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2004-01-29 - 1:49 p.m.

Here's a copy of an entry into my family's YAHOO GROUP web page that I wrote last September!( With just a few edits to change names to the fake psudonames!!) I don't know if I ever told the VERY long story which follows on this site before. If so sorry for being redundant, if not here it all is as at least I for one find it amusing. Maybe the woes of the power of schools can understood by others too.

Oh- but before the Sept post, this is what made me think of this old experience yet again:

Westley JUST got his passing grade the week before last for a Qualifying exam toward his pHd that he took in OCTOBER! Amazing how long it took to grade.... Anyway- here's the old posting:

FYI IF anyone does want to go to the friendster site to join the

network of my brother and I you can indicate that msafireva@hotmail

invited you in order to find our network most easily.

I am having fun using it to post info about

a book club I have started. So far my friend and old college

roommate Heidi and another college friend and Westley and I have a

core of four people. We are currently reading The DaVinci Code which

is compelling. Westley went to VA to take care of things there and

took it with him as he started it and got hooked on it. He intended

to be back before our book club meets- with ample time for me to

finish it as I also started it! (I read only the first few chapters

and then shelved it in an attempt at being disciplined in trying to

finish LAST months book club pick first and Sophie's World which I

am almost done with. I have a habit of reading too many books at

once and jumping from one to another!) Then after Westley left I

realized he packed up LAST months book too as he thought I had read

that. So I think I'll be heading for the bookstore with the kids

next week as the library has a long wait list for the book I need!

At least its a good book. Now if I were smart I wouldn't have

written all this and could then pass it on at Christmas time to

someone! That would justify having got two... if one is an intended

gift! Hmmmm .... which unsuspecting Blake won't check the Blake club

for months until AFTER Christmas? (Maybe John? Shhh.. don't tell

him what he's getting!)

I did come on here this morning as in thinking of possible books to

suggest for my book club for NOV I found an interesting site called

IMAGE. Its an arts journal which highlights works that grapple with

Faith. It seems to be decent (though I haven't yet read much of it)

I linked there 100 best books of the century it in the links section

of this club. Since my all time favorites were there I think its a

worthwhile list!

Oh- back to the point of why we now don't expect Westley to even be

back in NY by our book club meeting. Upon arriving in VA a few days

ago he discovered all out belongings in the basement up on pallats.

The builder apparently took great care in raising it all to dry out--

- however didn't have the foresight or time to do that BEFORE the

big hurricane storm came raging by. Apparently we were not unscathed

as in addition to having to sort through and clean the moldy wet

items in the basement, Westley will also be busy in the coming weeks

cleaning up more than a few trees that fell. The diappointing thing

for me is that all my books were in that basement. The builder said

he in hindsight he should have had us clear the basement too. He's

a good guy though and actually offered to put the damage claims

through his insurance company rather than having to put it on ours

as we actually have to approach the insurance comany ALREADY to

inquire about increasing coverage because we are doing more of a

project than we initially intended. We planned on only redoing the

roof and the upstairs and thought we were going to nix the actual

expansion, but we are happy we are now going forward with that as

well. We might not bother to make and claims at all- we have to see

what state the furniture in the basement is in. It turns out that

the clothing is washing out OK. And to be honest I don't think I'll

really miss all those law textbooks! I already tried to E-Bay them

and had NO bidders! There is not much monetary value in those

anyway, and they are the ones that got soaked and ruined. The ones

of value to me are here in NY. My notes were all destroyed, but I

figure any potentially useful networking info I have there will not

even be that helpful by the time I am ready to look for work anyway.

In my estimate people's contact info would be the only thing of any

potential value from all those reams of law school notes I

periodically weed through and toss. This just prompted me to get

rid of all that excess clutter! The only thing I hope is not

destroyed is the folder from my internship at the Board of

Immigration Appeals and in particular the one Immigration attorney's

name that the BIA board member passsed to me in confidence. SHe

made it clear she knew the abilties of the many attorneys who

appeared before the board and that in her position COULD NOT give me

any insight of what she thought of them. But she said "I wish I

could help you" and then pointed to his listing in the phone book

with the clear understanding it was out of her professional bounds

to give any comments, but clearly wanted to give me some direction

as far as who she thought I'd be well matched to work with. That

was early on in my internship when I wowed her with my efficient

research and clear writing BEFORE I blew it by missing work. I

ruining my car bumping into one of those cinder blocks in the

parking garage... thus missing a few days. Then all the kids got the

flu and I had to be home to care for them, then I got the flu and

I missed more. Then Georgetown placed me under the "Ethics committee

Review" for my failure to hand in a take home final exam on time due

to that debilitating flu....How's this for a long story? When they

asked if I could come back to continue the internship the next

semester at the EOIRB I had to say "I'm not sure" as it depended on

whether I was still a student or not! The HR dude was hitting me up

to fill out paperwork as they were so excited to have me on board.

They had been forgiving about the illness and missed work. But then

I made the mistake of telling them about what I was trying to

resolve at Georgetown and my credibility was immediately suspect.

Perhaps it was my framing of the issue- as by the time I finally

told the EOIRB HR guy why I wasn't sure if I was officially a

student for the next semester or not, Georgetown was on the

defensive for breaching their obligation to ME of grading my work.

