The next few weeks or months, while you’re waiting for the results, can be a bit challenging. Most of us are type A control freaks, and it’s difficult for us to sit back and relax while we await the results of our summer or winter toil. Nonetheless, waiting for bar exam results, just like the exam itself, is somewhat of a rite of passage. You will get through it! Here are the tips on how to do it and maintain a healthy attitude:
Take a Vacation
If your schedule and budget allow, take a vacation – even if it’s just a weekend getaway. The goal is to step away from the spaces where you’ve spent the last few months studying and change your scenery to something refreshing and relaxing. You deserve a break and your mind definitely needs it.
Whether you take a vacation or not, you should try to keep your mind occupied. Do something that will successfully distract you from the thinking about the bar exam.
Remember when you were in school buried in textbooks and longingly looked at books you actually wanted to read? This is the time to do it. Are there movies that came out in the theater during the last few months that you wanted to see? Rent them. Did you get a video game for Christmas/birthday that is still sitting wrapped in plastic? It’s time to open it!
The day after the bar exam, I was exhausted and needed some mindless entertainment. I decided to go on Netflix and start streaming Gilmore Girls. That day I watched six episodes. I continued re-watching the show throughout the dreaded wait. Do whatever will efficiently keep your mind busy.
Start reconnecting with people
Surely you received invitations, text messages and phone calls from people wanting to spend time with you during bar prep. Most likely, you rolled your eyes at their lack of understanding of the stress you were under and went back to studying. Now is the perfect opportunity to re-emerge in your social life. Reconnect with friends and family members you’ve neglected. Grab a coffee or go play sports. They will help to keep your sanity in check while you wait.
Start a new hobby
Now is the perfect time to learn something new. You will find that you have more free time than you’ve had in a while. Law school can be pretty all consuming, especially if you also worked during the day (or night). Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn paddle-boarding or horse-riding, but haven’t had time. Maybe you have a whole set of new paintbrushes and a canvas sitting in your basement and waiting for happier days. Dust off your interests and take a shot at something that might become your new passion.
Go job hunting or focus on your job
If you’re still job hunting, devote your energy to networking and interviewing. Attend conferences and CLEs, take part in some volunteer opportunities and get involved in your local bar association. Even if your efforts don’t lead to a job, you will build valuable connections that will help you throughout your career. The local legal community makes up a surprisingly small world. Becoming an important member of it should become one of your top priorities.
If you are currently working or clerking, focus on your job. The first few months are the time for you to learn and impress your superiors. Everybody will know that you are fresh out of law school and will give you a little leeway. However, make it your goal to absorb, observe and learn as much as you can. If you’re clerking, make a good first impression on the Judge you are working with. He or she is an invaluable resource and will become one of your greatest mentors. Build lasting relationships with your co-clerks. You will work closely over the next year and hopefully become a close-knit group that will support each other throughout your careers.
Get involved in your local bar association. Depending on where you practice, your local bar association may have more to offer than you expect. Local bar associations are full of seasoned lawyers who are eager to support the newcomers. Their calendar is filled with networking events, holiday parties, and most of all, volunteer opportunities. You’ll leave a lasting impression on your community and, once again, build strong relationships with other lawyers.
Leave the bar exam behind
It may take a few days before you stop waking up with memories of your bar exam struggles, but make a conscious effort to push those thoughts aside. There is no use in re-analyzing your answers and in trying to determine whether you missed anything. Even if you did miss something, you cannot predict how the grader reading your answer will award the points. Know that you did your best and your efforts will pay off. Make the most of the wait.