I was so excited when so many of you said you’d love to see a day in the life post. I feel like bar review is a very unique time and if you aren’t a law student or lawyer or related to or close friends with one, you have no idea how intense it is (or how miserable). People keep asking if that’s “all” I’m doing this summer. LoLz. Uhm, yeah that’s “all.” Allll day every day. So first, let’s hit a little background.
About the bar exam: The bar exam is a test you have to take to become licensed to practice law. Aka, if you fail the exam (a non-negligible percent do), you don’t get to be a lawyer. You can retake it, but it’s only offered twice a year, and if you are like me, your job offer is contingent on passing, so yeah, it’s a big deal. The test is two full days at the end of July, and graduating law students spend all of their time between graduation and test day studying. In Massachusetts, for example, over 20 areas of law are tested, most of which you will not have covered in law school (it’s impossible to take every class on the bar). And if you’re taking the test in a different state from where you attended school (like me), you’re learning all the state specific law for the first time. So it’s like studying for 25 finals at the same time, only if you do badly you don’t get a bad grade, you get a ruined future. Yay?
About bar review: Bar review is a course that law students take throughout the summer to prepare. It is virtually impossible to pass the bar exam without bar review at this point, so I don’t know a single person not taking a course.
All up to speed? Ok cool, here’s a day in my life: yesterday, Wednesday, June 11th.
5:15am – Up an at ’em. This has become my standard wake up time, no alarm required. The sunshine and birds chirping are all I need. And the anxiety, obvs.
5:30am – Read blogs. I keep trying to get this to under an hour but it just isn’t happening. At least it’s a low key way to start the day!
6:30am – Make some tea and start my lecture video (yesterday was criminal law). This is why I love doing home study for the bar. Otherwise, I’d have to get ready for the day and truck into the city to sit in a room with a bunch of people and watch the video all together. And it wouldn’t start until like 9:00. No thanks.
Each subject gets 1-3 days total and then that’s it, you move on to the next subject area, so it’s a LOT of information.
6:50am – Quick break to say good morning to Johnny 🙂
7:45am – First real break. The lectures have breaks built in roughly every hour to walk around, etc. Sometimes I push through them or take breaks at different times, but I like to use this time to at least stand up and walk around for a bit since prolonged sitting is terrible for your health!
9:00am – Time for another break and some breakfast. Brain. Needs. Food.
9:07am – Back to the lecture
10:00am – This was super random but one of my brothers was passing through so he stopped by to see our new place and say hi. Definitely not a normal day but a very nice study break, complete with a green smoothie because I’m obsessed with my current recipe. 🙂 I got back to work around 10:30.
11:45am – Even though I prefer (early) morning workouts, I also like to use them to break up the day sometimes (plus it’s nice to get an early start on lectures because I feel more productive). So once the lecture ended I got ready and headed out to lift legs and run with John.
1:15pm – Back from the workout, hop in the shower and then have lunch – salad plus leftover enchilada, yum!
Just after 2pm – Head out on the porch to work on practice problems. Day one of the bar exam is the Mult-State Bar Exam and it is all multiple choice questions, so practice problems are a big part of the study strategy, which works for me since I learn really well that way.
I love working out here because it’s pretty and peaceful and there are almost no distractions.
3:00pm – Back inside to do some review based on the practice questions I got wrong and get to work on making flashcards. Note: During law school, I felt like my whole life was highlighters. Now, it’s flashcards.
4:10pm – Mini break for some restorative yoga. I’m nursing a few aches and pains right now from over-stretching muscles and don’t want to aggravate them, but I still like to get some yoga in during the day to keep calm and get my head in the right place before I do anything graded, in this case, an essay.
(yes this is an old picture but I like it and I did legs up a wall so close enough!)
4:30pm – Start my timed essay. Day two of the bar exam is all essays in Massachusetts, 10 total (5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon), which is 36 minutes per essay. Trust me when I say that is NOT a lot of time for how complex these questions are. Luckily my course allows you to submit essays for grading so you can identify areas to improve. Unluckily my scores have been abysmal so far and have been the source of most of my bar review-related tears. This one was no exception. Days without a bar-induced meltdown:
5:15pm – Shake it off after reviewing the model essay answer and realizing how far I still need to go and move on to previewing material for tomorrow. Because each day essentially crams an entire semester’s worth of material into a single day there is a ton to learn, so previewing the material is recommended to help you absorb it better the next day.
5:45pm – Quick break for a well-timed post-meltdown call from my dad. <3 Thinking out loud about areas where I’m struggling and hearing his objective non-lawyer feedback got me refocused on fixing the problem instead of wallowing in ohmygodimgoingtofail pity.
Just before 7:00pm – Break for dinner. John has been awesome about taking over some of the cooking. He is the best!
7:25pm – Back to work writing flashcards and reviewing, complete with a much needed glass of wine.
At night I take things a little less seriously and sometimes divide my attention with the TV, gchat with friends, or emails. I’m much more of a morning person so it’s not particularly effective for me to be trying to memorize things or do practice problems at night, my brain has already started to shut off.
8:45pm – Ten minute break to take a few yoga pictures that I forgot to take earlier in the day – whoops!
9:15pm – Finished with studying for the day! Time to import pictures for this post and add the final touches.
9:45pm – Done with the post! Time to snuggle a bit with John, get ready for bed, read a little Harry Potter to decompress my brain, and go to sleep to start it all again tomorrow!
Questions: Was this as boring as you expected? Is my anxiety leaping off the page or did I keep it under control? Do you know people who survived this process and became lawyers? Better yet, do you know any idiot lawyers, if they can do it, I can too right?