You walk out of your last law school final exam and you stretch your fists far above your head. You cheer, blissfully thinking about the grand plans you have for the summer: sandy beaches, afternoon cocktails on the water, spending time with your loved ones, and the glorious feeling of the summer air as you take a nap in the sun. What a wonderful dream to have. Unfortunately, for a law school graduate, the only sandy beach you will experience is the “pink sands” candle from Yankee Candle that you lit next to you with your nose in a prep book. Yep, the worst summer of all of law school: the post 3L summer. Following law school, the July bar exam is right around the corner, much to any law school graduate’s dismay. Hours of studying, reviewing, and practicing in front of a computer every single day. How can you make matters worse? Add work into the mix. In a new form of self-torture, I decided to work during a majority of my bar prep period. Meaning, I had to cram studying in any chance I got without any fun or breaks in between. Are you working and trying to prepare for the bar like me? Well here is a look into my life during the (arguably) worst part of becoming a lawyer: bar prep.
Bar Prep in Progress
The term “summertime sadness” can easily describe my summer following law school graduation. I longed for a break so desperately. I wanted to enjoy my summer like I would any other year. And people wanted me to enjoy my summer like I normally would and do things! However, I was married to bar prep and work. And let me tell you this: bar prep is no joke. There is so much material to go over. SO MUCH LAW TO LEARN. It was overwhelming. Now adding work to the mix seemed impossible. I would wake up super early and do some studying, go to work and study on my lunch break, then would get home and study some more. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Working During the Bar Prep
People thought I was crazy when I told them I would be working during bar prep. Their surprise makes sense, seeing as many law school graduates take the bar prep period to solely focus on studying for the bar. Unfortunately, I did could not take months off with no income. Living is not cheap, my friends! I have bills to pay and mouths to feed! But really, I have a mortgage, a car payment, bills, cats to take care of, and general caffeine needs. Oh, and I am planning and paying for a WEDDING (although it isn’t until the June after the bar, but still). I am lucky to have a fiance that makes decent money and is willing to support me where he can, but I still need to be able to take care of some things financially. Also, fortunately, my law firm is very understanding and wants me to pass the bar since I am staying on as an attorney. So, they were very flexible with me and my studies. If I needed to take more time off, it was not a big deal. If I needed to stay late to finish some projects, I could head home when I was done. This definitely helped ease some of the pressure that I put myself under.
Bar prep is the most stressful time of your life. I honestly thought law school and studying for finals was bad. That is nothing compared to the dread you feel while studying for the bar. I wish I was kidding. There is so much information to go over, you never feel like you get a full grasp on a topic, and you always feel like you aren’t studying enough!! It is SO easy to burn out. In the middle of it all, I really struggled to keep myself focused on the central goal: to pass the bar exam. Instead, I felt like I was just rushing to get things done. (And sometimes this happens!) After cutting myself a little slack, I pushed through and got my mojo back.
End Goal: Pass the Bar!
I took all of July off to focus solely on passing the bar, and I am so thankful I did this. While working and doing bar prep at the same time is doable, it is not an easy task. You need to be very organized and self-disciplined. It is very easy to fall off the horse and very difficult to push yourself to get back on. Preparing for the bar is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. And I mean it. I know it can all sound overwhelming (it is) but you can do it. You will need to figure out what works best for your circumstances, make a solid attack plan, and execute! If you choose to work during the bar prep period, you will make it through, and you can be successful!