Life Happens, Even When Studying for the Bar

The Law School Academic Support blog always has much wisdom to share, and its most recent post is no exception: The Inevitable Roller Coaster: Bar Review. All of it is worth reading, and I hope you will, but I wanted to highlight this section:

Life Happens

At a bar exam program presented several years ago, a speaker announced that everything that can go wrong will go wrong during bar review and everything you have ever wanted to do will become a possibility during bar review. She continued that bar review is only a few weeks and months out of your entire life and you will likely have the opportunity to experience many of the things you miss out on at some point in the future. Over the years, I note that Bar Studiers experience a range of life occurrences including: death in the family, breakups with significant others and spouses, issues with character and fitness on the bar application, car accidents, financial challenges (even with planning), lack of food, familial demands and expectations, emotional and physical impact of socio-political events, and much more. Life does not simply stop because you are studying for the bar exam. You will have both good days and not so good days and your reaction to and feelings about everything will be amplified.

You might waste a day or a half a day attending to real life situations and that is okay and necessary but it does not mean that you will be unable to complete your preparation for this exam. If however, life completely takes over and when you assess the situation you recognize that you are unable to sustain the pace and expectations of bar review then you might want to have a conversation with someone. You want to discuss alternatives or develop a new game plan to achieve your goals. Be open and honest with yourself and those helping you. (emphasis added).

I believe you still have time to readjust your bar study schedule now for success on the bar exam in July. But please do not avoid having this honest conversation with yourself. Avoiding the issue will not solve it. Addressing the issue by taking concrete action is likely to solve it, at this point in time. At some point soon, that window may close. Don’t take that risk — assess what’s going on with your life and bar readiness now, and you will improve your odds of success!

You Made It!

By the time you read this post, if you took a bar exam this week, you will be done. Wow. I know most of you are just heaving a sigh of relief that it’s over. Now begins the long wait for results, which don’t come out until the fall: in Georgia, the end of October. What can you do in the meantime?

Well, you can’t do anything more about the bar exam for now. You’ve given it your very best shot, and you have earned a break. Here is some excellent guidance from the Law School Academic Support blog: Congratulations To You (and a few tips while waiting for results). As Prof. Johns writes, many well-meaning people will tell you to relax, you’ve passed. And it may not feel that way to you. I suggest that you take the first part of their advice: relax. Don’t ruminate. Get LOTS of sleep and lots of time with friends, family, loved ones. Do some of those summer things you’ve been putting off, whatever they are: vacation, staycation, new book, old hobby, etc.

We’re proud of all the hard work you did to get to this point. Have a GREAT weekend!

Award-Winning Bar Advice — and Food Truck!

Healthy brain food graphic

The publication Texas Bar Today gives awards for law-related blog posts, and this academic support blog post was a recent winner! It’s great advice, so I share it with you: Bar Review Learning: What Happens in Lectures …

We look forward to seeing those of you who are in Atlanta today at 1 pm to enjoy a nutritious lunch from the Blaxican food truck! I’m not sure you can quite call it brain food, but the owner calls it Mexican soul food, and good nutrition does support better academic performance, which is good for the soul. This Atlanta-based food truck has won many food truck awards, including best in the US in 2015. Get a ticket voucher and an Emory Law bar readiness swag bag from Tanisha Pinkins 16L, Sei Yoshioka-Cefalo, or Jennie Geada Fernandez 03L, in Gambrell Hall. The food truck will be on the surface parking lot behind the law school from 1-2:30 pm, for this week’s “Well-Balanced Wednesday”. And for the rest of your bar study period, here’s a list of healthy, easy-to-find brain food snacks in addition to those pictured below, and here is another list with recipes. Enjoy!

Brain food; https://memory.foundation/2015/05/18/brain-food-recipes/

Top image from www.snacknation.com.

Obstacles to Bar Readiness: Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse

The legal profession and legal education are increasingly willing to acknowledge that many of their participants struggle with disorders that undermine their personal and academic goals. Prominent among those are depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Sometimes those “travel” together.

If you are a law student, chances are high that you or a friend may suffer from one or more of these challenges, according to a recent in-depth study of law student wellbeing: Twenty-Five Percent of Law Students Have Been Diagnosed With Depression, Disorders and Other Mental Illnesses.

You don’t have to suffer in silence, and you shouldn’t. Please seek help from your law school, from your campus counseling center, from Student Health Services, from your state’s Lawyer Assistance Program — wherever you feel comfortable getting help. The sooner you take care of these issues and take care of yourself, the better you will feel and the better you are likely to do academically and on the bar exam that lies ahead. It is normal to feel anxious about law school and the bar, but there is so much you can do to lessen that anxiety and set yourself up for success. Let us know how we can help!