Bar Exams, Ohio State - Moritz College of Law

Bar Review Diaries: Where Is My Motivation?

It seems the main lesson our Bar Review Diarists are learning — other than the crucial information for the bar exam itself, of course — is that studying for the bar sucks. There is so much information, it’s summertime, they just graduated, and studying is the last thing anyone wants to be doing, so it all seems so unfair.

We are learning each week about their myriad procrastination techniques, useful distractions, and mandatory morale boosters. So what do Andrew, Nathan, and Jeanette have for us this week?

Let’s see how Nathan is doing first:

Just about every day has looked the same this summer and I’m officially going to start changing that. I normally set my alarm for 8:30, but end up sleeping until about 10:00. Once I’m up, I eat a bowl of cereal and drink some coffee while I go through my Google Reader for about an hour. Then I watch 3-4 lectures with the early Euro Cup game in the background. My mind then starts manufacturing a reason to leave the apartment and I go on some sort of excursion which is initially designed to take up an hour, but has been known to take up an entire afternoon or evening. If I do make it back to my apartment (which happens more often than not), I watch another 3-4 chapters, shower, and get in a final 2-3 chapters before evening television and/or fun times start off at 7:00.

Ain’t no party like a bar exam party, because a bar exam party is mandatory don’t stop! Amirite?

This nine-to-ten lecture per day system does not put me on track to be ready for the bar, though, and that needs to change. Mainly, I’ve been skipping all of the Themis essay questions. Only ten days from law school graduation, I just haven’t been ready for that sort of active learning yet.

Today, things are changing. I was up at 7:30. I’m in the suburbs this week for Father’s Day, my mom’s birthday, and as a general focus technique. I immediately watched a chapter lesson while I ate breakfast. I neglected my Google Reader, which I am now reserving for time when I’m engaged in unproductive activities (Bachelorette on Mondays, NBA Finals on Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday). I then got myself excited about doing essay questions because I realized it’s the only kind of bar review where I can actually listen to music while I work. My feeling right now is that when we look back on this week, we’ll mark it as a turning point. Perhaps we’ll call it the “Week of the Essay.”

Realistically, though, we know that probably won’t happen and we’ll end up calling it “The Week Nathan Mowed the Lawn,” or “The Week Nathan was Asked to Take His Grandma to the Doctor,” or “The Week Nathan Sat in an Online Waiting Room for an Hour Because His Sister Did Not Have Time to Purchase Her Big Ten Football Season Tickets.”

Jeanette is also seeking out alternative, hopefully more effective studying methods and locales:

Something I realized about studying at home (as opposed to en masse at your law school with law school friends) is that it is extremely helpful for someone who can be as large of a stress case as myself. I know that I get concerned, almost panicked, when I speak to someone and they tell me they’re a little further ahead in the readings than I am. It makes me feel behind, and my mind just drifts to the deep recesses of worry and I can’t quite get out until I am finally caught up (or ahead). So my one little piece of advice for future bar takers would be this: studying alone can have its advantages. For someone as stress-prone as myself, it can even be preferable.

Jeanette and I are quite different. For me, studying at home used to always turn into something akin to what Nathan was describing. “Studying and coincidentally also watching two whole seasons of 30 Rock.” Or “working diligently… to learn Good Times Bad Times on bass.”

But that’s why you do what works! She continues:

On a lighter note, I am writing from the airport as I get ready to board my flight to Chicago. I feel a little silly carrying my giant backpack of Themis books, but I gotta do what I gotta do to stay in the game. I am looking forward to spending some time with my sister!

But I asked her to map out nearby Starbucks locations and public libraries so I can read up on fertile octogenarians and unindicted co-conspirators whenever I have downtime.

Mmmmm. Captivating. Keep reading to hear Andrew analyze the five stages of grief, err, I mean bar review studying….

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