August 20, 2018

Handling Your Feelings Post Bar Exam

How to handle post-bar exam sadness or depression and what to expect after the bar exam. law school blog. law student blogger |

I said I wouldn't talk about the Bar exam until I got my results back, but I see this blog as a personal diary as well as a resource for other law students so I wanted to write this now while it's still fresh on my mind. I took the Bar almost a month ago and truth is, life ain't fun. Now I don't want to cause you new 3L's any panic thinking that you've dug yourself into a hole, but I do want to be honest for any recent grads so you don't feel alone.

Feeling useless after the Bar

Once you become a law student, the Bar is in the back of your mind for three years (see here, here, and here). Then for about three months straight it's at the front of your mind and all you can think or talk about. Seriously, you go full-on Cady Heron when she couldn't stop word vomiting about Regina George. And then after three days that fly by, it's over. The sole goal for the past three years has been attempted. And then what? 

Admittedly this is probably worse since I didn't end up landing a post-Bar job so I am currently a stay-at-home cat mom (which sounds better than unemployed millennial if you ask me), but still... You've focused so much of your time and attention and energy on one thing and then *poof* it's over. I guess it's kinda like how you hear about brides getting sad after their weddings because they'd just been looking forward to that day for so long that they don't know how to handle it after that day has come and gone. Right now, I just kinda feel like "what do I do with my life until I find out if I'm a lawyer or not??"

Obsessing over the Bar

That brings me to this point. It's better now that I'm a few weeks out, but that first week or two was pretty bad. I know everyone tells you to take the test and then not think about it (just like finals), but if you remember from 1L finals while you waited for those first grades to come back, that's a lot easier said than done. Except this is worse because I'd rather fail a law school class than the Bar any day.

Let me put it to you this way, just two days after I took the Bar my boyfriend's sweet mom set me up with an hour and a half massage. It felt great but the entire time in that quiet room all I could think about was I bet if this guy spent thousands and thousands of dollars on law school and Bar prep he would've remembered the difference between these two concepts that I forgot on test day and worse, OMFG I forgot to mention X in my essay! That would've been at least 1-2 more points I could've gotten! If there's a way to truly turn your brain off from the Bar, I haven't figured it out yet. But again, it's all I've been thinking about 24/7 for 3 months so how is my brain supposed to know to stop now?

Stressing over the Bar

The Bar mind fucks you and then doesn't stop there. The day after the Bar I woke up freaking out convinced that I had accidentally overslept for the Bar. A few days after that I had a too-realistic-for-comfort dream that what I had just taken was actually a simulated Bar exam that Barbri had just been extra about and the real thing was at the end of August so dream me went into freak out mode trying to plan what all I needed to improve and get done before the test. And yet again I had a very realistic dream that I had showed up to the last day of the Bar at lunch and so the proctors were pulling me aside telling me that I could still take the afternoon test but that my morning tests would all be zeros and my Bar prep professor (more on her in a later post) was there asking me if I thought I could still pass it even while failing all the other sections and talking to me about options to take the Bar in February.

But it doesn't stop there. Ryan has literally banned me from talking or thinking about the Bar, and for my own good. I'll sit too long and think of something that I said wrong or forgot to say (like at my massage), and then I'll just stress out. There's been times where I've just cried myself to sleep because I keep thinking about everything that I could've, should've, would've done better. 

Putting the Bar behind you

I don't write all this to say I feel depressed because I definitely don't feel that extreme, but I do feel kinda like the mean reds that Holly Golightly talks about. Like I said, I haven't figured out exactly how to feel all "well if I fail, I fail." Here's what has helped.

Having a friend who understands that they don't understand – This was one of my biggest pet peeves when people would try to relate to my struggle when they haven't taken the Bar because TBH they don't know what it's actually like. One of my friends had to take a licensing exam so she has been so understanding and doesn't try to pretend like she knows exactly how I feel. 

Having a friend who doesn't undermine your stress – This is another big annoyance. It can be really hard when you're sitting there beating yourself up over a test and someone comes up to you and goes "oh it's just a test!" Like hi um excuse me do you have $100,000 in debt and your entire future riding on this test?? Feels like more than just a test to me, feels like my entire future but ya know, NBD. 

Another annoyance is when people tell me "oh you're smart I'm sure you'll pass."  So basically this adds another stress to me because if I do fail, now what you're basically saying is that in addition to that I'm obviously stupid? These things don't help, so please don't say them to your friends.

Having a friend who doesn't try to help – The great thing about Ryan is that I can be honest with him and tell him to try not to help (as seen in my last example). I told him not to try to say anything because nothing will help and instead to just hold me when I cry over it and send me cute kitty videos when I get too sucked in to thinking about it. It's just nice to have someone to vent to without having to have them be like oh yeah I know what's like when clearly they don't. 

