By Brenda L. George • December 14, 2017•Writers in Residence, Law School, Other Law School Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
I took a final exam on Tuesday - the only regularly scheduled exam I was able to make. My baby was just 11 days old. This was honestly the hardest exam I have ever had to take (and not in terms of content). Usually when I take an exam, the time flies by, but this time it was the longest three hours of my life. Not only was I away from my baby for the longest amount of time since his birth, but I also was fighting sleep (in a freezing cold room!). I'm going to be honest, my desire to do amazing was low and my desire to just get by was high. Let's hope I did better than I think I did...that exam is not graded on a curve. The important thing to me is that I pushed through and completed the exam. By the time we got back on the ferry to go home, I was exhausted. I held my baby in the front seat for that 35 minute ride and we napped together.
Since becoming a mother I have continually been amazed by what my body can do. Taking an exam 11 days after giving birth is no exception. And I have heard stories from other women about the incredible things they have done just days after having birth. For example, one woman took the bar exam. Another woman I know just told me she gave birth on a Friday evening around midnight and then returned to work the following Monday. Moms, you truly are amazing.
I am so thankful for the support I have had to see this through. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs provided my accommodations to take the exam in a semi-private room with 15 extra minutes per hour to nurse. I did end up nursing once during the exam, but I didn't use the extra time. I was also allowed to reschedule the two exams that I missed last week. My sister, amazing being that she is, came with me to campus and held the baby while I took my exam and, she is going to do it all over again with me next week. She claims it was because she wanted to snuggle her nephew, but I know that she also loves me. I know that I am so lucky that I have this support, and I am forever grateful. I also have already received criticism for being provided this extra time and ability to reschedule. I promise, I am at no advantage taking these exams this way. None whatsoever. You never really fully appreciate four or more hours of continuous sleep until you have a baby. And, when you have a baby, a toddler, and two dogs...two hours of uninterrupted sleep is a blessing. You get one to sleep and another wakes up. So, my last person that I am so incredibly grateful for is my husband. He is working from home, keeping up on all of our laundry, coaching a basketball team, and waking up with me and the baby at all hours of the night. What a champ!
Next up: final paper (10-20 pages) due tomorrow.
After that: final exam next Wednesday. Final exam in January. Class begins January 8. GRADUATION in May!!!