Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fear Itself

I'm realizing now that by far the most important aspect of the bar exam is psychology.

And I think I'm losing that mind game.

I'm a pessimist, a worst-case-scenario kind of person. Aren't all lawyers?

The old joke the profs told us in lawschool was: Why are you all not in business school?

Ans: Because you're risk averse!

And there is a lot of truth to that, at least in my case. I am uber-uber-risk averse. I seriously *feel* in my gut that I'm failing when I get below 85%. Michael rolls his eyes everytime I predict gloom and doom because time and again, the event passes with such wide margins of error, you could drive a semi through it.

But still...the mind plays games on you.

After all, I barely passed the MPRE.

And I keep failing those damn BarBri essays.

And people do fail...even those from great lawschools, like the former Dean of Stanford.

Because ultimately, it's not a test of intelligence, but a test of guts. How well can you control The Fear?

I have half a mind to check into a meditation clinic the last week before the exam and learn some deep-breathing and visualization techniques. Who needs to know the finer points of law when a mind-freeze could blow everything?

Our last BarBri lecturer told us to practice visualization exercises:

"Imagine you're having dinner, watching some tv. You go to bed, you're nervous and can't fall asleep...but eventually you do. You wake up refreshed, you go to the testing site, etc."

I'm not sure this technique is so great for me. As I start visualizing, my heart beats really fast and my stomach clenches, and I have to pull the plug on this mind experiment before I get a full on panic attack! Not the kind of behavioral reinforcement I want to create!

How do you deal with fear?

1 comment:

Tammy said...

oh my goodness! poor christina!! maybe the best thing is to not think about it. it's easy to think yourself into a deep hole. i actually felt your panic reading that post. pooor christina!! :(