We have entered June, and most recent law school graduates finished school a few weeks ago. The initial anxious adrenaline rush of receiving your fancy new bar exam study materials has faded, and summer tedium is setting in.
Our Bar Review Diarists are getting a little deeper into their studies. They’re beginning to realize studying for the test isn’t necessarily difficult. It’s largely boring. They are discovering how alluring a pointless shopping trip can be, and they are realizing how long it’s been since they have written anything by hand. In other words, it was kind of a bummer of a week.
Let’s see how Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew are handling the summertime blues…
First up, let’s check in with Nathan. He spent a large chunk of this week trying to orchestrate an epic trip to Staples. Ah, the sweet smell of procrastination:
My big bar review priority for this past week was to go out to buy some paper and an ink cartridge. For those who aren’t aware, Themis provides relatively short handouts with several blank spots that you can fill in as you watch their lectures. It’s mostly a device that forces you to pay attention. I thought having physical copies of those handouts would keep myself more engaged than typing into PDFs they provide. Since my roommate owns the printer in our apartment and I use it pretty frequently, this trip to an office supply store would allow me to print with impunity for the summer.
At some point last week, though, I realized that this plan to pick up printing supplies was nothing but subconscious procrastination. I was putting off going to Staples by trying to tie it into a grocery store trip or some other convenient excursion which might be a few days off yet. I realized this on Thursday and that’s when I decided to start studying for the bar, and I saved my first Themis PDF to a new folder on my computer titled “Bar Review.”
Hey, it’s better than nothing. There’s a reason everyone gets such a huge sense of satisfaction from putting their name and the title at the top of an essay. Even when you realize you still have a long way to go…
While I’ve really only watched the introductory videos, I feel like I’ve definitely cracked the seal on my studying I’ll be trying to keep up with the Directed Study program Themis has provided for the next few weeks. Directed Study just gives you a schedule and if you don’t complete it, the material is moved back proportionally so each day is pretty equally full. For me, that means all of the past weeks have been pushed back and I’ll be starting Torts this week along with Constitutional Law, Family Law, and Evidence. It looks like I already have about twice as much work per day scheduled from here on out which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, but it could just mean that Directed Study knows me better than I know myself and this is what I need to be doing right now.
Jeanette appears to be slightly more diligent, thus far anyway, and she’s learning the sad truth that many adults have to learn despite years of writing in cursive as a child: their penmanship has gone completely to hell. I luckily never had to learn that lesson, because my handwriting has been crap from start. ANYWAY:
Week three of bar preparation is officially over. I’ve started making flashcards, and I’m surprised at what my handwriting has morphed into after nearly three years of nonuse. I used my laptop to take notes in law school, and the last time I really wrote anything extensive by hand was in college. Other than my seriously aching hands, I am generally feeling more comfortable with and relaxed about what I’m doing with my time; I guess the initial motivation that kept me going for the first two weeks has started to wane and my perspective on studying has changed a little.
A friend of mine who took and passed last year’s bar exam reassured me that when people say the bar is a minimum competence exam, it’s true. He advised that I not start the actual panic until July 4th. So I’ve had some relaxing marathon sessions of Top Chef and even thought about learning how to cook. I started attending yoga classes again and planned a trip to Chicago in a few weeks. I’m still waiting for the real Southern California summer to kick in before I do a little beach reading.
Summertiiiime, and the living is eaaaasy. Especially in California, where beautiful days aren’t constantly interrupted by massive thunderstorms. (Seriously, Midwest and East Coast, wtf is up with that?)
Jeannette is also taking the time she has when she’s not studying to work on some self-improvement:
To try to make the most of my summer, I decided to come up with some goals to accomplish before the actual bar. Since I’m spending this time in my Irvine hermitage, I figure I can take this opportunity to take steps to try to better myself in some way (in addition to studying for the bar of course).
I’ve only really thought of and implemented my perennial goal of getting rid of this nasty habit I’ve had since the first grade: biting my nails. It all started when my family moved to the United States from South Korea. Because of the anxiety I had as a kid attending school without being able to understand much English, I started biting my nails. And it stuck. Now, I not only bite them out of nervousness, but I also bite them when I’m concentrating.
My friends have gotten into the practice of physically swatting my hands out of my mouth, and my boyfriend has developed this special tone of voice he uses specifically when he’s telling me to stop biting my nails. So this summer will be a true test of my discipline because I tend to bite my nails the most when I’m studying. I’m proud to say that it’s been five days since I’ve bitten my nails. My next goal is to think of all my other goals.
Now she has put the ATL commentariat on notice about her goals. I have a feeling they’ll keep Jeanette honest. I can already hear a digital “wa-POW!” in the making.
Keep reading to see Andrew channel some Zach Galifianakis as he describes studying for the bar — BORED. SO BORED…