Everybody wants a thrilllll ?
You’re probably wondering what the heck an ’80s rock band has to do with Bar Prep. While working through the horror that was the seven+ weeks following graduation, I realized there is surprisingly a lot. Now, it could just be because I was spent my first few years living in a frat house with my college-aged parents, but ’80s songs are a point of reference for almost any occasion in my house, with Journey easily being the most popular band. Below are 6 Journey songs to help you through the next few weeks.
- Who’s Crying Now?
Hopefully you aren’t the one crying now… But if you are, I am almost positive you are not alone. The Bar Exam is one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever encounter. It is three days of nonstop testing with a thousand of your closest friends. You spend months shoving more information into your brain than you even knew was possible and by the end of it, you are totally and completely spent. So, how can Journey help with this problem? Stop focusing on the daunting task that lies ahead and focus on the right now. You have weeks to prepare. You have been working towards this for years. You have made it this far.
Staying grounded in reality is one of the best ways to prevent anxiety before it starts. Instead of getting caught up in the emotional aspect of the exam, remember how far you have come. You were once a little baby 1L who didn’t know a tort from a breach of contract, but right now you are studying several subjects at once and killing it! Even if you don’t feel like you are producing your best work, I would bet good money that it’s better than it was a few years, months, weeks, DAYS ago. So who is crying right now? Hopefully not you, but even it is, you are still lightyears ahead of where you have been.
- Be Good to Yourself
Studying is one of those things I am either completely into or completely ignoring. When I get into a good space, nothing can stop me – not hunger, thirst, dinner plans, or sometimes even a level 10 need to shower. Once I got into the swing of things (plz see my last post lol), Bar Prep was one of those situations. Early on, I was all about my schedule and nothing else. I wouldn’t take a lunch break until exactly noon and I needed to finish my water bottle 30 minutes before that, or risk an “unnecessary” bathroom trip. It didn’t take long for me to become totally burnt out and thus useless. As I sat in my bedroom one night after a particularly rough day of MBE questions (read “crying”), I realized something had to give. I didn’t want to remain miserable for the next two months and more than that I couldn’t stay that way.
After some tinkering, I found a solution that worked for me. Monday through Friday was all Bar Prep, 8 am to 3 pm. In the afternoons, I enjoyed way too much reality television and over the weekends I watched at least one movie at the theatre. It seems like a small thing but I am convinced these actions saved what very little was left of my sanity. I have always enjoyed films and trying to avoid all the latest blockbusters while studying was miserable, so I stopped. The reality TV was less about what I enjoyed and more about what my brain could handle. Have you ever tried to watch “Lost” after a day of cramming? Yeah, not gonna happen. If you need some reality TV recommendations… Hit me up 😉 If movies or TV programs aren’t your thing, find out what is! You can draw, listen to music, go out with your friends, pretty much anything. The only rule: NO BAR TALK. Figure out what your Pre-Bar Brain enjoys and get out there – be good to yourself.
- Can’t Tame the Lion
Along those same lines, make sure you are taking care of your body. It can be easy to forget about the little things like drinking enough water and keeping your blood sugar levels steady. I suggest creating some type of system for tracking both, whether that be keeping a schedule or writing things down or some other way. These simple repetitions take the guesswork out of your day. What are you going to drink? Two bottles of water before lunch, one after lunch. What are you going to eat? The PB&J you packed last night and some M&Ms for fun. If you haven’t started already, meal prepping the night before can be a HUGE stress reliever. Even a meal as simple as that PB&J can make all the difference; knowing you don’t have to think about one more thing.
It’s inevitable to feel stressed during Bar Prep, but doing what you can to alleviate that stress can mean your passing or failing in July. Keeping your body properly fueled is the first step, but it is best utilized when coupled with some form of exercise. I am sure you are sick and tired of hearing this, but exercise is a great stress reliever. As a fairly uncoordinated person myself, I usually dread going to the gym. However, during Bar Prep it was one of the few things keeping me going. I looked forward to moving some heavy weights and getting some time to myself, without a professor lecturing me or Adaptibar telling me I was wrong. Some days I completely unplugged during my workout. Other days I took a short sheet of information to memorize between sets. I also developed an appreciation for meditation podcasts, which helped me to unwind post-workout. Whether you enjoy weight training or Bikram yoga, remember that even the Bar can’t tame the lion (you!).
- I’m Gonna Leave You
Get enough sleep. Turn off your phone. Tell your mom you will text her later. Don’t worry about social media. Let your friends know you are alive, but unavailable. Close your little eyes and get your little Zzzs. That is all.
- Feeling That Way
One thing I found most helpful during law school and Bar Prep was taking supplements to keep my body performing at its highest level. I have written about this before, but my favorites include: caffeine pills for those days when waking up seems like the biggest chore, garlic for strengthening your immune system (stress is horrible on your body), and fish oils to encourage peak cognitive function. I also used essential oils almost daily to help focus (lemon & peppermint) and relax (lavender). If you would like more information about these or any other supplement or essential oil, let me know!
- Don’t Stop Believing
Of course, I saved the best song for last. The most important thing Journey can teach us about Bar Prep is to never stop believing – in yourself or your skills. You are working your ass off right now. I know it, you know it. Your dedication and perseverance do not go unnoticed. You have made so many people so proud by making it this far, and no matter the outcome in July, their pride and appreciation won’t be any less. It can be easy to get swept up in the drama around you, but remember your self worth does not come from your results on a stupid standardized test. It took me reminding myself of that nearly every day, but by the time the Bar came around, I was actually starting to believe it and after two+ months of anxiously waiting for results I still kinda thought it was true (lol). No matter what score you get on your practice exam or how many points you are missing on your essays, don’t stop believing. There are SO many resources and so many people out there willing to support you – myself included. If you need a pep talk, tutoring, or even just a bitch session, remember that I am here and more than willing to stand by you 🙂
I won’t stop believing in you, so you can’t either.