Saturday, July 17, 2010

Please stop telling me I'm going to pass the Bar.

I am not a panicker. I never have been. I'm a major proponent of the Seriously Just Chill The Hell Out school of major life event prep, and I've been known on more than one occasion to tell 1Ls, OLs, and everyone else who will listen that they need to stop taking life quite so seriously. But right now? I'm panicking. Ten days till the bar exam, and every time I start to think about it, I feel like I may break out in hives.

I suspect this is the case for most of my fellow test-takers. Yes, we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. But also? Even for the most chill among us, this is A Really Big Fucking Deal. $100,000 in loan debt and three years later, this is the test that will determine whether we actually get to be a lawyer. And no, 2Ls, I am sorry to inform you: that $100,000 that you'll be paying off till you're 50 did nothing to actually prepare you for this exam. So here, in this 2 1/2 month timeline, you must cram everything there is to know about this state's law into your head, and hope that most of it sticks come exam time. It's an extraordinary amount of pressure, akin to nothing else I have done in life.

To varying degrees of certainty, we all think we're going to fail. One good friend of mine called his mother this week, to tell her he thought maybe he should just give up now. Clearly, he wasn't going to pass, and it seemed like a waste to ruin the last few days of his summer working for something he wasn't going to get. Another friend has been waking up in a panic for nights on end, because she keeps having nightmares about the MBE.

If you've not studied for the bar exam, this may not make sense to you. It's just a test, after all. And that's true. If you don't pass, well, you'll take it again. Perhaps I'm an unreliable narrator, being in the thick of it myself (and having just had a hyperventilating panic attack because no. I do not have 45 minutes to make dinner. Must. Study. More.), but I have to reassure my readers who are not in the thick of it: these are not neurotic people. These are normally sane, sweet people, who have a great sense of humor about themselves. People who are B students not because they can't hack it, but because sometimes, it's sunny out, and going golfing seems like a better idea than Tax. We are not, generally speaking, panickers.

Still, to a (wo)man, we're all pretty sure we're going to fail.

When I say to you, "I am going to fail the bar," I don't mean it the way a nerdy college sophomore proclaims "omg! I am totally going to fail this chem exam." I don't mean that I might get a C, or I might not be the smartest kid in the room. I mean that, come November, I. Might. Fail. The. Bar. In fact, there's a 50% likelihood that I will. When I tell you that I think I am going to fail, I'm not saying it because I need affirmation that I won't. I'm not kidding. I'm not over-reacting. When I say that, I'm trying to warn you of what might come.

Darwin asked me a few days ago if I would check to see if some of my Least Favorites from law school had passed the bar. Surprisingly, I found myself answering in the negative. Let's make no mistake. I am a mean, spiteful person, who on more than one occasion has wished that members of my class got hit by a bus. I'm not nice. But this experience? It's so miserable, I don't even have the heart to wish it on someone else.

Here's the horrifying thing about bar results: they're spectacularly public. Unlike the LSAT, you can't hide out, and pretend that your score wasn't totally shameful, or that you aren't studying for the test, or that you didn't really care. You do care. Unless you live in a cave, everyone knows that you're studying for an exam, because you look haggard, miserable, and short tempered, and they never see you anymore. The list of bar passers is publicly posted. So, when the final results come out (in California, that's November: just in time to ruin both Thanksgiving and Christmas), and your name isn't on that very public list, everyone knows. In that one epic moment, it's awfully hard to get away from the nagging conviction that's been chasing you all summer: You're not as smart as you thought. You're not as smart as anyone thought. You're a failure.

Now, lots of smart people fail the bar exam. For a variety of reasons, it happens. These people are not failures. I can look at these people---people who I know and respect, and consider them bright, competent, amazing attorneys. The younger ones, I love and respect. I don't think they're idiots. For the older ones, it's a war wound, and a mark of character: proof that they really do "get" the real world. But if I don't pass? You guessed it. I'm a failure. Nobody said this psychology made sense.

The non-lawyerly types won't check the bar passers list, of course. Probably. But they will ask, with gleeful anticipation, if you've gotten your results in. And they're happy to ask, because these well-meaning family members and friends really do believe that you will pass, and their faith in you will be vindicated. Here's the trouble with that, though: if you've been saying, over and over again "Oh don't be silly! You'll pass!", when I have to face facts with you that I, in fact, did not pass, I'm going to have to face that ominous and awkward silence, followed by your condolences. I will then have to have this conversation with every person who asks.

And here's the thing about that: there's no getting away from the fact that you failed the bar. You can't even claim that you just got desperately ill halfway through and couldn't finish, because Jan Honisberg has been telling us BarBri kids all summer about all the appendicitis-ridden, in labor, concussed bar-takers who have taken the exam and passed. This, ultimately means that not only are you a failure: you're less competent than a concussed person. Fantastic.

When I hear someone tell me, offhandedly, that oh, of course I'll pass the bar, it only increases my anxiety. I want to grab them and shake them, and explain that really, my terror is valid. I need you to understand that. If (or when) I fail, I need you to get that these things happen. I'm afraid that you're expecting too much of me, and that if I fail, your impression of me will be irreparably damaged. I don't want to fight with you about it. I really, truly, do believe that I am going to fail. If I don't, it will be by the skin of my teeth.

So, friends and family of the bar-takers: I extend my condolences to you. I know we are just miserable to be around right now. But we do need you. Not to tell us that we will pass, but to tell us that you (as Darwin so eloquently put it) have faith in us. Even if you're certain that we're out of our minds, you won't change them---to me, the specter of failing is just as real, and just as terrifying, as a child who's been left at a grocery store, convinced he's alone for good. No, your parents haven't left you forever, and no, you may be right. We may pass. But in this moment, we feel alone, and overwhelmed, and totally terrified. The bar exam is in 10 days. We don't need assurances that we'll pass, we need your help to mitigate the crazy. We're looking for damage control. Tell us you understand how we're feeling, and you think we're smart. Give us a hug.
When BarBri has robbed us of our confidence and left us as pathetic messes on the floor, tell us you believe in us. Buy us a popsicle.

And hopefully, when it's all over, you can tell us that you always knew we could do it. And if you can't? Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

114 comments:

idwsj said...

I've always found it frustrating when people say "of course you'll do great/pass/ace something" because in some respects, it demeans the difficulty of what you're doing. The offhanded slight is buttressed by good intentions, but that doesn't seem to matter.

With that, I just want to say good luck and keep grinding. That's all you can ever do.

Liz Johnson said...

I HAVE FAITH IN YOU. And you are smart. And amazing. And competent. If I were there, I would totally buy you a popsicle and even paint your toenails while you study.

