The iconic Barbie movie was released during a time many were looking for uplifting, encouragement and support. It certainly delivered in inspiring people from all walks of life, including July 2023 bar takers. The Barbie movie’s enriching lessons show us that we are not alone on this challenging journey. That uphill climb might be the bar exam for you.
Taking a BARbie approach to the exam is about self-confidence, supporting those around you, and letting go of impossible standards, and celebrating who you are rather than being hard on yourself. This sounds a lot like what you need to survive law school and the bar exam.
You are Good Enough
This message in Barbie is best seen in the iconic scene where America Ferrera (Gloria) tells Margot Robbie (Barbie) how challenging it is to be a woman, reminding her “[y]ou are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough.”
Often times, we need a Gloria to remind us that we are worthy, smart, talented, and more than good enough for the goals we set for ourselves. It is easy to tell ourselves the opposite and point to mistakes to prove we cannot get it right.
Be Kind to Yourself
Sometimes how we view ourselves begins with how we speak to ourselves. Sometimes we can become so used to negative self-talk that we don’t even realize we are doing it. Do you find that you are kicking yourself and saying “you’re so dumb!” if you miss something in bar exam prep? Speak to yourself in the way you would to a child that is learning – give yourself grace, light heartedness and encouragement to go at it again.
The greatest tip I learned was to use encouraging stickers to post to your assignments after you are done. These may seem cheesy, but you need to be your own cheerleader!
Do this for You
Gloria’s character goes on to say, “I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”
How many times did you tie yourself into knots to get it perfectly right? Tying yourself into knots to be liked or praised academically and professionally? It is exhausting.
Oftentimes we get so caught up in being liked or praised and seen that we lose sight of the real reason we started out on this path. This path, to become an attorney, is one to revisit and celebrate. It is uniquely you! Whether or not you nailed the cold call, the internship, the job—you deserve to be here and finish your promise to yourself. When you release yourself of impossible expectations, you can fully be your authentic self. Being authentic to yourself will empower you to approach the bar exam with confidence in your skills, an approach that best suits you, and a commitment to yourself.
The bar exam can become about keeping the job that is lined up, ensuring the people keeping an eye on our progress see we can do it, and move away from our own purpose. These fears may motivate you temporarily, but the long-term investment is in yourself!
Listen to Gloria and don’t tie yourself into knots for others – do this for you!
Find your BARbie Mantra
Bar prep can be a powerful time of self-discovery, much like Barbie’s journey. There are going to be periods of self-doubt and moments when you build your confidence and know you can do this!
Sometimes tackling the bar can feel like you are giving everything you have to this one thing. Sometimes you may forget who you are, what you are doing this for, and how working toward this goal will really help you. Having healthy and simple affirmations can help you remember that you have what it takes.
Having BARbie inspiration around you can get you out of mental ruts. Try adding these positive quotes to post-its and display where needed! Here are some Barbie quotes to choose from to get you started:
“I have no difficulty holding both logic and feeling at the same time, and it does not diminish my powers and expands them.”
“You are Ken-ough”
“I want to be a part of the people that make meaning, not the thing that is made.”
“Humans only have one ending. Ideas live forever.”
Empower those on this Journey
A major theme seen in Barbie is to empower those around you. If you are struggling with the bar, and where you are, it is likely someone else is in the same boat as you. Everyone has a unique story for how they got to the bar exam, and it will likely inspire you. Reach out to friends in need and see how you can help each other. You never know what resource or support you can give someone else to help them move forward.