Monday, January 15, 2007

Helpful Hints, from stressed-out budding-lawyers

As you know, I've been studying for the February New York bar like a maniac (in addition to working full time). One of the (many) bummers about studying for that beast is that I'm doing it in total isolation- not only am I not taking a bar review course, I don't know anyone else who is studying for it since it is the "off" time (i.e. not the July test date) and also since the closest law school is probably Cornell in Ithaca - 60 miles away.

Now put this into perspective- when I was studying for the California bar in June/July 1999, it seemed like I couldn't get away from other people studying for the bar. I lived in Beverly Hills, took the course in Manhattan Beach and also studied in Palos Verdes- these are prime locations to walk into any Starbucks or library and find a bunch of stressed-out-looking people with huge stacks of books in front of them, being really cranky at anyone who distracts them.

In Binghamton? Not so much. If I head to our local county library, I am far more likely to recognize some of the local sex offenders (who all seem to live within a block of it) than anyone actually studying. The only good thing about finding others who are studying for the bar is that you really need someone to - not so much to study with- but to commiserate with.

So I decided to find some human connection and support in the place where I've been forced to turn for the past year since I moved here. . . the Internet! So I thought I'd share some of the more hilarious pearls of wisdom that I found on people's blogs yesterday. I think they give the reader an accurate glimpse into the uniquely hellish cocoon that is Bar Exam Studying:

1. "Take advantage of time to shop during your last semester, and stock up on shorts/pants with stretchy waistbands. You will need them for your Bar Review fat. Trust me."

2. "Consider setting up a food delivery service and/or maid service if you can afford it."

3. "When you go to pick up your BarBri books, keep in mind that you will get a giant box with 9 ginormous books in them that is VERY HEAVY and awkward to carry. Plan accordingly."

4. "You might find it useful to learn and practice meditation breathing techniques in order to calm yourself down when you start to panic (for use during the actual exam)."

5. "Make sure your significant other understands that he/she is not permitted to break up with you during this time."

6. "Your family and friends won't really understand what you're going through, and this can be isolating. I found it helpful to ask them to imagine that I was pregnant and due at the end of July. It's analogous -- you will need their support during an intense and stressful time; you will have to do what's best for *you* and be more selfish than normal during this unique experience, and they will have to be understanding about that; your mood swings may make you unpredictable; and they will need to remember that it's only temporary, so you are not being unreasonable."

7. "Plan ahead and ask a close friend or relative if they can bring your dog or cat to the vet if it becomes necessary right before the Exam. Animals are very observant and will know that you are stressed, and this may in turn make them stressed, and they might start feeling ill or start doing weird things."

I did not make any of these up. I think the first and the last are my favorite. I don't know if this exercise made me feel any better or worse, but what I found sure did make me laugh!

1 comment:

wheeedle said...

Re #7: nothing like an acutely incontinent dog or a cat-turned-dandruff machine to amuse you during your stress.