Into the Story
EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES
Episode 24: A Story About Becoming a Lawyer in New York
Nivel de inglés: intermedio alto
Acento: inglés australiano
Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes escucharemos la historia de Rani. Mientras la escuchas hablando de su experiencia, aprenderás el significado de learn by heart en inglés entre otras expresiones interesantes como gruelling, buzzing.
Nuestros protagonistas, Rani y su marido Blainey, son ambos abogados de Melbourne, Australia. En este episodio, Rani nos relata sus experiencias al presentarse al New York Bar Exam, el famoso examen para ejercer como abogado en los Estados Unidos. Escuchemos su historia y qué pasó durante examen.
Transcripción del Podcast
Bree: Today’s story is about becoming a lawyer in New York. Hoy os traigo una historia sobre un examen para lograr un sueño de ser abogado en los Estados Unidos. Nuestros protagonistas, Rani y su marido Blainey, son ambos abogados de Melbourne, Australia. En este episodio, Rani nos relata sus experiencias de presentarse al New York Bar Exam, el famoso examen para ejercer como abogado en los Estados Unidos.
Rani: 10 9 8 7 and I’m thinking oh my gosh this is, this is it! This is the New York bar exam. I cannot believe I’m doing this exam. I have to pass. I have to do well. 6 5 4 3 2 and I thought oh my god this is it this is it… 1.
Bree: In this podcast, Rani describes to us all the planning, hard work and studying that it takes to become a lawyer in New York. Not only is it a difficult and long exam but the situation was made even more complicated by the pandemic. Rani describes to us her anxiety in the days before the exam and also in the exam room as she sits down to write her paper, alone at her computer. Her dreams of becoming a medical malpractice lawyer – una abogada de negligencias médicas – depend on her passing this exam. Let’s find out what happens next…
Antes de empezar, veamos algunas de las palabras y expresiones que escucharás durante la historia:
- Firstly, a degree. For example, “qué carrera estás estudiando” in English we say “what degree are you studying?” In English we use the word degree, not career which is a very common false friend, to refer to an academic course like a business or medical degree. For example, you can say that I’m studying a law degree at university.
- Next gruelling. If something is very gruelling it means that it is extremely tiring or demanding – riguroso o agotador. In today’s episode, you’ll hear Rani talk about her exam being a huge and gruelling process. Gruelling spelt G-R-U-E-L-L-I-N-G. Gruelling.
- To learn by heart or learn off by heart – This expression, to learn by heart refers to knowing something by memory, without help. In her story, Rani talks about learning legal subjects and cases off by heart in preparation for her exam. We can also learn by heart phone numbers or learn off by heart the lyrics to your favourite song! Learn by heart.
- To be buzzing – This expression, to be buzzing, is used to express how much excitement or energy you are feeling in a particular situation. We can use this expression in 2 ways. On one hand we could say I was buzzing after my ride on the rollercoaster to mean I felt excited. Or on the other, I could say for example I was buzzing WITH excitement to know the results of my exam. To be buzzing.
- And finally, a glitch – A glitch refers to a small and sudden technical error. Glitches often happen while using applications on our phones or computers. For example, I am sure many of you have experienced a glitch while talking to friends or family on a video call. A glitch.
Aprovecha al máximo este episodio visitando acingles.com/podcast para bajarte la transcripción, la ficha de vocabulario, y un test de comprensión. Que por cierto, te ayudará mucho si te estás preparando para un examen oficial de inglés. OK let’s get into the story…
Rani: My name is Rani and I love New York. I love the liberal unconventional culture. The fact that you can get any type of food at any time of the day and it’s just, I mean it… it just feels like the center of the world when you are in New York. And it’s exciting, it’s electric! My husband and I are both lawyers and it’s a very jurisdictional job so it’s difficult to practice law in different countries. From a professional level, because I’m a medical malpractice lawyer, New York is really the mecca for medical malpractice because they sue everybody. They obviously have a terrible healthcare system and so from that perspective it’s great for an attorney. And so Blainey went to NYU and I went to Columbia.
But unfortunately the pandemic hit so we had to learn online for the end of our degrees and just when you haven’t done enough studying you have to also take the bar exam which is a huge gruelling exam that they put you through in America and so even though you have a law degree, you have to study 14 different law subjects off by heart so it is all by memory and you have an exam that spans two days where you have to answer hundreds of multiple choice questions, write essays and practical pieces of writing. And also only usually a third of the people who take the exam actually pass because it’s that difficult.
Bree: And so begin the preparations for the bar exam. Rani and Blainey dedicate all their time to studying day and night but things are not easy or normal in New York during the pandemic.
Rani: So I remember Blainey, my husband and I, we had to go grocery shopping one day. And we walked through Soho. Usually Soho is bustling with people, you know, during Christmas time for instance you couldn’t move. There would be people everywhere! But I remember that distinctly on this occasion, Blainey and I went to the grocery shop and we could literally hear the signs that are hanging off the traffic lights moving in the wind making that sort of creaky sound that you were only here in horror movies. We were not only concerned about our health and what was happening to the people around us but also facing the pressure of this looming exam which was basically going to decide whether or not we could stay in New York.
So usually there are thousands of people who take the exam and this time it was online, completely online. But still over two days. That meant that we had to all download this particular software and do a number of practice exams. Now in a few of my practices or practice the camera in the software wasn’t working. In order to make sure that people don’t cheat, they decided to film you while you’re taking the exam. So I did the practice exam, I called the company. They redownloaded the software on my laptop and they said the camera is working. This will never happen again. So on the day, I felt ready to do it but so so anxious so incredibly anxious everything felt like, the whole New York experience we had and getting to this point, everything was leading up to this exam.
