Bar exam studies under way? Tips from someone in your shoes
I am in your shoes
And they are tight and sweaty and uncomfortable.
The BarBri class to prepare for the bar examination (Minnesota, in my case) has taken over my mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends, and any free time in between.
Like many of you, on top of studying, I had to move into a new apartment and a new city and balance settling in, buying furniture, cleaning house, and spending time with family, friends, and my significant other. Oh yeah, and I’m broke.
It is extremely easy to let this load that we carry for the next two months stress us out beyond recognition. I spent the first two weeks of BarBri—like many of my peers—in a mode of constant frustration and aggravation. As a result—and I do blame BarBri—I just found my first two gray hairs.
It is time to let that go
Sit down. Pause.
Remember why you went to law school. Why you wanted to be a lawyer and the kind of lawyer that you wanted to be. Do you want to be the lawyer who works at the office until 10pm at night, and comes home to see his kids fast asleep? Do you want to be the lawyer who gets fat and gray (!) because she does not have enough balance in her life?
This is the time to create balance and to build the strength in your body and soul as well as your mind. Because you will need all three—mind, body and soul—to get through the next seven weeks of studying and the Bar Examination, and then to move on to the next stages of your life.
How should you create that balance?
- Try to remember how you survived your first year of law school and replicate that in your new life. Was it church or synagogue? Volunteer work? Exercise? Sunday family dinners?
- Join a gym or a yoga studio or buy a bike. If you don’t have money right now, community gyms like YMCAs or Jewish Community Centers are likely to be more understanding of difficult economic situations and cut you a deal (mine did).
- Set up your apartment and allow yourself to take the time to decorate. Your mind will be clearer when your living space feels like a home.
- Get a part time job so you don’t feel like every penny spent is a penny on loan from the government, or a bank, or your parents.
- Watch what you eat. Even if you are in a rush to study, that does not mean that you should eat McDonalds. Take five extra minutes and make a salad. Grill chicken outside (or make your significant other do it for you). Limit your caffeine intake (see #2 if you start getting tired).
- Give yourself at least one night a week where you do no work. That night, don’t even utter the name BarBri, or discuss how hard property is. Explore your city. Walk outside. Rest. Just be.
I am in your shoes
Let’s take them off together.