After three days and 18 rigorous hours, the bar exam is finally over! Although your stress level may still be elevated as you play the “waiting game” for the following months and anxiously anticipate your results, now is the time to have fun and relax! After having taken the LSAT to get into law school, graduating from law school, preparing for the Bar, and taking the test, it’s time to set aside academic responsibilities or other stresses and enjoy yourself! Here are five ways for you to have fun, celebrate your hard work, dedication, and effort, and enjoy the present moment:
1. Go On Vacation
Although it may sound cliché, the best way to clear your mind and enjoy yourself is to travel to an exotic location with a nice climate, beautiful beaches, and mojitos. Studying for the bar exam is an isolating, dreary, “lock-yourself away in your room” experience and, in order to move on, sometimes the best strategy is to drastically change up the status quo. In this case, I would suggest going somewhere with energy, vitality, and, sun (of course) so that the stressful memories of sleepless nights, long days, and a brain on the verge of exploding from all the memorization can fade away. If traveling to exotic warm climates like the Bahamas, Cancun, or the Mediterranean is out of your price range or not feasible, there is always a “bar trip” to Vegas!
2. Visit With Family and Friends
Since becoming a licensed attorney is a full-time commitment that lasts for years, you may feel like you have neglected family, friends, or significant others throughout the process. It is perfectly normal to focus on the task at hand, which will naturally diminish your free time and availability to visit with those closest to you. Now that the test is over, you should visit with your friends and family, let them know how grateful you are to them for their emotional and/or financial support, and catch up on lost time. We all have our good friends that did not attend law school and who may resent the fact we did not find enough time in our schedule to fit them in. Now is your chance to spend time freely with each and every one of the people you care about without the elephant in the room of finals, case briefs, law review, or bar preparation forcing you to cut the social encounter short.
3. Get into Good Physical Shape Through Dieting and Exercise
Preparing for the bar exam often forces you to be sedentary. Many people barely get off their couch, up from their desk, or out of their bed because they want to spend every waking moment studying for the biggest test of their lives. As a result, this lifestyle isn’t conducive to exercise, fitness, or physical conditioning. Now that the test is over, go for a run or a hike, play pick-up basketball, get on a treadmill, or lift weights at the gym. Exercise coupled with a diet that isn’t selected from the “Most Efficient and Convenient Foods to Eat When Studying For the Bar” list, which includes Top-Ramen, TV dinners, or fast-food, will help your body recover from the unhealthy lifestyle that studying for the bar exam often promotes. Although working out and dieting are not as fun as vacationing, once you establish a routine, you will be surprised at how much you enjoy taking care of your body.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
For me, nothing helps me recover from a period of intense stress than a long, relaxing sleep. Allowing your body to return to a normal sleep schedule will help you physically and mentally recuperate, as well as help you prepare for your professional routine. It is safe to say that studying for the bar interferes with a healthy sleep schedule. Once you’re done, nothing may sound better or more fun than curling up in your bed, shutting your eyes, turning off the alarm, and relishing the tranquility of being able to sleep in without any pressing commitments. If you are the type of person whose natural sleep rhythm involves taking power naps, then take as many as needed in order to “recharge” your batteries and restore your body to its natural equilibrium that was likely disturbed when studying long hours for the bar.
5. Launch your Legal Career
Notwithstanding these four tips, you should not “check-out” completely by ignoring your legal future and avoiding applying to jobs. Just because you have worked hard to become an attorney and pass the bar exam doesn’t automatically catapult you into a job at a prestigious law firm. You need to have a strategy to find your first associate position, whether it is through personal connections or systematically applying for jobs. I would highly recommend using incredible Internet services like LawCrossing or Legal Authority. LawCrossing is the largest legal job boards on the Internet and has tens of thousands of job postings throughout the country. Legal Authority also helps law school graduates and attorneys find jobs by preparing a targeted mailing to firms that match their specified practice areas, size, and location. Trust me, nothing will make you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated than knowing you have your first job as an attorney already lined up.
Remember that, no matter what the outcome of the bar exam is, you worked very hard and should celebrate your achievements. For those of you who do pass, congratulations! However, keep your eye on the prize and work even harder to accomplish your goals in the legal profession. For those of you who do not pass, the Apocalypse isn’t coming. Simply learn from your mistakes and conquer the beast the next time around!