YOU CAN DO IT. And if for some reason the world implodes and you (or others I love) don't pass, I'll still buy you a popsicle and paint your toenails. But I am sending you the best Bar-taking vibes I have, man.

Brittany said...

This post nearly brought me to tears. I feel the exact same way.

I also go Bs in law school because I would rather go to the movies or spend the night dancing than ruin my life over Tax, or Crim Pro, or Property. I would stress...but this is absurd. Never before have I felt like I WILL fail. C's suck... failing... there isn't even an adjective for this. I find myself hoping half the people in my state spent their summer at the lake, and then I instantly feel terrible. I hope there's no bad karma related to my irrationality.

BUT! 10 more days! I think we can survive 10 more days of Hell right? I mean, 1L year was a year long and that felt pretty bad. I have faith in us to at least survive it and stay terrified enough to keep studying at this marathon pace until the night before, when I plan to lock myself in my hotel room and watch a cheesy chick flick until I cry myself to sleep...I mean, doze off peacefully. We'll have our lives back soon enough and I'm going to try my best to love life until results come out and I find out (if) I have to do this all over again.

In the words of Jan: Don't be a puddle!

Anonymous said...

As someone who's been in your shoes, I won't tell you that you're going to pass, but I will say that you have a good shot and your chances of passing aren't just 50/50. Pass rates for first time takers, even in the toughest states, are higher than 50/50, and I think you're smarter than a great deal of your peers. You have a strong shot, but if not this time, next time. I won't tell you that you're going to pass the bar, but I WILL tell you that no matter what happens, you will be OK.

My one tip is to try staying in the "Seriously Just Chill the Hell Out" phase. The test may be "A Really Big Fucking Deal" but if you treat it the way you've treated other exams, you will be in a better place than those who treat this as THE TEST.

When you do the multistate, treat it the way you did the SAT or ACT, the LSAT, and other multiple choice somewhat big deal tests you've taken until now. Use common sense to eliminate the wrong answers where you can, and then, pick the best answer you can. There's not a penalty for guessing, so, pick an answer, and your odds go way up if you can eliminate at least one.

When you do the essay section, treat it like a class essay or a class exam. Don't sit there panicking if you don't know what the correct legal answer is or you think there's an obscure state-specific quirk that applies but you can't remember it. Instead, use whatever law school essay method you are comfortable with–IRAC, CRUPAC,IDAR, CREAC, whatever!, and form a cohesive, logical answer. If you have to make up what you think it s a reasonable rule, do it. Yes, the examiners are looking for you to get the law right, but they are also looking for good lawyering and legal reasoning. Law school doesn't prepare one for the bar, yes, but the notion of thinking like a lawyer still matters here.

If you chill out and keep your wits about you, apply common sense to the multiple choice, and think like a lawyer during the essay section, you will have as a good a chance as anyone else in that room.

fairlytypical said...

Dude, thank you for this because this is everything I've been feeling over the last two months and increasingly so in the last few days.

I legitimately feel like I am going to fail and no one seems to get that other than people who are also going through this horrible experience.

I'm not going to lie, I was "crazy must study to get good grades girl" in law school BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS. My attention span is failing, my eyes are tired, most of my dreams are bar related. I don't actually know how much studying in these last ten days is helping me but I am going to keep trying even if my ability to study and memorize is rapidly failing because I am that afraid.

I've even stopped calling my mom because she is convinced that the fact that both Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama failed the first time they took the bar means nothing for my inevitable fate. NO MOM THIS MAKES IT LIKE WOAH REAL POSSIBILITY THAT FAILING IS IN MY FUTURE!!! She is one of the "of course you'll pass!" people and it is all I can do to keep it together and not yell at her.

Sigh. But 10 more days, right? Gah!

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I took the bar exam last summer. There was a contracts question that, after about 20 of my 25 minutes, I realized I had misread or misinterpreted or misunderstood...and I was analyzing what I now knew was a counteroffer as an offer. Big oops. But with 5 minutes left, I made my logic as rational as I could. As advised by prep courses, I knew taking the time to fix that question might cost me time on a question I really could knock out of the park.
Also, remember this: in an appeal, there is always the other lawyer - the one who does not prevail and who is legally "wrong." Those lawyers are [usually] making decent arguments too. It's okay to be the other lawyer as long as you're making a good explanation. I passed even though I'll tell you I was absolutely incorrect on the law. Not surprisingly, fake it til you make it is pretty effective in lawyering :) Good luck.

Kate said...

Exactly. Could not have said it better. Now proceeding to forward it to EVERYONE - Thank you!

Legally Fabulous said...

I hear ya.

I have the opposite problem as everyone else though(which is so fucking typical of me and I want to smack myself for it). I am the world's worst procrastinator. I haven't done enough. I haven't gone over my lecture notes, I haven't done enough practice MBE's, I haven't done any practive essays.

I am at the point where I feel like I should just give up because I've procrastinated too much and there's just no way.
And then I get pissed at myself. Because HELLO?! YOU KNEW ALL SUMMER THAT THIS TEST WAS COMING UP WHY DID YOU GO OUT DRINKING INSTEAD OF STUDYING ALL JUNE?!
ugh.

so yeah, i hear ya. ugh.

Eliza said...

Everything you wrote is perfect. Having just gone through the most spectacular of melt downs, I still can't hear someone attempting to reassure me. My DH can't understand why I snap his head off every time he says "you'll pass."

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

M (notarevolution) said...

My parents keep telling me I'm going to pass with flying colors. I love them, I love the fact that they're trying to support me, but I don't want to hear that on my breaks from studying because it makes me feel ten times as panicky. I keep imagining a future where I DON'T pass. My parents have told everyone they know that I've graduated, and that I'm taking the bar this summer. I just keep imagining the shame that I'll experience if I don't pass.

Thank you for this post. I literally teared up while reading it because, while it doesn't lessen the stress any, it is a tiny bit comforting to know that someone else feels the same way and that many of us are in the exact same agonizing state.

Gwen said...

Thank you. Seriously. This is exactly how I feel, and you articulated it far better than I could have.

I feel kind of in the same boat as Legally Fabulous -- I definitey didn't do enough in June, and am now so petrified of NY essays that I don't know if I'll ever be able to pass them. But all I can do is work as hard as I can until then. I may well fail, but if I do, I don't want to fail because I gave up.

legalrabbit said...

since the LSAT is my current monster, I can't imagine having to deal with the bar exam. thanks for giving us all a heads up about the reality of post-law school. i'll be sure to look back to this post when i'm in your place!! anyways, best wishes to you!

i am just starting out a blog to chronicle my journey from 0L-3L (law school hopeful) but I'd appreciate it if you could add me to your blogroll. If you're ok with it, I'd love to add you to mine as well. Cheers!!

BadPxy said...

