By K Hernan • April 28, 2008•Advice on Passing the Bar Exam
Study challenges; what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.
I studied for and took the bar exam in a city other than where I went to law school. The local law school libraries were not all that convenient or close to my house and all three are private schools that I wasn’t familiar with. Therefore, I decided to study primarily in public libraries. This presented unique challenges, all of which are able to be overcome. I’ll share some of the pros and cons of studying in public libraries here in case any readers find themselves in a similar situation:
- you won’t see any other bar studiers there
- you won’t see any law school friends there so you’ll avoid the distractions that are friends
- close to home
- no distractions of home: refrigerator, tv, neighbors, laundry, etc
- limited hours – public libraries usually close pretty early in the evening; this was actually a big challenge for me that entailed keeping track of all the random hours of the libraries near me so that I knew where I could go study depending on the day of the week and time
- noise – my public libraries have a lot of events in the summer like public speakers, kids’ events, musical performances, etc
- loitering, especially by homeless people in my area
- intermittent internet connection
- lack of privacy and having to share tables
I was able to make it work and spent most of my time studying in the public libraries in my area but had to balance the concerns listed above.
Another thing that I'd like to point out about studying for the bar in a different city than where you went to law school -- it is very lonely. I didn't know anyone in my BarBri class, I didn't have any fellow studiers to take breaks with or talk to about the program. Sure I had family and friends in the area, but I pretty much limited contact with them during my study time and even when I did take time with them, they couldn't begin to understand what I was going through. I did make shallow friendships with the people that I regularly sat near in BarBri but we never got too far past, "how are you" each day. My point is, be ready for solitude, its hard. I remember full days passing by without talking to anyone. This was tough and a little depressing for me.