The Magic and Panic of Post-Bar Life
If you took the February Bar, I have one thing to say–CONGRATULATIONS! YOU DID IT!
Ok, I actually have more than one thing to say (obvi). It is such a relief to be done but the reality is that even after putting in all that work, you don’t know the results for weeks and the anxiety of what if can really drag you down. Life post-bar is filled with both the magic of what is possible–your entire career ahead of you. And the panic, “what if I didn’t pass?”
It’s a horrible predicament. I remember, still, the weeks after the test where I’d have moments so excited about what life would be like as a lawyer–finally–and then the next second remembering an answer that I was sure was wrong and what financial and emotional turmoil that would toss me into if I didn’t pass.
Alright so how can you manage these emotions so you’re not overwhelmed with the unknown? While it’s impossible to keep the negative thoughts out, there are some ways to cope:
One. Celebrate now! Without even knowing your results, you deserve to celebrate this milestone and what it means. Getting to sit for the bar exam is a major accomplishment. It means that you had faith in your ability and talent. That you invested in your future. That you had support systems that encouraged you–or despite the lack of support, you did it anyway. The decision, at this moment, does not matter. You should celebrate your hard work, discipline, and faith in yourself.
Two. Plan next steps. Just because your bar admissions committee has you in limbo doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Start planning your next steps as if your license is guaranteed. Search for jobs to get your interview process started. Already have a job? Great, go in and kick ass undeterred. Apply, network, be participatory at your job so you can build relationships with more experienced lawyers in your firm. Regardless of your results, the progress you make now can help you in the long run.
Three. Distract yourself. I know it’s easy for me to say to not worry. To stop worrying. I mean, you really can’t. There will be dread. And you may express it to others who will dismiss your concern, which adds to the frustration. It’s tough. You’ll also think about the exam and your answers. Lots of “oh nos” or “should haves,” …but you don’t know the results yet so there’s no point on dwelling. Look, in one of my answers I know for a fact I used the wrong test for a con law question–I just could not remember the right test. So I used rational basis. I was certain that would do me in, but it didn’t! That’s because so many other factors go into grading beyond the “right” answer. Don’t write yourself off just because you “know” you didn’t do it right. But again, I know there’s so much riding on this-it’s normal to worry. But take deep breathes. When you recognize that your spiraling remind yourself that you did your best and distract yourself.
Good luck as you wait for the results, but more important CONGRATULATIONS!!
Now please, go celebrate!!