Congratulations on finishing the bar and welcome to our new series, “So you just finished the bar and…” In this series we streamline our advice to help answer your most pressing questions post-bar!
You did it! You finished your bar exam… but now what? What do you do with all your free time? What do you do if you don’t have to study? How do you go back to being a normal person?
In the first part of our series, we will walk you through how to get in the right mindset and prepare for what’s next. Enjoy!
What to Expect
What follows completing the bar is a great time of rediscovery. The most important way to answer, “what’s next” is to actually sit down and make a list of things you want to do, next. Reconnect, rediscover, and relax. Move forward and onwards!
We promise you, there are tons of things you wanted to do instead of bar prep and now is the time to do them. Remember all those friends you had to turn down lunch with? Give them a ring and reconnect! Do you recall that awesome looking sport you saw online that made you say, “wow, I want to try that”? Go and try it. Sick and tired of your bar study room? Get out of there and go on a road trip!
Scheduling a massage or attending your favorite work-out class are also great ideas. Be honest, you have probably been sitting at your desk all day for a few months. Read more of our ideas for fun activities here and here.
Getting in the Right Mindset
While you are moving past your test date, having the right mindset is important. Find a phrase or a mantra to repeat whenever you start thinking “what if…”. The best mindset for now is one of acceptance and reality. Whether you pass or not, what you have right now is free time. If you pass, you’ll get a busy job as a lawyer and won’t have much time. If you don’t pass, you might have to study again and you know how that is…
So think of your post-bar exam time as that summer before college. That summer, you had already put in the work, and you were in between career milestones. You didn’t have to go get an internship, nor did you have to study anything. Take advantage of this in-between point and recharge!
A technique you should acquaint yourself with (if you haven’t already) is mindfulness. Mindfulness just means staying in the present moment. By stepping outside our typical thoughts and feelings, you can view yourself from a distance without any judgment. Stepping outside of your head during this time will help prevent you from losing yourself in your thoughts. Regardless of the bar exam stress, practicing mindfulness can help calm you, make you happier, and more compassionate. If you’ve never practiced mindfulness before, there really isn’t a trick to it. It’s difficult but not complicated. Try some free apps to help you along.
Once you hopefully find a way to relax, you can do legal related activities if you cannot stay away from the law. One thing you can do is take steps toward the job hunt as if you knew you already passed. This can include going over your resume and cover letters. You could also attend network events or informational interviews, or even volunteer at a legal nonprofit to gain some experience.
Our main point for post bar exam advice is to have a life. You may have felt like you didn’t have a life while studying, so you should have a life now. Don’t let worrying about bar exam results stop you from enjoying yourself.
Once you have your plans made and are enjoying yourself, check out the next post in our series where we talk about how not to worry about your bar exam scores. Take some time and reflect on this post and get in a relax and opened mindset. See you in the next post!