After the Bar
July is over, and so is another Bar exam. For those who participated in the 1 to 3 day marathon, our congratulations to you for crossing the finish line. With so much anticipation leading up to the exam, its logistics---including but not limited to laptop registration, identifying what you can and can't bring, and remembering which seat you're assigned to in the sea of desks of chairs--and any follow-up, now that the Bar is a past-tense situation you may find yourself wondering, what next.
Post-Bar is the secret that no one really talks about.
After the Bar exam that you could barely conceive ever being done with, the time after can be ambiguous, reflective, a little frustrating, and a smorgasbord of emotions. You're glad you're done. You don't know how you did. You have been comparing stories---it makes you feel better to know others felt the same way, but that's not how you answered the question. You want to find a job. You don't want to be locked down. And now, you have to just wait it out...for four months to find out the results.
You may have taken a prep class that instructed you on how to spend every minute of every day leading up to the exam. Now, you're finding yourself a little lost on what to do after you wake up. You may have even taken one of your old Bar prep schedules and replaced entries like "Do 50 timed multistate questions" with "brush your teeth" just to help yourself transition from pre-Bar to post-Bar life.
Don't worry, we have some tips to help prepare you for this unique, extended waiting period...part of the rite of passage to entering attorneyhood:
1. Take a Trip: With travel deals abound, it might be just the time to explore a destination hotspot, lounge on a tropical beach, and otherwise deliberately take yourself out of your Bar-studying surroundings so your apartment can turn back into the place you live and feel a little less like a 24-hours Starbucks.
2. Socialize: Whether that means discovering the 'other bar' or just answering your calls again, since you've been living in a cave for the past few months you may need to make a concerted effort to stop acting like, well a recluse caveman. Start with an email or tweet, progress to a dinner with friends or pickup basketball, soon enough we know you'll be back to dancing on tables and swinging on vines, just like the good old days.
3. Sleep: The exam has some interesting side effects. One is stepping up the examinee's ability to sleep. Like a log. For hours. Or days. If you don't have to report into work, or catch a flight (see #1), then pull the blinds and enjoy your zzz's.
4. Jump: You may have a lot of pent-up energy and a desire to turn your attention to a new project. So jump on it. Whether it is taking that cake decorating class you always wanted to or sending out a few resumes, immerse yourself in something new and un-Bar related. You may be surprised that in the months between now and results that your priorities, goals, or focus may shift too. The journey is the destination, or so they say.
5. Plan B: Tougher than not passing is feeling lousy about the exam and then waiting four months to find out you didn't hit the magic number. Over the course of taking the Bar you probably noticed that like any other of the umpteen others you've taken, it is, at the end of the day, another test. It may be bigger, badder, and meaner than other tests that you've had to take to get to this point; but it is conquerable. If it makes you feel better, come up with a Plan B. And when you're ready it will be there to take again.
Wherever you end up doing after the Bar, you're done. enjoy it.