YES. THANK YOU. This is EXACTLY how I feel.

My grandparents: "We're sure you'll pass with flying colors, just as you've aced everything else in life." STOP. STOP WITH THE PRESSURE.

And my computer keeps freezing up. And my dog spilled water all over my phone. And my roommates keep passive-aggressively moving anything I happen to leave out on counters. And I'm only my period (TMI? At least it won't be during the exam itself.)

This is, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done.

Anonymous said...

Try this on for size. Took my first bar in July 2008, passed, and became a lawyer. Now I'm a practicing attorney. I don't have the luxury of quitting my job because loans have to be paid monthly, after all, and 60 days to default sneaks up on you. I attempted my 2nd bar in Feb and failed. The confusion on people's faces is priceless. So now I'm going for bar exam #3! I've officially passed AND failed (and lived to tell the tale)! And it could have gone either way both times.

So, YOU CAN DO IT. And if you don't, YOU WON'T DIE. I promise.

Tree Hugging Aspiring 3L said...

i've never met you.
but i heart this blog.
and i totally believe in you.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with everything. I would just add that those of us taking second bars (or more) are probably even more frustrated. After having gone through all this once, and passing, I'm studying for another jurisdiction. Having been in practice a few years, I realize how idiotic it is to have to do all this. So in addition to everything you've just said, I'm filled with rage at the fact I have to do this meaningless thing over again.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy you wrote this. I am a hybrid between OCD about studying/grades girl, and the worst procrastinator you have ever met. Not surprisingly, this is as true for bar study as it is for everything else.

I can't take any more of the "I know you will pass" people. I told my family not to be offended if I don't answer my phone until after July 28.

Katherine said...

Can I repost this on my blog?! i'm going to...so feel free to tell me to take it down!

as everyone else has said, i feel exactly the same. I tried to prepare my family for my ultimate failure....and of course i get in response "you won't fail" "you can do it" "think positive"....ok thanks. while thats all well and good, i really am telling you that i'm going to fail. not to get support, not to be told how smart i am...i'm telling you bc i don't want you to get your hopes up, be i AM going to fail.

Katie said...

I too am taking this glorious exam in 10 days, for ahem, the second time! Yes, I FAILED in Feb. Did I think my life was over and I wasn't going to get out of bed for a week? YUP, but guess what? I did get out of bed, moved on with my life, started studying again and hopefully will pass this time. I see a setback like this as something that will make me a MUCH stronger person in the future, and hopefully even more appriciative when I eventually get sworn in as a bonafied attorney! So... there is life after failure!

Butterflyfish said...

IDWSJ: That's exactly how I feel about it too

Anonymous said...

Well now I have a better idea of what my daughter's going through. Remember, it's a test...What you do AFTER the test (pass or fail) will determine where you end up in life. Ultimately, we all grade ourselves. Ugh....Getting too philosophical. Best of luck to you.

Written by a proud Poppa.

Brittany said...

I've been checking this to see what everyone else is saying about your amazing post and I have to say that I think the best advice so far is:

"So, YOU CAN DO IT. And if you don't, YOU WON'T DIE. I promise."

Cuz, sometimes I feel like I will. haha

Anonymous said...

This is so true it's not even funny. I'll bet that the author even felt guilty while writing it because that was time they could have spent actually studying.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS!!!!!! I agree completely, although I often go further. People who say "I'm sure you'll pass." make me want to lash out! WTF.... Don't pander to me with assurances that you can't back up. There is no basis for these statements. People fail the bar and these thoughtless statements aren't going to change whether i'm one of them.
Again,,, Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This. This is the truth & nothing but the truth. (oh, law jokes. you are the most depressing of all).

As someone going through this exact pain in the midwest, your post made me want to print it out on flyers and give it to family & friends. except there's no way to really do that without crossing a scary line, right?

anywho, thanks to a similarly weary soul on FB I was sent a link to your blog and now i feel heartened. or as heartened as someone 7 days from the bar can feel. godspeed, purveyor of internet humor & wit!

Anonymous said...

I can understand to an extent your points, but then again- how are people supposed to reply when you tell them "I am going to fail the bar"- maybe you should stop saying that around everbody, since you're so sick of hearing the responses? Most people don't know what to say and mean well. If you were a bit more insightful, you would understand human nature, and know these well intentioned folks are uncomfortable with your fear. Since you're broadcasting your fears, the responders are only searching for words they think will make you feel better. I think back to a time when I experienced the well intended making me feel worse- telling me when my brother passed that he "was in a better place". I get your frustrations, but like in this situation, they wanted to say something to me, and even though I thought I would scream if I heard that one more time, I understood it was better than no one acknowledging what I was going through. Just know these folks are on your side and want you to do well. If they turn thier backs on you, should you not make it the first time, then maybe they weren't the right people to be sharing your inner most feelings with.

Sarah H. said...

Daily affirmation:
I'm going to do a terrific job - I'm going to pass the Bar. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!

ImNobody said...

While your concern for my lack of insightfulness and proclivity to broadcast my fears to the world is admirable, you seem to have misunderstood the spirit of both the author and this post.

Maybe I'm oversensitive (spoiler: I am), but what I'm trying to express is not that those friends and family (who I love and value) are in the wrong---I'm trying to communicate to them what I do need, which is support and affirmation for who I am now, regardless of what the bar says about that.

What's scary for many of us bar-takers is our perceived lack of control over the outcome. The truth is, you can be your best and smartest self on exam day and still fail, and that's a frightening thing to come up against.

Other people's fear is unsettling, particularly in people you love and admire. That said: if my fear were of, for example, drowning, I wouldn't be remiss to request that my family hand me some floaty wings instead of a diving brick before throwing me out in the ocean.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you're totally going to pass the Bar!

Woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

Well said. Only those who have gone through it or are going through it can truly appreciate.

I'm thrilled that my wedding day is also the day when I will find out if I'll be able to truly begin my legal career

Ina said...

Thanks for this post! I'm trying my best to support my husband and even though I feel like I'm doing my best, I feel like it's not enough. I'll definitely stop telling him, "Oh, of COURSE you'll pass!" - that's for sure. Thanks and good luck.

andrenna said...

this is exactly how i feel right now. thanks for articulating it, though it was painful to read.

Diane said...

This was perfect. As a Mom I get it now. Thanks for taking the time to write this and whoever frwd on and on. Good luck to you all. HUGS from a mom in Portland,OR

Anonymous said...

eeek. I am DOOMED.

Anonymous said...

If we fail... who passes?

Sandie C said...

Point well taken- now when can I buy you some REAL ice cream? Popsicles suck :P love u kiddo -- whether u pass or not does not define who u r--u r already awesomely awesome to me - ;) "you had me at hello"

Anonymous said...

