7 Awesome and Productive Things to Do While Waiting for Bar Exam Results
Often times, students think taking the bar exam is the hardest part of becoming a licensed attorney. However, waiting around for bar exam results presents its own set. of challenges. Struggling to find productive things to do while waiting for bar results is common! While many students may feel jumping headfirst into the workforce is a sign of productivity, there are many other ways to be productive while you wait for bar exam results. In this post, we focus on productive things to do while waiting for your bar exam results.
7 Awesome and Productive Things to Do While Waiting for Bar Exam Results
1. Research areas of law that you are passionate about.
It’s no secret that you might not be 100% sure what area of law you want to practice in once you graduate law school. It doesn’t help that immediately after law school you become so focused on passing the bar exam that you don’t have time to research what areas of the law might be of particular interest to you. Luckily, after you take the bar exam, you’ll have time to dig deep and reflect on what areas of law you are passionate about so that you are ready to hit the ground running once your results are released.
One good research tool is to contact your law school career services department to see if they have any resources available for areas of the law that are of particular interest to you. They also might be able to put you in touch with an alum who specialize in that practice area. Also, if you don’t already have a job lined up, make sure to scour job postings. You never know when you might run across a position that is in an area of particular interest to you!
Another great way to gain information is to talk directly to a source who has experience. Spend some time going to networking events. Even though you’re not yet licensed, you can likely tag along to student bar association events. Not sure where to start? You can find tips for navigating networking receptions here. You might can even attend a court hearing or two as you investigate new areas of the law.
2. Learn something about finances.
Getting caught up on your finances can be a great idea while you’re waiting for bar exam results. If you have a job lined up, you can put together a budget based on your current salary (and factor in any anticipated salary increases once you get your results). This might be more challenging if you don’t already have a job lined up, but it’s still a good idea to have an underestanding of what your expenses are. For many students, their student loans will start becoming due, so make sure to factor those into your budget!
3. Update your resume and LinkedIn page.
Your resume probably still reflects you are a third-year law student and your LinkedIn page likely reflects the same information. Luckily, you’ll have a little extra time on your hands after taking the bar exam to do some updating. However, don’t just update them, also get feedback from professionals on how you can make them better so you’ll be marketable in the job force. Your resume is your first impression to prospective employers and you want to be sure it doesn’t hinder you from obtaining your dream job. Your law school career services office often has tools to help with this, and most are willing to serve as a second set of eyes!
Likewise, LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool that you can utilize for a wide range of professional advancements. By updating your LinkedIn profile, you can be sure that the searches you appear in contain the most up-to-date information.
4. Reflect on what you want out of life.
This may sound a little cliché. However, have you considered where you want to be in five or even ten years? Self-reflection should be at the very center of this tip because sometimes when we are working to achieve our goals tunnel vision sets in. Most students are so focused on finishing up law school and studying for the bar exam they don’t give much thought to their life after these events. Now is the perfect time to give it some thought!
Here are just a few examples of questions you might ask yourself:
- Do I want to start a family?
- Where would I like to live?
- What type of work environment do I want to be in?
- What will I do if I don’t pass the bar?
- What types of hobbies do I want to have outside of my work?
- What’s my plan if the first job I get isn’t what I’m ultimately looking for?
Use these types of questions as a base for creating a plan and putting together some goals. Remember, nothing is set in stone! This is merely an exercise to get you thinking about your future. Your plan can be as detailed or as vague as you want it to be. It might be helpful to write down some of your goals.
Go easy on yourself if you have to deviate from your plan here and there, and be sure to spend some time re-evaluating as necessary. Re-group, re-focus, and hit the ground running again!
5. Focus on your mental and physical health.
Let’s face it, going through law school and studying for the bar exam is an extremely stressful period of time. Studying for months and then being forced to wait for bar exam results can bring on anxiety, fear, and in some cases even depression. It’s also no secret that being a lawyer is a high-stress career and mental health conversations in the profession continue to rise. The ABA even featured an article addressing health in the legal profession. This study details how mental health problems in the legal profession are continuing to rise, and it shows how important it is for attorneys to take mental health seriously.
Now that you have more time on your hands you can put mental and physical health at the top of your priority list, especially if you think that you were not able to prioritize them the way you wanted to as you prepared for the bar exam. For mental health, try journaling. Journaling has so many positive mental health benefits because it gives you a space to pour out your happiest moments as well as moments that were more challenging or sad. Maybe you struggle with verbalizing your feelings and sometimes writing them out and leaving them all on the pages helps you feel relieved. Meditation or a fun activity or hobby can also give you the mental break that you need.
Another great avenue for increased mental health is getting enough rest! This may sound like something of little importance when you probably spent the last three years studying at all hours of the day–but lack of proper rest can be detrimental! Think about the adrenaline rush you had when you finished the bar exam. You likely walked out pumped and glad it was over. When you finally got home and settled in, you realized immediately how tired you were. You probably felt like you could sleep for days and even that wouldn’t be enough to catch up on all the rest you lost over the past few months. For your brain to function at optimal capacity, proper rest should be at the top of the list. Don’t feel guilty about catching up on some sleep!
To get your physical health on track maybe consider getting a gym membership if you don’t already have one or obtaining a personal trainer. You could also sign up for a class at a local recreation center if you want something a bit more structured. Sometimes having the gym membership and knowing that it is going to be auto-drafted out of your account each month helps to spark some motivation to head to the gym. Also, getting a personal trainer may help with accountability in the event you struggle with pushing yourself physically.
Not a gym person? Instead, try inviting an accountability partner out for a bike ride, hike, or walk. Even if you only engage in these activities twice a week to start, at least you are getting back out there and can challenge yourself to increase your activity over time.
Lastly, keep in mind that working out is only half the battle when it comes to physical health. What we consume in our bodies is equally important. While you wait for your bar exam results can be a great time to get in the habit of meal planning and eating well-balanced meals.
6. Spend time with family and friends.
Studying for the bar exam can be a very isolating time in your life. For 3-6 months, you were likely unable to connect with your family and friends on a daily basis. Ensuring your personal relationships stay strong and intact makes for a better overall quality of life in the long run. This is especially true when you are faced with what could be a very stressful career of being an attorney. That’s why it’s important that before you get busy with your career, take some time to listen, engage, laugh, and create memories with the people who supported you along your very challenging journey.
7. Do stuff you loved to do before studying for the bar exam.
There were probably times you wanted to kick back and catch up on the latest Netflix series or read a book for leisure and fun instead of required readings for bar study. Your career may soon have you too busy to make time for the little joys of life. Life post-bar exam might just be the perfect time to enjoy these things! Don’t feel bad for spending all day on the couch in your pajamas while watching your favorite show. Also, take time to plan a much-needed vacation if traveling is something you love to do.
So–watch the show and buy the plane ticket. Enjoy the things that made you happy prior to studying for the bar exam while you wait for results. Once your career takes off, you may wish you had spent a little more time doing things you love!
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