If you’ve ever been around anyone studying for the bar you’ve heard them complain. If you didn’t know better, you’d think studying for the bar exam is the worst thing a person has ever gone through. If studying for the bar exam is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do then you have lived a very charmed life, indeed. I envy you.
Yes, bar prep is hard but it’s not impossible. You need to study 50-60 hours a week but you’re going to work at least that much when you’re a lawyer so why is bar prep so much more dramatic and awful? One reason is that we make it that way by not taking responsibility for anything other than bar prep. However, there are 168 hours in a week so there is no reason you can’t maintain a healthy and balanced life and still study for the bar exam. Whether you want to do this is another story…
If you’d like to make bar prep a little less miserable, there is still time to make plan. Start with the basics:
- Create a daily and weekly schedule. You can do this on paper or electronically but do it. Not only does a schedule keep you accountable but it lessens the stress. You’ll start studying at 9am (instead of 11) because you want to go to the Clippers game at 7. Then you actually enjoy the game because you know you got done what you needed to do.
- Wake up at a professional hour- no later than 7:30am. The first few days will be hard but your body will get used to it and you’ll wind up going to bed earlier and getting better and more consistent sleep.
- Drink water and eat fruits and vegetables. It’s just as easy to go to the store and buy an orange or apple as it is to go to a fast food restaurant and order greasy, oversized food. Not only is it healthier, it’s a lot less expensive.
- Shower on a regular basis. Personal hygiene is not optional. I shouldn’t have to say it but I’ve worked with enough students studying for the bar exam to know that I have to. At the very least you can cry in the shower and let your tears wash down the drain. A good 10 minute cry can do a lot of good.
- Do laundry every week. The reason you’re not washing your clothes, sheets and towels on a regular basis isn’t because you don’t have time it’s because you don’t feel like it. Don’t even try the “I don’t know how” excuse. You graduated from law school so you can figure out how to wash your clothes.
- Keep your living space tidy. Thanks to modern technology, there are these wonderful things called disinfecting wipes. You can use them to wipe off counters, sinks, showers, tubs, etc. It takes less than five minutes to do this. You know what takes even less time? Washing a dish after you use it. I’ve done it before and it can be done in about 30 seconds. It takes about 5 seconds to put clothes in a hamper or on a hanger. Yes, I’m being sarcastic but you get the point. Fifteen minutes a week is all you need to keep your living space organized and clean.
All of this should be common sense but the overwhelming nature of bar prep tends to suck that right out of us. Decide that you want life during bar prep to be as *normal* as possible and then make a plan to actually do it.