It’s bar prep season and I can’t help feeling bad for everyone in an article about feeling totally alone during bar prep. Because as horrible as bar prep was, as much as your brain shorts out and you see repeating flash cards everywhere you go, bar prep for me was anything but lonely. I actually look back on that summer with a lot of affection.
Yes, bar prep is isolating. And maybe at top ten schools where you study for different states, bar prep is lonely as hell. But at our fourth tier school where we all were taking the same exam? Bar prep gave me some of the best memories I have from law school outside of my first year.
First of all, my bar prep class was awesome. I cannot say enough about finding a local alternative to Bar Bri. Make sure it is a good one, but my state has an amazing Bar Bri alternative that is run by a guy who genuinely cares about his students, learns all of their names, tells them to relax and take a night off when they are burned out, and makes you do relaxation exercises during the break, and builds exercise into your day.
My bar prep class was also at night. Which was horrible for seeing my husband and actually pretty good for my studying. Because what I was NOT going to do was go home and study in the evenings after bar prep during the day. What I was able to do was study during the day, then eat a quick dinner of a cliff bar and go to bar prep class. Don’t shy away from a class just because it’s in the evenings.
I took bar review with a number of my good friends from law school. And we brought each other snacks, we built each other up, we talked each other down, we went over practice questions together, we studied together during the day, and we gave each other a break. If I was stressing out too much, my friend J would tell me to relax and go for a long bike ride, and my friend K would come with me. If I needed to talk through a practice question, my friends were an email or a phone call away. Practice tests on the weekends? Lunch break at the food truck rally. Friday night bar prep classes? Followed by Friday night bar visits. Fourth of July? MBE questions followed by a barbecue with these people who were in it with me.
I read this article today and so much of it rings true – you do eventually associate your self-worth with the bar exam. I could never have made it through the bar exam without my friends who regularly reminded me that even if I was not successful on this one endeavor, I was not worthless. Who did not reassure me that "I would do fine" but instead reassured me that "we will be okay." I have met a number of people who have been unsuccessful on the bar exam a number of times – and they lead wonderful, productive lives. I only wish I had met them before I took the bar exam, so I knew that this exam was not the measure of my worth, my professional capacity, or even much of a marker for my future.