I'm an incoming 1L, and you've officially scared the shit out of me with this blogpost. But you know what? I HAVE FAITH IN YOU! The grind is almost over...

Anonymous said...

As someone who just took the Bar exam this past year and was admitted into the Bar of my state in June, I sympathize with your anxiety and miserable attitude.

Studying for the Bar is not an easy process. In fact, its quite overwhelming. I, too, was in your position and worried like yourself that I would not pass.

While no one can guarantee that you will pass the July Bar exam, you will eventually pass the bar exam. If not this time, there will be another time in the near future when you will pass. If you were not cut out for taking the bar exam, you would not have passed law school.

So, my advice to you is be confident of yourself. Once you've finished all of your studying and done everything that you possibly could do, go into that exam with a postive attitude that you will pass the exam.

At the current moment, don't worry about the what ifs. If you don't pass, then you will work again to figure out why you didn't pass at the appropriate time.

But for this test, you must go into the exam with a strong positive attitude about yourself or you definitely will not pass(The same is true in all facets of professional life. I could worry that I am going to loose a case which is a real possibility or conversely I could go to trial with the mindset that I am going to win or at least do the best that I can do and if I loose then I'll deal with the ramifications of losing when I loose).

Sometimes the hardest part about taking a test is our own defeatist attitudes.

You have nothing to loose but to go into that exam room with your head up high.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who took the bar exam fifteen times. That person eventually passed, and so will you!

Good luck to all.

Anonymous said...

It's important that you know that, no matter what happens, it's going to be okay.

Anonymous said...

Wow...thank you for this. I too am taking the bar in less than a week, and this is everything I've felt but couldn't articulate for the last 2 months. Despite the amazing support I've had, I sent this to my mom and dad, just to explain it all a little better. Just keep truckin I guess...we'll get there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the bar is the most difficult test you'll ever take and the stress is absolutely suffocating. I get it. However, what do you want people to say other than "I have faith in you," which gets repetitive. Would you like for people not taking the bar to say that, yes, there is a good chance you won't pass. Will that calm your nerves more?

Most people taking the bar are not utterly incompetent. You've made it this far - LSAT, law school and your own personal struggles. The world will keep turning after you're done with the bar. You're lucky enough to have attended law school.

As a current law school student with plenty of friends now taking it, please stop raging about how screwed you are when others offer encouragement. If you want to get mad and cranky, just own up to it. Don't throw a fit because others just don't "understand" you.

Ashley from OR said...

Thanks from Oregon for putting into words we are feeling!!! I don't know if you had Paula Franzese for Property or yet- but she told us "this too shall pass, and so will you!" We can do it. We will get through this GD test! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Seriously?

People are telling you you'll pass because they know you and have faith in your abilities. Start taking the advice how it's meant, and let it have the effect on you it's meant to. It's meant as an affirmation of faith in your abilities, so take it as such, calm down and pass the exam. Stressing out will do nothing but make it harder for you to pass.

It is just an exam. You can take it again. And in all likelihood, you will pass - pass rates are well above 50%. Just about every professional degree requires the same type of testing, only yours covers less material and requires less years from your life to get to it. Be thankful for that.

Anonymous said...

My daughter will be taking the bar, in Arkansas, in 6 days. She sent her family members this link so that we could better understand how she's feeling right now.

There's a lot on her plate right now, and the various comments on this blog do help us in helping to understand her stress at this time.

Thank you all for all of the various comments...her hug and popsicle will be waiting!

Legally Fabulous said...

"I know someone who took the bar exam fifteen times."

Uhhhh... Yeah... I call bullshit on this.

You are either a liar, or you were lied to. Either way, you're dumb. And I hate you.

fairlytypical said...

"It is just an exam. You can take it again. And in all likelihood, you will pass - pass rates are well above 50%. Just about every professional degree requires the same type of testing, only yours covers less material and requires less years from your life to get to it. Be thankful for that."

Anonymous who supplied us with the above gem, for starters I appreciate the fact that you're commenting anonymously. Shows courage.

Second, it is true that pass rates are over 50% but does that even matter when we're talking 69% which is what the pass rate is for California? A stellar 19% above miserable.

The issue with the bar exam is that it isn't standardized. Results vary from state to state and even in the states with higher pass rates the entire thing has a very arbitrary feel to it. Not to mention the fact that you aren't well prepared for what you are going to face on the exam in law school - unless you go to a school that teaches to the bar or that teaches state specific law and not even then. The exam is in no way related to real life and the arbitrariness and the seeming lack of control is what is horrible.

Also, takes less years of our lives? Ok, really so now this is becoming a contest to see if my professional degree takes longer to accomplish than yours does? Seriously? Its all relative but let me tell you, for some of us - this has been our entire lives. The pursuit of higher education. Working so we can get to this point and feel the release of having earned what we wanted and now being able to settle into real life instead of the stunted bubble of education. So while numerically it may not be as long, it feels like a lifetime measured in stress, sacrifice, and delayed gratification. So excuse me if I'm having some trouble putting things into perspective.

And your comment about covering less material on this exam? I've got 36 lbs of books and about 17 different topics that beg to differ. This is a lot to learn in 2 months. And yes, learn because there is a lot of this that you DO NOT learn in law school.

So really, it may be just a test but it is a lot of work and it is a big deal to a lot of people and the prospects of failing are very real. So before you waste your time commenting on someone's blog anonymously to belittle their fears, maybe take a minute to respect what they're going through and don't hit the comment button.

cat-on-a-mac said...

HUG!!!!!!!

(From your aunt Cathy)

cat-on-a-mac said...

HUG!!!!

... from Aunt Cathy

Anonymous said...

I find this blog to be a little spoiled and self involved. My father has told me repeatedly this summer, "You're a failure, and you'll screw this up too." I'm also taking the Bar this week.

Grange said...

Thank you.

This was helpful on many levels, one of which was to reminded me that the whole system is designed to undermine your confidence and stress you out. Recognizing the system for what it is, robs it of some of its power.

Brian said...

OMG! This post is everything I've been feeling the last few weeks. I hate the "you will pass" crap and it makes me feel worst. I keep telling people that there is a strong possibility that I won't pass and they just laugh it off as if I am being silly. I'm not being silly! Smarter people than me have failed the Bar!

Michelle said...

