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There is no normal, only school

What was my life like before law school?  The same as it was before I had my first child.  Wake up, work out, go to work, come home from work, watch TV, check Facebook, go to bed and repeat.  Having a baby changes everything.  You don’t get to wake up when you want and watching TV becomes a luxury.  Typically, when someone has their first child, they don’t concurrently embark on something extraordinarily unfamiliar and challenging.  

I decided to do just that - I started law school when my newborn son Graham was  7-weeks old.  It was a whirlwind for sure, but when I think about it, if I waited another year I may have chosen not to go.  An infant doesn’t let you sleep or give you time to take care of yourself and neither does law school.  You can read a more in-depth version of why I decided to go to law school when I did in my book, but in short, I decided if law school became too much to handle I would take a break (from school, not parenting).  I ended up doing ok my first semester.  Not outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but well enough to keep moving forward.

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God only knows

Today I woke up melancholy.  Lately it is hard to pin down why I no longer bound out of bed.  Maybe it is because I don’t have to respond to a baby’s cry over a monitor in the early morn.  Maybe it is because my toddler no longer wakes me up by staring me down until I hear him breathing.  Maybe it is because I am 4.5 months post operation and still have pain everyday.  Maybe it is because I just recovered from strep throat followed by a horrible head cold.

But it finally occurred to me -- October 8, 2012 was the day I planned to “soft launch” my solo practice - as a licensed attorney.

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Mom, you so happy?

Updated on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 11:06AM by Registered CommenterHope Wood

Me and Graham last Saturday before the Iowa/Iowa State football game

Today was the day, September 14, 2012 – the day the July Iowa Bar Exam results were posted.

This year has been fraught with challenges; indeed I have written about many of them.  After graduation, I had back surgery for the second time in my life.  Four days later, I started the BarBri bar review course.  I struggled physically, mentally and emotionally and after two weeks my body said no more. 

I attempted to study the next three weeks after a few days off, but basically stalled to a standstill.  At the end of June, I had to throw the BarBri schedule out the window and write my own – there was no way I could catch up.  I also refused to leave my family for a month for a one time test. 

I worked as hard as I could without sacrificing my health or mental stability.  I took it as an opportunity to learn how to survive and thrive in the middle of a treacherous storm; knowing there would be many during my career. 

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Still standing

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics 

Monday mornings are always challenging – no one wants to start the work week and Graham always puts up a fight about going to daycare.  The great thing is that once we get through the Monday morning shuffle, we enjoy the day ahead. 

Today, I am working on easing back into life and getting myself organized.  No work today.  No school today!!!  Just lists and compartmentalizing the things I want to work on from now until September 14, when the Iowa Bar exam results are posted.  I am kicking off my Monday-after-the-bar-exam-one-on-one time with the Today Show’s coverage of yesterday’s American medal winners.   One of the Silver-medalist Synchronized Divers said “you don’t win the medal alone.”  She went on to say that she would not be where she is now without the support of friends, family and coaches back home.

I feel the same way about the breaking the finish line of the bar exam. 

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Kicking ass on the bar exam

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This is the phrase I instructed my dear husband Geoff to say when people asked where is wife is – “kicking ass on the bar exam.” 

It is a way I thought he could support me from a distance and not worry about calling me with encouragement.  I dropped Geoff off in downtown Des Moines this morning to join a group driving to the first town of RAGBRAI.  RAGBRAI is a week-long bike ride across Iowa.  I will be joining him after I kick ass on the bar exam next week.  My dad is driving the support vehicle and my uncle from Texas and my aunt from Colorado are riding for the first time. My sister and niece are watching Graham and they are going to meet us on Thursday in Cedar Rapids after “mommy takes her big test.”  I can’t think of an place I would rather be after the bar exam (yes, there is alcohol available).

You too will be kicking ass on the bar exam if you are a candidate who has the opportunity to become a licensed attorney next week.  Why not plan to kick ass?

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