Congratulations! The massive bar exam you’ve dedicated your time and energy to is over, and you can finally relax! Well, that is much easier said than done. The truth is that while the most challenging part is over, you may be struggling to find relief, and experiencing periods of relief and worry over your scores.
Don’t fret! Here are ideas on how to break the worry cycle and cope while waiting for your scores.
Again, easier said than done. We have all been there with the waiting game for law school grades. It can ruin your holiday, vacation, or break to resist letting it go and choosing to dwell daily on the outcome. All you can be sure of is that you did your very best. But for many of us, it is tough to break the pattern of rumination—repeatedly re-running the MBE questions, MPT and MEE prompts in your head to the point of torture.
For your own health and well-being, find peace with your performance and let go of the outcome. You will cross whatever bridge you may be worrying about if and when you get there. Your brain will thank you for giving it a break from overthinking and worry.
It may help to seek inspiration to let go of your performance and the final outcome. A Ralph Waldo Emerson quote posted at my law library has helped me practice letting go:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.”
Be Proud of Yourself
No matter the outcome, you can be proud and satisfied in knowing that you gave the exam all the time and practice it deserved and that you had it in you. Specifically, you have encountered hundreds of practice questions, you have memorized the black letter law and may have even made songs or acronyms or stories to get the information cemented into your brain.
Many of us have been there in law school, where you cannot always control the outcome, such as a curve, or a curveball on the test, but you can know for sure that you gave it your all. Next, we leave it to our professors to grade the exam and be fair. Similarly, you can hand over your worries to the National Council of Bar Examiners to do their job, and fairly score the exam according to their rubrics while you sit back and relax. Carrying the same approach from law school grades can help you here.
There is a ton of pressure surrounding the bar exam, and you likely still have a lot of tension that needs to be dismantled. Perhaps your dream job hinges on your passage, or you’ve expended your hard-earned money and resources on this exam, and you are exhausted. All this pressure you’ve felt throughout your preparation and perhaps even now can cause you stress and tension. Such tension can cause you to feel physical bodily pain and could use some de-stressing and decompressing. Some ideas to consider for releasing stress include a massage, a yoga class, and a meditation session.
Get Your Life Back
One of the most exciting things about post-bar exam is getting back to your life!
- Reach out to family and friends: get some much-needed laughter, hugs and support.
- Plan a short trip: some people make elaborate plans to travel, but it can be as simple as a drive to the beach or walking a trail you have never explored.
- Try something new: studying may have caused you to push aside your desire to pick up a hobby or something new to change up your routine. This is the time to explore and get back to yourself! Take up the indoor rock-climbing class, try the new restaurant or a recipe.
The tips above may not be as easy as it seems. Is the thought of going back to your daily life hard to imagine? Perhaps you let go of a lot of your favorite hobbies because there just was not enough time to fit it all in. Perhaps you missed having social support during your studies. If you are confronting feelings of loneliness after coming out of study-cave isolation and exhaustion, be sure to get the support you need sooner rather than later. For example, you can connect to someone to speak to personally or professionally and get the support you need to get back in touch with your life before the bar exam.
If you struggle to move forward remember that you have made it to the other side of your studies. The same mindset that got you to visualize success to make it through the exam can help you get through the post-bar exam period.