I'm also taking the CA Bar next week. I laughed so many times when reading your post, not because I think it's hilarious, but because I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for writing this. If it helps at all, which I know it barely does, know that you're not alone. I feel exactly the same way. Unfortunately, no amount of reading the fail statistics to loving family and friends will convince them that there is a chance that YOU might be one of the 50% who don't pass. I take refuge in knowing that, this time next week, we'll be done. At least... for now (:

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for this post. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

You can guess after reading that, No, I am not studying for or taking the bar. I do not know if you will fail or pass. In fact, I do not know you at all. I simply stumbled upon your blog because it was posted on a friend's Facebook page. Now, the reason for this particular comment is one of curiosity. I read that you do not have time to spend 45 minutes cooking dinner because you. must. study. again. So my question is this...how long did you take in writing this blog post that says the exact same thing in every lenghty paragraph? My guess is that it is time you could have used studying.

Anonymous said...

Just to play devil's advocate here for a second. The problem is that the people who tell you "you'll do fine" are not in your shoes. They have no idea what you've been through. And that is exactly the point. Put yourself in their shoes for a change. What would you say to someone taking the bar if you've never been through the experience yourself?
Plus, much of this stress is self-induced. How many times in your life have you thought to yourself, "if I screw this up, my life is over." Many times I bet. Now, how many times has that fear come true? My bet: never. And with a 50/50 passage rate, my friends, the glass is half-full. So, in all likelihood, I will pass, and so will you. And if you somehow fail, I am certain that the greatest fear of yours will never be realized, and you will pass eventually. Good luck to everyone!

Anonymous said...

Yeah - thanks. From the middle of my crying jag - thanks.

This is absolutely the worse thing I have ever experienced. Even the pain of losing loved ones does not linger in such a profound and sustained fashion for the time period required to prepare for the bar - grief ebbs and flows, this damn test produces intense anxiety that just increases with time. I seldom complained in school, and sailed through with great grades, yet . . . I'm finding it nearly impossible to be positive about this.

Anonymous said...

Hi, you have no idea who I am, but someone linked this to me and I'm sharing it with all the people in my life who don't get it and are trying to reassure me, but can't figure out why that's not helping.

Em said...

I'm taking NY in 2 days. I feel the same way as you do! It doesn't matter that we're all not "incompetent" as one anonymous commenter says. Being smart does not equate to doing well on the bar exam. Unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

this is the best capture i've ever seen of what it feels like for those of us in law school who didn't take it so seriously. brilliant. thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have taken and passed two bars, so yes, I do know what you are going through. But I still tell people that they are going to do fine on the bar. Why?
1) They have studied their butts off,
2) The people that I know who have failed, but studied, mainly did so because they freaked themselves out during the bar and wasted time calming themselves down whereas those going in and remaining calm did much better,
3) Even for my friends who failed the first time around, life still went on - they just picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and pulled out the books again, and they usually passed the next time because they did not panic the second time through.

It is time to take this to heart: This is a test, not a life or death situation. Even your loans can be placed into deferment while you study again.

BTW, It sounds like you have studied your heart out, so take a break and calm down. I have faith in you.

Adam Wilhite said...

Good luck on the bar. I also am taking the bar beginning tomorrow, so I know your pain. And good luck to all the other bar-takers out there!

beckcl78 said...

I took the bar five years ago, and reading this post still made my stomach churn, I so clearly remember feeling EXACTLY like this.

The good news is, I did, in the end, pass the bar! Despite having eaten cereal 3 meals a day for 3 months, spending a not insignificant amount of time crying on the phone to friends and family about how I was going to fail, and even deliriously dousing my BarBri Contracts outline with Raid at 4 in the morning one night when a harmless insect of some sort found its way into the pages. I was possibly the least committed law student ever, after first year I'd concentrated almost solely on international law, I had zero friggin' clue about some of the exam subjects (Secured Transactions? [crickets chirping]), never once passed a practice MBE, and I did, in the end, manage to pull out a pass on the bar.

I won't tell you you're going to pass, because I also find that hateful. But I'm thinking of all of you tomorrow and Wednesday (and, for you unluckiest of bastards, Thursday too). It's a heinous process.

Anonymous said...

I more or less always expected I would pass. Only at the very last minute before the results came back did I have a flash of panic that I might not have passed.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to see that becoming a lawyer is kind of like learning to fly an airplane. The big test there, of course, is soloing ... but if you fail that test, you die.

So Chill the Hell Out! When you fail the bar, sorry - if you fail the bar - at least you can fall back on your talent as a writer. So you have something to fall back on.

Kind of like Maverick and Goose in Top Gun ... "Hey Mav, do you remember the name of that truck driving school, Truckmaster I think they call it. I may need that."

Hugs (from a pilot.)

Anonymous said...

A year later, and reading your post I remember so well all the feelings I was having at this point.

Most important advice at this point is to try and relax, DO NOT PANIC and do the best you can.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Also, for what its worth, take the You'll do great / of course you'll pass and enjoy it.

I had to stop calling my mom because she was the opposite end of the spectrum in the I dont think you've studied enough and I dont think you are going to pass school. She cried when I passed the first time.

The of course you'll pass group is actually easier to deal with.

Good Luck!

Brook Davis said...

The thing that needs to be said (and I'm thankful I heard this when I was there) is that from this side (passing the exam) its all worth it - even when its not.

Rage on in the battle my friend.

Lady T said...

Good luck!! As someone who went through the process just 2 summers ago I can totally relate to this post, especially now that all the students who were 1Ls when I was a 3L are now sitting for the exam and calling me to express their frustrations. I hope November brings good news and you have lots to be thankful for at Thanksgiving and receive a few extra presents on Christmas :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is EXACTLY how I feel. Thank you so much for this. It makes me feel human, sane and not ungreatful for all the "well" wishes I've gotten. I'm a 3rd timer. I want this is be the last, but who knows.

The only thing I know for sure is that I wish people would stop asking me whether I passed and telling me I no doubt will. My Mom is the worst about this "You're GOING to PASS!" Ummm maybe not and if I don't please don't tell me I'll get it next time. If I do, don't tell me you knew I would because you didn't.

Either way it goes I pray to G-d that you don't have to go through this again. But honestly, and I am being 100% honest, it's not that bad if you fail one time. Even twice. But once you get up in to 5 times it is bad. Here's hoping neither of us will approach that number!

Best of luck fellow studier :)

Mark Jacobs said...

Meera:

What a smartly written piece! You are spot-on about nearly everything -- no small feat in an essay chock-full of opinion. You are only adrift on one small (if central) detail: people are only wrong to assure you you will pass when they do it from well-meaning ignorance. I'm going to tell you you will pass, but do so from well-meaning familiarity.

The bar exam is a big-fucking-deal because the stakes are high. It is a difficult exam for two reasons, and two reasons only. One is the physical endurance required to write it, the other is the emotional state into which the exam-takers whip themselves -- in turn related to the fact that it is, indeed, a BFD. True, there is a shitload of substantive and procedural law that will be covered, and legal analysis to be applied each step of the way. But this is what you've trained for all summer. The indisputable fact is: by the time you finish your bar review course, you know way more law than you will ever need to pass the exam. The difference between passing and failing is far more a function of exercising good judgment in applying the things you have studied than having the rules straight in your head.

