQUIRYS ON THE PERSONAL INFO HONESTLY AND IT WOULD THEN HAVE TO BE DISCLOSED TO THE BAR EXAMINERS.... And I am not sure if that WOULD REQUIRE ANY ACCOMADATION as it likely wouldn't REQUIRE It, but it might then be something SUGGESTED even by them! Since it was suggested by my DR. I feel like I should at least start thinking about that and considering it.
I am happy that I DID do more practice questions on my break at work. Our lunch was recently changed from 30 to 45 minutes, so that is 70 minutes a week of study time which I haven't previously had! If I can make that a routine it is a start in the right direction. (AND TO BE HONEST THEY SEEMED A BIT EASIER! LIKELY AS I WASN'T DOZING AND COULD REMEMBER THE DETAILS OF THE LONG QUESTIONS AS OPPOSSED TO MISSING MANY DETAILS AND NOT RETAINING ALL OF THEM RIGHT AFTER READING!)
I realize that BEING LIKE KATERINA I THRIVE WHEN IN THE STRUCTURED AND SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT, but am INHERENTLY NOT ORGANIZED AND STRUCTURED MYSELF so these things HAVE TO BE EXTERNALLY IMPOSED.
I Hope to have some luck in finding a way to CREATE THIS NEEDED SUPPORT FOR MYSELF in order to prepare and succeed at this exam! So I am open to considering all possibilities- even the one that never before occurred to me of diagnosis and accomadation.
I have to overcome any FEARS I HAVE and any ESTEEM ISSUES I MIGHT HAVE REGARDING THAT! IT HELPS TO THINK ABOUT THE SUCCESSES I HAVE ATTAINED AS A "LEGAL ASSISTANT"
I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT BUT FOR ME, there is ONE PERSON WHO WOULD MOST LIKELY HAVE HAD THIER LIFE LITERALLY TORN APART AS THEY WOULD HAVE LIKELY BEEN DEPORTED. I KNOW THERE IS A NATURALIZED CITIZEN I HELPED AFTER HE TRIED TO GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS TWICE ON HIS OWN UNSUCCESSFULLY. I KNOW FOR A FACT (DESPITE THE FACT THE CLIENT DIDN"T GET IT!) THAT THE DEPT OF LABOR COULD HAVE SAID NO TO A REQUEST OF AN ORGANIZATION TO HIRE IMMIGRANT LABOR AS THE EMPLOYER VIOLATED A NUMBER OF LAWS! I KNOW THEY DON't UNDERSTAND HOW MY NEGOTIATION WITH THE DEPT OF LABOR BENEFITTED THEM... BUT I DO!!!
I know for a fact THAT THIS EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN A UNIQUE BENEFIT AND THE PLACE HE WORKS IS BETTER OFF BECAUSE OF HIS BEING HIRED and they may not realize it that was BECAUSE OF MY WORK as he TOO WOULD have just been sent back to his home country HAD THEY NOT HIRED ME! (THEIR CORPORTATE COUNSEL WAS TRULY AN IDIOT)
OH YES AND I HAVE MET THAT PARTICULAR IDIOT AND A BUNCH OF OTHER LAWYERS WHO ARE JUST NOT THAT BRIGHT....
SO KNOWING ALL THAT, AND KNOWING THAT YES I TECHNICALLY HAVE A BONA FIDE DISABILITY, AND A BONA FIDE MENTAL ILLNESS (OR MAYBE TWO!!) I am coming to terms with the reality that I MIGHT REQUIRE AN ACCOMADATION IN ADDITION TO MEDICATION IN ORDER TO GET OVER THIS HURDLE AND PASS THE BAR.
IF SO then SO BE IT... and if so, Then I KNOW it will be the right thing for me to do.
Because one other thing I know-- That while I LOVE BEING A MOTHER, I was not responding to an AVOCATION to study law SOLELY SO I COULD ADD JD to the end of letters after calling solely as MOM renders USELESS
Truly EVEN IF I DIDN'T HAVE A DESIRE TO PRACTICE LAW, MY JD would STILL BE VALUABLE AS MOM!!
I DO SUSPECT that my CERTIFIED MAIL letter sent to the TRANSPORTATION DEPT will get better results than the various phone calls. AND I SUSPECT that once I get around to mailing the library a STACK OF CERTIFIED MAIL LETTERS to be sent to all the library BOARD OF TRUSTEES that I'll have a response from them on that issue as well! (Why didn't I think of that sooner when it was clear the librarian IGNORED MY E-MAILED LETTER I REQUESTED HER TO FORWARD TO THEM AND REFUSED TO GIVE ME THEIR E-MAILS??? WESTELY TOLD ME NO ONE REALLY TAKES E-MAIL AS SERIOUSLY AS POSTAL MAIL! I WAS SURPRISED IN THIS DAY AND AGE THAT IS STILL TRUE!)
I didn't want to follow the LIBRARIAN'S INSTRUCTION TO "MAIL ALL LETTERS TO THEM HERE" as I assumed she would continue to be the gatekeeper-- but if they each have to SIGN for the mail then they will each GET THEIR LETTERS FROM ME.
So all those things make me FEEL BETTER about seeking any resources and NOT BEING ASHAMED to ask and receive whatever it takes for me to be able to reach MY POTENTIAL!
I DESERVE TO WANT THAT FOR ALL OF US! MY KIDS AND MYSELF! EVERYONE DESERVES TO HAVE THEIR TALENTS AND GOALS ACTUALIZED! OR AT THE VERY LEAST EVERYONE DESERVES TO DO ALL THEY CAN TO ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS.
WE ALL HAVE TO FIRST IDENTIFY BOTH THE FEARS OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS WHICH ARE IN FACT THE LARGEST OBSTACLES IN THE ACTUALIZATION OF OUR UNIQUE POTENTIAL
FOR ME THAT REQUIRES BEING OPEN ABOUT MY LIMITATIONS AND NOT BEING AFRAID TO GET WHATEVER ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE REGARDING THOSE LIMITATIONS THAT ARE DUE TO ADHD AND/OR NARCOLEPSY.
(OH- in fact my Dr and I discussed that likely diagnosis. HE ASKED "Do you fall asleep when stressed?" and I said "YES " and recalled not only EXAMS which sleeping during could be due to either ADHD and glucose metabolism being processed poorly etc... but could ALSO be due to STRESS INDUCED SLEEP... BUT I ALSO RECALLED the many times I WOULD FALL ASLEEP when either WESTLEY or in the past MY EX would TALK TO ME WHEN THEY WERE UPSET AT NIGHT and I would just shut down and DOZE!! HOW FRUSTRATING FOR THEM. I also told my DR of how when in APPALACHIA on a school service project we went to a FIRE AND BRIMSTONE PREACHER one SUN morn to become familiar with the local culture and I FELL ASLEEP WHEN THE PREACHER Started YELLING and spewing the message I found too disturbing! Just like that I was SLEEPING in the midst of his YELLING AND RED VEIN POPPING PREACHING... and I am sure he was ENCOUARAGED by me being overcome by the SPIRIT or some such thing.... HA HA...)
Anyway... I have certainly the FOCUS to write... and even obsess when thinking of these issues. NOW I NEED TO TEND TO THE GIRLS WHO HAVE BEEN PLAYING ALL DAY and ENJOYING FUN PLAY DOUGH AND COMPUTER GAMES ETC... and have to clean up the big mess and get them all ready for dinner and bed!
BACK TO BEING ATTENTIVE AND ENGAGED IN THE MOMENT...