You have survived law school, suffered through months of bar prep, and successfully sat for the bar exam! Now, it is time for the waiting period, the time in between taking the bar exam and receiving your results! So, what do people do after the bar exam? I am sure you’ve seen the Instagram posts of people taking lavish vacations following the bar exam. Many individuals decide to take some time off for some much needed R&R after the bar exam. These trips have become known as “after bar” or “post-bar” trips. In order to help you understand what bar exam trips are, I am answering some questions about them and providing my stance on whether you should take one. I hope this helps aid you in your decision to take one or the planning of your trip!
What are After Bar Trips?
After bar trips are exactly what they sound like, a trip or vacation that is taken after the bar exam. These trips have become very popular with law graduates that serve to celebrate their law school graduation and being done with the bar exam. These are normally taken right after they sit for the bar exam but before they start their post-bar employment.
What about COVID?
Currently, we are still facing a global pandemic caused by COVID-19. Thus, there are some places with travel restrictions or requirements in order to travel. Also, the CDC has recommended that it is safest to travel after you are fully vaccinated and with a mask. The CDC also has numerous other guidelines you should consider when planning your trip or travelling. In any case, you should decide what is best for you, your health, and your community. Please be safe and take necessary precautions.
Do They Have to Be Elaborate?
Bar exam trips can be as extravagant or budget-friendly as you want! If you want to take a weeks-long international or destination trip, you can! If you just want to do a little stay-cation, that is perfectly alright too! No one should judge you based on the post-bar trip you take.
When Should You Plan an After Bar Trip?
You should really plan your post-bar trip before you sit for the bar exam. Ideally, you will want to plan your bar trip before you even start bar prep. You will be really busy studying during bar prep so it is best to avoid the added stress of planning a trip. However, it is your trip, so if you want to plan a spontaneous adventure following the bar exam, you are completely in your right to do so.
What Should I do?
Well, now that you are done with the bar exam, you should relax of course! The relaxation and de-stressing is part of the post-bar trip. However, it is a vacation like any other so you can do whatever you want. If you want to hike a mountain, great. If you want to stay on the beach all week, awesome. It is your trip and time for you to have a good time.
Why Are They Beneficial?
You have spent numerous months undergoing serious studying. The mental and physical toll that this stress and anxiety takes on your body is significant. Following the bar exam, you will likely be starting a new position or at a new company. Thus, you will be thrown into the daily life of a full-time working adult. And new associates usually put their nose to the grindstone and overwork themselves. In addition, lawyers and legal professionals tend to neglect their mental and physical health. Thus, taking some time off following the bar exam is very beneficial to your health and well-being. This is especially true immediately after the bar exam, one of the hardest exams you will ever take.
Should I go on one?
I’ll give you the lawyer answer of “It depends.” Personally, I took a couple of days off and went back to work the week after the bar exam. I was getting married the next summer and needed to save up for my wedding. I had also reasoned I would rather take a nicer honeymoon than take a small vacation after the bar and a small honeymoon. However, looking back I wish I would have taken more time off or gone on a trip (especially if I had known my honeymoon and wedding would be cancelled due to the pandemic). Thus, if you can, I highly recommend going on a vacation, even if it is a small one. Once you get into the workforce, it is very easy to feel burnout and a lot harder to take time off. However, it is perfectly okay if you cannot justify taking the time off, especially due to financial or personal concerns.
Bon Voyage and Bonne Chance!
If you are going on a trip, I want to wish you well and enjoy! Once you get back from your vacation, you will hopefully feel refreshed and ready to take on your work. If you are going straight back to work, I wish you the best in your transition and make sure you try to relax when you can to avoid burnout. Regardless if you are taking an amazing trip, taking a little break, or getting right back to working, best of luck once your bar exam results come out!