Of all the statistics I wish they would publish about the bar exam, here's the one I'd like to see: percentage of people passing who studied any sort of review materials the night before any of the three days of the exam versus the pass rates of those who did not cram at all. I bet the pass rates are vastly higher for the latter group -- and I bet there is not a lick-of-difference between the two groups in terms of actual mastery of the material. The bar exam is a head game, pure-and-simple. Anyone who could write such a cleanly dissected account of the psycho-social dynamic seems plenty well-equipped to handle this kind of emotional gymnastics.

The pass rates for the July California bar exam are historically low, and the lowest of any state in the country. Still, roughly 60% of all first-time takers will pass. It's not like taking the DMV test for a driver's license; but neither is it the monstrosity we have mythologized it to be. (We do this because it makes us seem all-the-cooler for having passed it. We suck.)

So I say with great confidence, and first-hand knowledge of the process, you will pass. The odds are with me. And with you.

Best,

MBJ

Anonymous said...

This is the single most accurate description of how I felt before the bar exam. And still feel, thinking about whether I failed.

Anonymous said...

Omg.. I totally feel like a random for googling " I think im going to fail my exam". Thank heavens your blog popped up.. Even though im not in the law fireld, i can relate to that in so many ways. Im writing my final music exam for the semester next tuesday.. and im FREAKING OUT!! I keep asking myself what i've been doing for the past semester as i can seem to grasp ANYTHING i read in the lecture notes. Im really studying my ass off.. But i just GIVE UP!

Anonymous said...

Well done. Wish I would have come across this sooner to pass around before I destroyed nearly all of my personal relationships studying for the bar. Unfortunately, I have to go through all of this shit again. I'm passing this along to all the people I have left.

Moral Support said...

Is this blog written by a woman? Most likely. Has the Bar prep made the author crazy? Most likely. Are these concerns valid? Yes. Am I still going to show my support for the woman I love - who is also in your shoes? Yes. How am I going to do it? By reminding her that she is going to pass the Bar.

Sorry. For I know, that even if she doesn't pass this time around, she will pass the next - as you will. You didn't go through 3 years of agony, followed by 2 months of "where's the lube?" to say "Oh well" if you fail the Bar. The fact is, none of you are quiters. You wouldn't have made it this far if you were. You will take the Bar again, and again, if necessary. Pass rates sit around 50%. Assuming you don't give up on life and law (and all else stays the same), chances of you failing twice are 25%, thrice, 12.5%, and so on. Your Bar strategy will improve. Your knowledge will improve. You WILL pass the Bar.

No need to thank your loved ones for showing their support in any way they choose. Sorry, but we believe in you and we are going to show it. We won't consider you failures if you don't pass the Bar - that idea is crazy! We love you. We see how disheveled you are, how late you stay up, how early you wake up, how little you eat, and how crossed your eyes are. We see surrender as failure, and we've yet to see that white flag. Stay strong! Stay sane! Good luck...

Anonymous said...

Just a little perspective from the fiance of a current bar-studier (and, therefore friend/acquaintance of many other bar-studiers). When someone responds to your whining about "not passing" with "You're going to pass," that's IS them saying they have faith in you. They have so much faith, that they believe they can state your future success as a fact. If you don't want to hear it, then stop whining about it. Despite how you currently feel, the world does not revolve around whether YOU do or don't pass the bar. If you fail, I assure you that the sun will rise again tomorrow. Also, a note to all the future lawyers who whole-heartedly agree with these sentiments: realize that no one besides yourself has put you in this position. YOU have chosen to be a lawyer. No one is forcing you to take this path. There are millions of people who have survived much more difficult ordeals than an exam and do not moan about it. Think about what you're complaining about here. "Oh, I'm so upset that my friends and family believe in me so much that they aren't worried about me failing." Gee. What a HORRIBLE state of affairs.
Dude. Get over yourself. And that goes for the [hopeful] future lawyers reading this blog entry and possibly even recommending it to friends/family/and or significant others for some "perspective." Here's a little news flash. We're the outsiders. We HAVE perspective. It's time for you all to pull your heads out of your asses and realize that supportive friends and family are nothing to bitch about. Now go lock yourself in your study corners and be thankful that we're here to clean your homes and make your lunches while you drive yourselves crazy over at test.

*Note, that got a little bitchy at the end... I apologize. But I'm leaving the rant because I want to get the point across that, well, you all are miserable to be around right now. And the fact that you now have the audacity to complain about love and support... Well it's just plain selfish and disrespectful.

Anonymous said...

Just a little ammendment to my previous comment in which I called you all selfish and disrespectful for complaining about having support. (it's not posted yet, so I can't quote the comment exactly)

I would like to state that although I identified myself as the fiance of a current bar-studier, I'm not complaining of HER actions. She's actually the reason I felt moved to comment because she's going through the same ordeal, has the same amount of stress, and holds herself to a higher standard than ANYONE I have ever known (which is what her entire law school would also say of her), and she would never complain about the support someone else is providing her. Even if it is annoying, she knows that support is support and you should be grateful for those willing to stand by your side.

Anonymous said...

If you don't pass the bar, you'll probably burn in hell and die. In conclusion, if you become a lawyer, you'll probably burn in hell and die.

Good Luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I took the Cali bar last summer after going to a top 50 school. I didn't think it was that bad...until November, when I BAR FAILED!! And failing was more horrible and embarrassing than I thought it would be. But guess what- in February I PASSED!! My point is that there are worse things in life then failing the bar. Do you best, and if you fail just remember that after a good break from the madness you will be more refreshed and pass the next time.

Disaster in Waiting said...

You should win a Pulitzer for this.

It's 100% on point, and that much more difficult for us who were C+ students (and already lacking in confidence), the (alarmingly high) number of us who are dealing with anxiety/depressive disorders to begin with, and especially those of us (yours truly included) who fit into both of those and seem to have nothing but genius friends who are on the total opposite end of the scale.

I'm sending this to my parents, hopefully so they'll understand a little better that when i black out conversations and look like i'm about to crumble, it's (at least somewhat) normal.

Thank you for this, I, for one, am very glad you wrote it.

Anonymous said...

It was about this time last year when I was studying and politely asked my parents (who I was living with) to kindly stop purchasing Second Nature toilet paper. You know, the kind that is maybe two-ply and is called "tissue" and not "paper" for a reason. The next day my dad walked into the house with a 36 pack. Of Second Nature. I responded with a complete emotional breakdown, which included falling to the ground sobbing. I stopped studying that week. And I passed the exam. So do whatever you need to do to get through it. Apparently I needed some fucking Charmin.

