Matthies, thank you for the reality check. I do feel I have something to prove, because of my academic background. The strange thing is that I've gotten most of my past jobs because someone liked me (as a person), and wanted to pass along the recommendation, or else knew of someone else who was hiring. I've never purposefully networked, though in effect I've been doing so most of my adult life. I know my friends will help me if they can (by passing along my resume, etc), and I'll help them. Avoiding stress is the difficulty, and it sounds like you managed that well. How did you do it?
How do I do it? I just don’t ever give up, ever, and I don't listen to what other people say my life is going to be like. When I was a kid I failed every grade till I was 10. They thought I was autistic so that sat me in corner to eat paste. I did not learn to read or write my own name till after I was 10. I was sent to a school for dyslexic kids, made up all the missed grades and went to HS where I barely graduated.
I have sever dyslexia, I can’t write without text to speech or MS Word (and even that does not help much). I certainly can’t write by hand (everything comes out transposed or backwards). I failed out of the college, I mean Fs because what I wrote was unreadbale. I did not have a computer then. Gave up on school, became an alcoholic, got in trouble with the law, got sober and decided to try school again. I went back six years later, got 100 credits at a 3.92 GPA with a computer to write for me. I bombed the LSAT, I tend to transpose Ds and Bs on scantrons so I have to triple check all my answers. In those days they did not give accommodations to dyslexics (they got sued and now they do).
I applied to 25 law schools the first time, got into Roger Williams which was too far away from my family being from Arizona. DU turned me down, but because I mentioned enviromental law in my PS they offered me a spot in their Master of Law Studies Degree (MLS), at DU this is exactly like the LLM in environmental law but open to a few students with an environmental background. The deal was you took 2L and 3L classes like Environmental Law, Water Law, Natural resource Law with the 2Ls and 3Ls under the same curve with the same tests but without having done the 1L year (infa ct the profs had no idea you were not a 2L or 3L).
I figured this was my best shot at showing people my LSAT was not predictive for me. If I did good, then I could make that argument, if I did bad, then LS was never going to be an option. I took the challenge, sold off a bunch of my business in AZ and moved to Denver. Did 24 credits of law school classes with 2Ls and 3Ls, ended up getting highest grade in two classes and a 3.67 GPA on a 3.0 curve. After my first semester of straight As DU then let me into the evening JD program and four years alter I graduated 13th in my class. Even thought writiong is my biggest challenge I was able to write on to a jounral and even get published several times.
I graduated in May 2009, and applied for the July 2009 bar exam. I sent in all my paperwork for my dyslexia back to the point when I was ten. I asked for extra time on the essay section to spell check my answers and to use a spell checker (our exam software did not have it). Three weeks before the exam the bar sent me a letter saying they denied my application for accommodations (I was one of nine people who applied, all were granted but me, they all had ADD which I also have).
The letter from the bar listed as one of the reasons they denied me a report from a school I never attended in a state I never lived in. I called and told them this report was not mine, but they said it was unapealable for July, I either take the exam as is, or wait till February. I ahd already been in barbri class and studying for the exam. That pretty much killed my motivation because I was sure I could not pass without time to spell check my answers, but I deiced to take it anyway.
They gave us 30 mins for each of eight essays and 90 mins for each PT. Because I transpose letters so badly if I don’t fix what I write its unreadable and people have to guess what words I am using, and most likely the graders would not give me points for words they could not underatnd. So I could not just leave it misspelled, so I gave myself 20 mins on each essay to write and 10 misn to spell check. 60 mins to write on PT and 30 mins to spell check. So I basically gave up 1/3 of my time to spell check and fix my writing. I ran out of time with 1.5 essay left. You need 276 points to pass I failed the bar by either ten points or six points depending on whose grader score you look at (two people grade the exam, then they average the two scores for your final score). So now I am studying for Feb retake.
So how did I do it? I just don’t give up - ever. Seeing that less than 20% of sever dyslexics even graduate HS I’m not supposed to have one college degree, much less three. My teachers said I would never learn to read, or write, that I would never graduate HS, that I could never get into LS, that I was not smart enough because I ahd a low LSAT. I just don’t listen to other people I guess. I should not be where I am according to all the experts, so I figure I’m a winner every time I try, so I just keep trying. I figure the only thing that can keep me from succeeding is myself, so I try not to let myself fuck me up.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
---Mark Twain (1835-1910)