( Gee I wonder why I didn't land that full time job with the Dept

of Justice I interviewed for at that time ? It was such a fine

interview! Except the part where I honestly answered the ? of why do

you want a govt job... the answer "Because they are 9-5" didn't

earn points! Even thought those buildings are vacant by 4pm! But it

could have been worse. At least I didn't tell him "those who can do,

those who can't teach, and those who can't do or teach work for the

govt." )

Back to the story: That final exam was some hours late and although

I had a note from my OB/GYN at the time Georgetown was so taken off

guard as apparently no one EVER violates there take home policy. I

was pregnant at the time, and made the two hour commute to and from

the school for the exam while ill. When it was late due to the fact

I just HAD to pull over to sleep on the drive there as I could

hardly make it- it set the college into confusion. Amazingly no one

had EVER in anyone's memory actually handed in a law school exam

late befoe! Keep in mind most students just live right there or in

D.C. It's not a big commuter school. They had this elaborate

review system that they clearly didn't really want to have to follow.

(and didn't really have the mechanisms in place TO follow just

before the holiday break!) It was just such a comedy of errors. So

then Georgetown violated their policys themselves by not following

up and left me hanging as to my staus. I couldn't then do much of

anything but wait for them! That was my last required law school

class! you can't take the BAR exam without attesting by a school

that you are being granted a degree.. Since they didn't resolve it

by January I enrolled in an additional class at UB LAw as an

independent study with a professor who agreed to accept my work

through the mail and correspond via e-mail and phone. So I spent

$4000 extra as Georgetown had not meet their timeframe and I was

left hanging as to whether I had all my courses for graduation or

not. Only when I reminded them that they had an obligation to ME to

grade my work--even if they wanted to give it an F, and I pointed

out that I had REASONABLE reliance on my signed enrollment CONTRACT

with them to take the class in exchange for a grade and possible

credits, did they then finally resolve it. I had to write a letter

with stong legal language framing the issue and then miraculously

got a response with my B- in the class late April!

I came VERY close to starting off my legal career in Washington D.C.

by suing Georgetown LAw for breach of contract. I think the DOJ HR

dude wasn't too impressed when I outlined the legal theory of breach

of contract or a university I felt could be tested in the courts.

(Yes I know I talk too much!)

Interestingly at the same time I found a case in Canada in which a

Masters student sued and was granted a judicial review for assessing

the possible damages of loss of the value of his degree in that

market for the one year in which he was held back by one professors

failure to pass him while the professor was relying on his

invaluable student reseach!

HOw I would have loved to have started and ended my career then and

there with a precendent setting case that does the world a favor!

Universitys yield way too much power over their paying students who

go to them for a service! But of course my story ended with the

fact that once I finally did know when I was an official graduate- A

prerequisite for taking the BAR exam, and then registered for the

BAR exam, and I FINALLY took it- I of course failed it !! I'd love

to say that I would have had a better chance of passing it if I took

it that Feb as originally intended... but I can't know that to be

true now that I have likewise failed it a few times more! Those

results in combination with the fact that I ended up staying at home

with kids rather than working, add up to the fact that I had no

claim against Georgetown! You can't claim a school held up your

carreer erroneously if you don't have one!

Had I actually passed the bar exam that June and gone straight to

work, then I would have had a strong claim against Georgetown for at

least the $4000 it cost me to take the extra class because they

would't issue a grade in a timely manner, and possibly for loss of

income for the six months that I had to wait for the next available

Bar exam.

Hope this interested SOMEONE! I think it is a somewhat amusing

story myself which is why I shared it.

Oh and yes- I do plan on taking the Bar exam again. Westley and I

were recently talking and he had a great idea. I am positive I am

ADD diagnosable as among the many other symptoms I have FALLEN

ASLEEP during EVERY standardized test, and almost all final exams or

midterms I have EVER taken. I usually get by so its not something I

have ever needed to address before. But being 20 points shy of

passing the Bar on multiple occassions, I think if I could just stay

awake MAYBE that alone could make up some points. Because of

nursing babies, and being pregnant I have never been interested in

taking any medication for ADD. Westley recently had a great idea- he

suggested "What about asking a Dr. for something to take just one

time to help stay awake DURING the exam? Maybe there is something he

could prescribe?"

So I am going to look into that! Perhaps it is a possible aid which

would be helpful to me. During the last exams I steathily had to go

back and forth into the hall to find my Starbucks frappachino that I

left outside hidden on a shelf in the lobby of the Roanoke

Conference Center. For the first exam I didn't bring any provisions

and just could barely stay awake. I was SO tempted to sneak across

the street mid exam to the McDonalds to get a coffee. The second

time I came prepared (or so I thought) but accidentally left the

Frappachino and power bars in the hotel fridge!! The third time I

finally had it down! But going outside all the time in the middle of

the exam is distracting to the other participants and also absorbs a

lot of exam time. I actually did run out of time on the essays. So

with each experience I get a bit better at taking the test and more

self aware of just how unusual I am in comparison to the other test

takers! But hey- you can take the VA BAR five times. So if I don't

get the BAR there then I can move on to the NY BAR and try that. And

if that fails as well then there are (how many? 58 or 49 ? other

states to take it in.... that's an embarassing testament to my

horrid memory!The reason I am challenged with this exam! )

Hey it took me five years of applying to multiple law schools before

I got in, so I think a goal of five years to get the BAR exam is

reasonable for me!

So that's my personal update. Still studying. Now I think I'm going

to check out Katerina's map of the states- it is 51 right? I know I

learned that in forth grade

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