Anonymous said...

this test isn't you and it isn't that hard. people less intelligent than you pass it, and people more intelligent than you fail it. and it doesn't matter. if you fail, take it again. if you fail twice, pick a different line of work. work isn't you, either. suck it up, stop whining, and stop stressing. life can be very pretty. especially when you have people around you who are supportive and loving and who say things like "i think you'll pass with flying colors". those people will still be there whether you pass or fail. life can be very pretty.

Anonymous said...

So true. And how about a change to the question " did you pass A bar" which comes in later years if you have a law degree - to "did you take A bar" - then all can answer/ why yes I did take a bar - and the individual can decide if they will divulge more information!

Anonymous said...

To the person who said "this is worse than losing a loved one." Get some serious perspective. It's people like you who make everyone else think we're being dramatic. It's hard, it's emotional, it's a ton to learn, but you're just being a melodramatic baby.

Anonymous said...

I got great grades in law school and so did my brother. We both failed the Texas bar the first time around. Guess what? We both have great jobs and no one gave a shit! Work gave us each another month off, paid, and we passed with flying colors the second time around. Passed New Mexico the first time around though. Some bars are just harder. We both have fantastic practices and are pretty well respected in our communities. It's not the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

To the writer of this blog and all others who are reading this blogs and soon to take the bar, I have the following advice:

STOP WRITING/READING BLOGS AND START FUCKING STUDYING MORE!

If you do fail the bar you can look back on writing blogs/reading blogs when you should have been studying. The bar is hard and it should be. It rewards people who study hard and don't waste time on shit like this. I hope that your final days of studying goes well and the amount of time you waste on blogs/browsing the internet decreases significantly so that you actually have a shot at passing. GOOD LUCK.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. You really articulated what many of us are feeling. I don't think I could've said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

It's July 19, 2011. Only six full days left until the bar exam. Fuck.

LAHamer said...

I had heard about the stress of THOSE statements by friends and family, so I came up with a method to pass on to rising 3L's. As soon as graduation was done, I wrote all my family and good friends who I thought I might talk to during bar prep. In addition to thanking them for their support, I also requested that they do everything in their power not to talk to me about the bar. "Pretend The Bar is the name of a horrible disease I've been diagnosed with, or the name of a person I've just lost," I wrote, "I understand the desire to see how I'm doing, but try to remember that even the word just elicits panic, fear, and despair in the listener, namely, me."
Surprisingly, the letter works extraordinarily well, as I've had numerous conversations with even my 80 year old grandma, who calls it "the job" (which, let's be honest it totally is). On the rare occasion that my father, whose mind resembles a colander, forgets and brings it up? A simple "remember the letter" shuts him up in a hurry.

Good luck to you all!

Anonymous said...

to all of you bar exam students......passes or failing the bar does not and will not determine the person you are. the real you.
All you can do is your best...if it is good enough, great , if not , try again.
there are many events in life that ones best is not good enough but, that does not mean the person is not a quality, smart, outstanding person. think about it.... a doctor's best sometimes ends in the death of a patient, athletes loose, sales people give their very best pitch and are rejected. Life is full of failures. It is at that point that we pick ourselves up, brush off the dust and try again, knowing that we are deserving. keep your head held high , regardless, know that you are loved and that what truly matters is you will be alright! You are still the smart, caring, wonderful young person that your friends and family admire. good luck on the 26th!

Anonymous said...

I am taking the bar in 6 days. It's 1:37 AM and all I can think about is Wills and Trust and how I have to get up at 7 AM to try and figure it out again but I can't sleep because well, that thing, is in 6 days and I wanna slap someone every time I hear "you will do fine." I showed this post to my sister and she just said to me after reading it "I will buy a popsicle." I told her its the best thing anyone has ever said to me in my entire life. I love this post.

Anonymous said...

Why did you take the time to write this lengthy blog entry if you are in such a crunch for time??? Wouldn't it have made more sense to just suck it up and study? You clearly don't realize that this article won't convince BAR-outsiders to sympathize with you, it just makes them annoyed at how whiny you are. Get over yourself and study if you think you're so unprepared.

Anonymous said...

For non-law students, we really are serious because we spend our summer taking practice tests so we know exactly where we stand. Guess what? With 6 days left, I'll be failing the bar if I can't find more correct answers. The worst part? Im one of the lucky ones with a job.

Anonymous said...

Of course you'll pass!

Sincerely,

A guy who barely passed the Bar Exam and had night sweats for a month leading up to the test and for the three months between taking it and getting the results.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you weren't spending valuable time writing a 2-3 page blog post you'd be able to study more of what you need to or spend that time relaxing your conscious mind so you're not freaking out and constantly telling yourself that the future only holds a negative experience for you.

Anonymous said...

This post is absolutely viral across my facebook right now. You managed to perfectly tap into how all of us terrified recent grads are feeling.

Good luck, and remember, there's always February...that's the thought that's keeping ME sane these days.

Anonymous said...

i'm also a major proponent of the chill the fuck out mentality.. and i'll tell you.. it worked wonders for the BAR. it's just a test.. money is whatever... if worse comes to worse you can just fly to a foreign country, change your identity and become a farmer.

but likely result if you chill out.. you'll pass the fucking test.

Lee said...

i got to this post by googling "i'm going to fail the bar exam." i could not have asked for a better search result. thank you. please keep this up forever.

Ry and Chris said...

Congratulations for summing up exactly what SO many people must feel each time the bar comes around, yet feel as though they are alone in the misery. I took both the NY and MA bars last summer, and even now, a year later, I can easily recall those feelings of sheer dread--fearing that I would fail, after all those hours of study and all that money--and then have to explain to everyone I knew why I wasn't the person I had always held myself out to be. My guess is most people who go to law school do so because for the most part school came easy to them--at least through college. Most of us were "smart kids," and like it or not, that became a huge part of our identity. But the bar changes all that, we are faced with the GLARING possibility that we are NOT as great as we hope people believe us to be. All I can say is good luck, life goes on, and despite my GENUINE belief to the contrary, I passed both bars last summer, so you might be ok too.

Anonymous said...

whats with this "oh, i got Bs in law school not because i couldnt hack it, but because it was sunny and i wanted to play golf" business??

Because its THAT easy to just get As? i happen to study my ass off and Bs and B+ are pretty much all i get.

im either retarded, or some persepective is needed on how hard this shit really is

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I got almost all As at a top 20 law school but just found out I didn't pass the bar on my first go round. Googling around in the aftermath of getting the news, I found this blog entry, and it helped. It's totally true. Many of the comments are also great. I'm re-taking in Feb. I hate that I have to do this, but I do have my flash cards and notes from BarBri (which took so much time to make that I barely had time to study them enough or to do many practice questions), so this time I feel like I'm better situated to study efficiently. It's an unhappy thing to have to deal with, but I do believe it'll all be ok. So far, all the people I've told have been very understanding.