Not talking about it – I know like every therapist ever will tell you that talking about your problems makes them seem less, but I don't think that's exactly true with the Bar. See, every time I start to think about it, I just start spiraling down thinking about how I should've prepped more in between the exams or should've wrote something more on that question that I didn't know the answer to. 

It's just easier to remind yourself that thinking about it won't affect the outcome and to think about other things you can control, like how clean your apartment is or how often you work out. My plan is just to try to distract myself for these next three months so I can try to stay calm (which is partly why I'm not blogging about the Bar, except for this post obviously). 

Hopefully all the stress will pay off but until November, don't mind me spending hours watching videos of little kittens being cute. And if you're in the same boat as me, let's just all agree that the Bar exam never happened. Okay? K. 

August 13, 2018

Law School Questions and Answers

Questions about law school answered by a real law student. Advice on applying to law school, advice and tips for a 1L, advice and tips for a 2L, answers about the bar exam. law school blog. law student blogger |

Well, well, well. My first post-Bar blog! I'm not quite ready to blog about that until I get my results so instead today I'm sharing some answers to questions I got on Instagram over the weekend and elaborating a little more. Also, you might notice that the 0L/1L/2L/3L tabs at the top are a lot more user friendly so while I haven't been blogging lately, I have still been working on it for y'all! I didn't give much notice before doing the Insta Q&A so if you missed out on that, feel free to comment below or use the "questions and suggestions" box on the bottom right!

First of all, make sure you're making an informed decision on law school.

Second, once you know this is what you want, start studying for the LSAT. I suggest you do this in the summer so your GPA doesn't slip from you trying to multitask. And make an informed decision on whether you want to retake the LSAT.

Third, start the application process.

Fourth, decide on a school.

Fifth, prepare for law school.

My tip for using supplements is to remember that they're just that– supplements! If you eat an orange every day then you don't need to take a Vitamin C supplement and if you feel like you understand your classes then you don't need a supplement. Wait a few months to see how you're doing in classes before you spend money on a book that you probably won't even have time to read. That being said, I do believe that they can really help make sure you're prepared for finals.

I actually have several posts on time management that go more in-depth on these answers so I'm just going to link them all for y'all.

A breakdown of my schedule as a 1L and 2L 

Friendships in law school can be tricky because at times you'll need to prioritize getting readings done over hanging out or chatting with friends, but also it's really important that you don't let law school ruin all of your friendships. Make time for the things that are important to you in life!

As you just read, I actually didn't use a binder system so they're definitely not necessary, but my friend did and she found it really helped her for finals. I say go ahead and try it and then if it's not working for you then don't feel guilty abandoning it.

Oh the first day as a transfer student can be so weird! You have the confidence of a 2L because you've survived a year of law school already, but also have the insecurities of a 1L because you know nothing about your new school. I highly recommend seeking out a friendly face in your first class of your first day so you won't spend all day wandering around lost. And by the end of the first week or so maybe you'll have noticed the same person in a few of your classes and that's also a good person to befriend because they can be your study buddy. 

In fact, the girl that I sat by in my very first class at my new school also happened to sit by me at graduation because our last names were in alphabetical order so it was perfect that she'd by my side through the end.

I wish I would've started job hunting a lot earlier my 2L year. Because I transferred I waited until we got our grades back since I technically didn't have a GPA or transcript, which was so dumb and I could have just used my old school stats. In the end I did land a paying internship which was nice but I do wish I could've found an internship that gave me more opportunities to gain experience.

Related: The differences between 1L and 2L year and How to find legal internships 

However, one thing I don't regret is getting really involved in pro bono my 2L year. Not only did this make sure that I met my school's requirement to graduate, but I learned a lot helping with that and I'm so glad that I did.

Related: Where to find pro bono opportunities and How to squeeze pro bono time into a busy schedule

You spend your entire 1L year just trying to survive, but once you get to be a 2L I think your focus should be on building upon the previous year and always striving to be better.

Secondly, I do wish I had got the MPRE out of the way earlier since I had to study for that during November of my 3L year when I should've been using that time to study for finals.

I felt like my first semester of law school was like 2L year all over again but the last semester gets hectic fast. Graduation planning, Bar prep planning, and job hunting all kinda happen at once. I do wish I would've put more effort into job hunting because then I could be getting paid right now, which would be nice. 

Luckily, I didn't have any finals my last semester so I didn't go from taking a final on a Thursday, graduating that Saturday, and starting Bar prep the following Monday, but that's not an unusual order. Try to make your last semester easy classes and hopefully early finals so that you can get a little mental break before starting Bar prep.

These answers are short and I don't have a lot to say here because I want to wait until I get my results to do those posts. So although I don't want to write Bar posts, I do have a lot of posts planned and outlined out about all of these questions so those will be coming eventually. Check back here in November!

Since I did go to 2 different law schools, I'm planning on doing a guide for both San Antonio (St. Mary's) and Lubbock (Texas Tech) this semester. But for now, this will have to do since I'm sure most of you aren't going to those 2 schools.