By Joanne Wilson • May 22, 2013•Bar Exam
So a friend of mine wrote me the other day panicking because she felt on day three of bar prep that she was already behind. It hit me like a ton of bricks to hear that because I remember that feeling. I remember feeling like I was unable to get everything done. My first week I felt like I couldn't catch up to where I felt I should have been no matter how hard I tried. I cried over it to the point my cheeks were raw.
But to feel behind is normal.
It took for the someone at Kaplan to call me for me to realize EVERYONE feels that way. Even after that call it was a daily argument that I had with myself. Right now all you see is the massive amount of information you need to learn and it is terrifying you. But you are failing to see that you have 11 weeks which is a substantial amount of time to get everything done.
Think about it for a moment: 11 weeks is a LONG time. Still not convinced? Let's look at it a different way. That's almost an entire trimester of pregnancy. It's longer than March Madness. Some television shows don't even last that long (like every television show I enjoy).
I found one of the main reasons I was panicking over whether I was behind was because I was hearing from others about how were studying. Any time that I stopped on campus someone had a story about how THEIR friend wasn't taking a break but instead was studying 15 hours a day in the library with no breaks and no food. Their friend was going to pass the bar, they insisted. If you don't get in from someone in person, they'll plaster it on Facebook and Twitter about just how much progress they have made. If it is not the friends of other bar prep students, it will be the students themselves. People are going to brag about how much they've done. And you're going to see it or hear it and it may get to you.
It sure got to me. I frequently would be found by friends or loved ones crying about how far behind I was compared to someone else.
But remember: it's all a show.
They're trying to feel better about their work and they feel the need to put it into the atmosphere so others will support them. Sure, it might be true, they might be ahead of you. But I found during law school that people always exaggerated their grades and studying. Grades proved that theory and so did that list of graduates at hooding that showed who had graduated with honors and who didn't.
So when you see what others are doing just say "Who cares?" I told myself they were all lies, regardless, because I needed to feel ok with what I was doing.
This is your journey, your battle. Don't compare yourself to others. It's not worth the aggravation.
You do what you can in a day. Don't try to work 24/7 because you will either get sick or break down. Get a good nights sleep. These are all critical to your success. If you deprive yourself the recovery time of breaks and sleep you put yourself in not just danger of not passing the bar but doing long term damage to your body. It's just an exam: it's not worth sacrificing your health.
But one of the most important things you need to remember is that you're just starting bar prep. You're a beginner. You aren't going to know everything on day one, two or even three. This is a process that takes 11 weeks for a reason. If it could be done in three days then bar prep would not feel like another semester of law school.
You're ok. You aren't behind. You have 11 weeks. This is just the beginning and everyone feels the same way. This is normal. Just keep going.