(By the way, there are some amazingly fantastic jerks who've posted completely uncool comments here... if I were you, I'd delete their negativity pronto! No one needs to read that crap.)

Lee said...

I passed the bar, and I credit that at least in part to finding this blog post a couple weeks before the exam. I can't express how much meant to me.
Thank you.

Nick Lewis said...

This is as true now as it was 2 years ago. I'm in the throws of bar study now. A little over a month ago, I graduated law school and got married in the same weekend because my family can't fly in from Alaska to see both events. I'm not sleeping at nights. Last night was one of the worst, I got out of bed (not that I was asleep) at 2:30am to start doing essay problems. I started studying 3 weeks late because of all the preparations ect... with family. When I read your blog, found by accident when I googled "I'm taking the bar exam and can't sleep" I teared up, then I promptly went and threw-up. I'm used to challenge. I worked on the oil fields on the arctic ocean for 80 hour weeks of shoveling gravel and carrying rail road ties and think of myself a little as a tough-guy. I crumbled. What's more, the comments after your article are as uplifting and encouraging for me as I'm sure they were for you. How about an update, by the way?

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear. I feel the same way and it made me feel less alone. Thanks :)

IMPORTANT ADVICE said...

1. I have several friends who have now failed the bar twice yet are happy at their very meaningful jobs (jobs that are much better than mine). There is life after failing the bar, so I urge you to try to see as much of the big picture as you can right now. Try to remember what life means to you. Whether you believe in God, Karma or simply the Universe, recall that this it's only our egos that care whether we pass. Life is bigger and more important than our professional ambitions, be they self-interested or altruistic, and Life doesn't care if you fail the Bar 100 times. If you don't want to care, you don't have to. It's that simple.

2. Strategy: If you're down to the wire, focus on what will give you the most bang for your buck, i.e. MBE subjects. I completed probably less than 10% of my BARBRI and I somehow still passed NY (and NJ). I say that not to explain how awesome I am, because I'm really, really not awesome. I'm still not sure how it worked out, though I suspect it had something to do with that homeless child I sacrificed. But the one thing I can tell you is when there was less than a week left and I realized I blew the whole summer on Netflix marathons and had no time to learn everything, I concentrated all my focus on the MBE subjects. There was still probably a ton of luck involved, but that's the closest I can come to a rational explanation.

Anonymous said...

Lose

Amanda said...

I'm amazed at the number of comments saying how whiny the post was, or that you were wasting your time writing it - they obviously don't get it and have not taken the Bar. Fuck them for their lack of empathy! You study for 2 and half months straight and then decide to express your desperation, stress, and fears in a hugely public manner through a blog - thats thearaputic and brave and not the least bit a waste of time. Sitting on the other side - waiting for Bar results after having taken the Bar I know the importance of this test.

Anonymous said...

hi. i don't know you personally. i just came across your blog by chance. i typed in something about the bar on google and you blog entry appeared. i just graduated and i will take the bar exam in six months. it may seem like a lot of time to prepare but i know time will just fly by so quickly. i understand your feeling and i know i will understand you more in october. every "you can do it" or "you will surely pass" is comforting but also adds pressure. i don't know why i'm writing this, i just felt like you described what i'm feeling right now. i feel more comforted when people tell me that they have faith in me or they're praying for me. unlike you i'm not the proponent of the chill persona..i tend to panick..a lot..so now i feel more pressured considering there's so much i still need to learn. if you don't mind me asking..did you pass? every night i pray to the Lord for guidance. that's more comforting than 100 assurances from friends and family that i will pass the bar.

Anonymous said...

It is comforting to see these words, which sound like they were plucked from my brain and more eloquently transcribed, right now with less than 2 weeks until the July 2013 CA bar exam. You are now happily far past this horrifying point in your life, and yet you at one point shared my sentiments exactly.

Le sigh.

Anonymous said...

after sticking with me through 3 years of law school, my boyfriend finally gets it. He never tells me "oh, you'll pass" because he knows that when I'm stressed I just interpret that as dismissive.

Instead, he asks "what can I do." its amazing how much of a difference that makes. I feel like I have someone actually willing to jump in along side me. And sometimes, all I need is someone to bring me coffee and breakfast. Where "oh you'll pass" comes off as condescending, "what can I do" comes off as, "I get this is a really big deal, such a big deal in fact that you can't prepare a sandwich for yourself. So let me"

Tom said...

Well written? Perhaps. A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME TO WRITE THIS SO CLOSE TO THE BAR EXAM? Absolutely! If you are f**king around on these websites this close to the bar exam, best of luck. You are better off if you did not read this article (or my comment). I would honestly not feel bad if this person just missed passing the bar. Gee, if only there was an hour or two more of study time...where could one have found that drafting an article (a few weeks away from the bar)???

Bottom line: this is not life or death. Life goes on. What are you going to do if your name is not on the list? Kill yourself?! No, you are going to take it it in February with an understanding of where you need to improve.

If you find time time to read unnecessary crap like this right now, but complain about lack of time, you have issues.

Signed,

Person who Failed July '12 Cali bar, but passed in Feb '13.

John Holmes said...

Whatever the trials and tribulations, we are there for you!! I don't have a probability crystal ball, so haven't a clue as to your fate on July 27th. Yes, of course, it matters a great deal to you and to us, but the world still needs all of us who care to persevere for ourselves and our dreams. Perhaps you can turn your terror to passion and your wonderful baby cuteness's to a smiling calm. The whatever will be will be. We still love and cherish you for all you are!!

Trace said...

Since you're in the midst of the last day of the Bar right now (and I know this because my brother-in-law is as well) I'll just say kudos to all of the studying you've done. I've heard some of the most random laws from my BIL in the last 2 months and while it entertains me I've seen how it stresses him out. Random laws may be fun facts that stick in my head but don't follow the neat and orderly patterns lawyers want. When you're finished today get at least 8 hours of blissful sleep knowing the difficult part is over (stressing about the final score won't change it - unless you have some master scheme to bribe a corrupt official), go out to eat with friends tomorrow that you haven't seen in 2+ months, and have an old fashioned.

Anonymous said...

I passed because I prayed and studied hard. When you take the bar exam, you have to find a way not to be too concerned about what others think. Anyone who has taken the bar realizes how great an accomplishment it is just to sit through it.

All rights reserved to my snotty and generally self-deprecating writing. And if your comments bother me, I'll delete them. That's right, pumpkin.
...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson