BAR

Studying for the BAR is a beast. They tell you it is like running a marathon, and therefore you cannot hope to go full blast the entire time. It is also a test that is not looking for perfection, rather is looking for competency.

These two items are things I have issues with. As a person with ADHD, I often suffer from pace problems. Therefore, I have spent an extremely long amount of time seated in a space (some days I had good air conditioned quiet space, others….well I’ll get into that later) hunched over a book with a rainbow of highlighters and color coded pens writing and highlighting large tombs (courtesy of my BARBRI tuition) in order to do well on this exam.

I have also been subjected to a number of conversations (I say subjected to as I was not an active participant, rather I was forced to listen to this prior to video lectures) wherein students detailed their study schedule and freaked out that they were unable to grasp whatever concept. It has gotten to the point that when I start to hear these conversations I pop my earphones back in and listen to something/anything to prevent myself from being auditorily violated by others’ insecurity.

Most of all the biggest thing I’ve noticed is how happy a person I am normally. I have never, even during my darkest of days, come home repeatedly hostile and angry as much as I have in the past 2 months. If something, no matter how small, did not go as I wanted to, I feel slighted by the world.

It was this realization that made me remember….the world….owes me nothing. Generally I am a pleasant person, and I have found being pleasant comes with certain advantages (people are generally nice back) and disadvantages (I am harassed by an odd assortment of people). However, I never knew that being mean, or at least perceived as mean, came with a different set of advantages (people generally avoid you and get out of your way) and disadvantages (no one cares if you are in a bad mood). Still….I felt that if I expressed my inner turmoil and frustration, I, who is generally nice, would get a big break from the world.

The world owes no one any favors.

This realization has helped me come back to myself to some degree. I still get angry, but I’ve returned to at least not holding onto my anger any longer than is absolutely necessary. No sooner had I taken up this philosophy than as I walked to study I came across $20.00. I even ran after the woman in front of me to make sure she had not dropped it.

Apparently the world owes no favors, but does tend to give bonuses for those who return to good behavior.

So to all of us who are stressed out….I want to just say…some of the dumbest people have passed the BAR, and while I don’t consider myself a genius, I don’t consider myself incapable of passing this exam. I just recognize to do well, I need to work hard, harder than I want to work, but it is not beyond my ability.

All the above as written sounds good, and it feels good to write, but I will say….today I wanted to murder someone in the New York Public Library, because he was blaring his headphones and when he tapped his foot on the floor I could feel it. After my 5th or 7th “Stop that!” stare of death, I realized it was futile, and returned home to Hoboken to finish my studies. I feel I shall spend the remainder of my studytime in Newark, where I will accomplish a great deal, and want to murder the public transit system for making me wait an hour to take a trip that by car would be 15 minutes.

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1 Comment

  1. Tanglethis said,

    July 16, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Hello. Believe that I feel deep, deep empathy for this.
    A great deal of a doctoral program is exactly this. Having to set your own pace and schedule, not knowing what the optimal schedule will look like for you yet knowing that you will be expected to perform optimally at the end of it. Swapping study/working tips with colleagues, but not usually in a “let’s help each other” way. More like the “conversation” you described above, or sometimes a variation where one participant proclaims his/her techniques with confidence and everyone else fakes interest, feels deflated. The whole process has been described as “warping,” and it is.
    You’re doing an abbreviated but intensified version of that. Of course it feels like shit. But you’re right that you have to try to feel like shit as briefly as possible.

    This might be helpful or annoying: http://tanglethis.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/writing-tips-for-the-self-doubting-academic/
    Annoying because it is really obnoxious to be given study tips when you’re DOING THE BEST YOU CAN, DAMMIT. Possibly helpful because at least it might be nice to commiserate. They are mostly philosophical tips. (“Know thyself.”)


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