Susan Smith Blakely

Best Friends at the Bar: Law School Exams Are Upon You. Good Luck To All Young Women Law Students.

Editor's Note:  Ms. JD is excited to announce that Susan Smith Blakely, author of Best Friends at the Bar, will be speaking at Ms. JD: She Leadson October 5, 2012. This post originally appeared on the Best Friends at the Bar blog on April 23, 2011.

Here we are again with law school exams looming on the horizon.  I know this is not a favorite time of year for law students—-or for their families, for that matter.  As one significant other told me recently, “I always look forward to this time of year when I will be told not to talk to her or make a noise in the apartment for at least three weeks!”  Tongue in cheek, of course, but basically true.

You all dread exams, but I suggest that you be philosophical about it.  Yes, it is pure misery to face the library on a near 24/7 schedule, prepare those lengthy outlines, commit them to memory and then try to psyche out what the prof is likely to ask about.  Slave labor and tricks is what a lot of it seems to be.  But, when you peel off those layers of fatigue and misery and self-sacrifice—and the layer of guilt that might be there because you have procrastinated about this inevitable exam period for too long—-what you really find is preparation for the bar exam.  You can prepare early or late for that all-defining test, and you are better to prepare early.  Learn it well now and refresh your memory later.  It will be so much easier, and, in most cases, so much more effective.

There is another reason that you should be philosophical about exams.  Sure, it is an approximate three weeks of misery—-I keep saying this so that you DO understand that I feel your pain and I am not so far removed from it to have forgotten. But, why would you ever admit to not being up to the challenge.  You paid for this education, right?  And you will keep paying for this education for a long time to come, right?  So, if you are not committed enough, wise enough, and strong enough to dedicated three weeks to the process of learning the most you can and performing the best you can, maybe you are in the wrong line of work.  After all, it is only three weeks.  I can’t imagine being able to put on my makeup in the morning or shave—if I was guy—and face the image in the mirror if I could not be that dedicated.  So, buck up and remember that it is all an investment in your future.  “Be the best you can be” never gets old.

AND, better yet, just think of the opportunity to celebrate at the end!  The more the suffering, the better the celebration, that is what I always say.

Good luck on those exams, and I will see you on the sunnier side!

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