Bree: Ok. This is it. Rani opens her computer and launches the software to start the exam.
Rani: 10 9 8 7 and I’m thinking oh my gosh this is, this is it! This is the New York bar exam. I cannot believe I’m doing this exam. I have to pass. I have to do well. 6 5 4 3 2 and I thought oh my god this is it this is it. 1. Ok so the screen opens I thought, I need to de-stress, just focus on the question. The first part of the exam was extremely tight for time so literally every second counted for this essay. The software starts and the question comes up on the screen and I was like ok yep you can do this Rani. You can do this. And then I started to type a little bit but I noticed that the light was not on for the camera and I thought… oh no the light isn’t on… the camera is not on. This is how they make sure you’re not cheating! I need this camera to be on otherwise I don’t know what to do!
I distinctly recall thinking I have a choice right now. I can either stop writing this essay which I now requires every second of my time and I can call the software company on their phone and I know from previous experience they take around 20 to 30 minutes to answer their phones or I can stay and write this essay hoping against hope that maybe the cameras on but it’s just the light that is not working. So I made that decision to stay and to continue writing the essay because it was worth a third of my mark. I did it with half a brain thinking about the essay and half a brain thinking about is this camera on. I was incredibly distracted. So then after I finished the first section, we had a half an hour lunch break before we had to start the next essay portion. The second essay portion. So of course I dropped everything, I ran to Blainey’s room and I asked him I said was your camera light on during that portion and he said yes it was… and my face just fell. I felt my stomach just… I had butterflies. I felt like when you are on the top of a rollercoaster and you go down and your stomach drops in that moment.
Bree: Rani now has 30 minutes to solve the problem with the camera and to have lunch. It’s a chaotic half an hour as Blainey feeds her sandwiches as she calls the software company.
Rani: So I was on the webchat with the exam software person and they managed to reinstall the software and they said you have to restart your computer. So I thought great! It’s going to be okay. I restarted the computer and then obviously lost the webchat with this person and then didn’t know if I didn’t know whether or not the new software had been downloaded. So again, I was really really scared, freaking out and so we looked at the clock and I realized I have 2 minutes until the next portion starts, the next essay portion starts. You are obviously not allowed to have phones during the exam so I literally threw my iPhone into the bathroom and ran out and I started the next portion and my light was on thankfully but even though the light was on and the software was working I was still thinking about what had happened. My brain was literally buzzing during the next section and I still couldn’t calm down and I couldn’t focus 100% on the next portion.
So I finished the exam and Blainey came back to my room. We packed up all of our things and I just felt so devastated. You know what, I have put so much work and so much time and effort. Literal blood, sweat and tears into preparing for this exam. I’m not going to let some technical glitch interfere with all of that hard work. I’m going to decide to do my best. And that’s all you can do.
So I did the second portion, the second day which is multiple choice. I had not technical difficulties thankfully and I finished! I finished the entire bar exam! And I didn’t know what to think after I finished. I was obviously worried about them not marking my first third because of the camera but I was proud of myself.
Bree: Waiting to get the results of the exam is painful because Rani doesn’t know exactly when she’ll know if she’s passed or failed. Months go by of checking her phone and early one morning she gets the email.
Rani: I downloaded the PDF letter and it said congratulations you have passed! And I… I didn’t believe it! I just yelled from the bedroom because Blainey checked his results and he passed as well. And I said to him, I think I passed but I really need you to check if I’ve actually passed and he just yelled back, ‘you passed!’
And that was so special because on that day there was a blizzard in New York and Blainey and I, we had some red wine and we went outside in the snow and we just danced in the snow and we thought wow I can’t believe we’ve done this. Just to be able to say that you’ve passed the New York bar exam!
Bree: Since completing the bar exam last year, Rani has since begun her new job as a medical malpractice lawyer in New York. Outside of work, Rani enjoys cooking, taking care of foster cats, gatos de acogida, and exploring the city on foot during her morning runs. We wish Rani and Blainey all the best in this next chapter of their careers as lawyers in New York City!
Thank you for being here and listening to this story about becoming a lawyer in New York. Si te gusta este podcast, suscríbete. Y si quieres decirnos qué te ha parecido esta historia déjanos un comentario siguiendo el link en la descripción del episodio. Ok that’s all for today. Until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.
Quote of the episode
Test de compresión
Significado de "learn by heart"
Y la expresión que hemos escogido para esta semana es learn by heart! Veamos el significado de esta frase en inglés. Las expresiones learn something by heart o learn something off by heart son ambas sinónimas de ‘memorizar’ en español.
Muy a menudo escuchamos esta expresión cuando hablamos de memorizar información en un contexto académico. Por ejemplo, I need to learn this vocabulary list by heart before next week! ¡Tengo que memorizar la lista de vocabulario antes de la semana que viene! O tal vez en el trabajo, I am learning my presentation off by heart quickly before the client meeting. Estoy memorizando mi presentación rápidamente antes de la reunión con el cliente.
Quizás te estás diciendo ¡Qué curioso! y te preguntas ¿Por qué se dice en inglés learn by heart y no by head? En la antiguedad existia la creencia que el corazón era el centro de los pensamientos y las emociones, en vez de el cerebro. Desde entonces, hemos seguido usando el modismo learn (off) by heart.
En el episodio de hoy escucharás a Rani describiendo el largo y riguroso proceso de prepararse para un examen que necesitaba superar para poder ejercer como abogada en los Estados Unidos. Veamos el significado de learn by heart en este contexto:
‘…just when you haven’t done enough studying you have to also take the bar exam which is a huge gruelling exam that they put you through in America and so even though you have a law degree, you have to study 14 different law subjects off by heart so it is all by memory…’
Quiz de comprensión
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