After the Bar Exam: So You’ve Got Your Life Back

It’s over. It’s behind you. You’ve taken the bar exam.

If you’re lucky, you’ve got some time off before you start working. If you’re unlucky (or let’s face it, luck-neutral), you’re still waiting on an actual job offer before you start working. Either way, you now have to find a way to fill all the hours in the day you used to spend studying. It’s freeing, but it can also be daunting: not so much skipping through a meadow of free time as it is staring into the soul-shaking abyss of an empty schedule. Here’s how to deal:

  • Save your personal relationships. Your friends outside the legal world might need to be reminded that you are alive. Your romantic partner might need to be reminded why they are with you.
  • Catch up on pop culture. At best, you were able to make time for Arrested Development season 4, back in the optimistic early days of bar exam study season. But you almost certainly missed Orange is the New Black, which is just as good as everyone says it is, lends itself to binge-watching, AND features some hot girl-on-girl action. Pacific Rim is an entire movie about giant robots punching giant monsters in the face. Jay-Z dropped a new album. All this and more. Catch up now or you’ll forever have a black hole in your cultural fitness.
  • Pick up a new hobby. I taught myself to (badly) play harmonica after the bar exam, and started on a giant cross-stitch pattern (which I am still intermittently working on). My brother-in-law planted a vegetable garden. Maybe take a page from George W. Bush and take up oil painting. Point is: your brain is still in learning overdrive. Take advantage of this window of opportunity. Whatever activity you pick is almost definitely more interesting than property law.
  • Go outside. Don’t miss all of summer. Sure, it’s August now, which depending on where you live might mean outside is a muggy hell-hole, but get some warm weather fun in while you still can: run through a sprinkler, drink mojitos outside (in a way that complies with your local liquor ordinances, naturally), wear a sundress and/or ogle girls in sundresses.
  • Or do nothing at all. Stay horizontal all day, staring at the ceiling. Only eat take-out. Better yet, delivery. Go days without charging your phone. Basically, act like a majorly depressed person. NO JUDGMENT. You’ve earned it.

Congrats on making it through bar exam season. May it be your last.

[Image: Happy businessman standing on field before the sunset via Shutterstock]

Robin Hitchcock is an American writer living in Cape Town, South Africa. She is an inactive member of the bar which makes her much less bitter than working lawyers. Robin writes sketch comedy for the Pittsburgh-based all-female troupe Frankly Scarlett and performs improv comedy with Cape Town's The Long Shots. Robin is also a staff writer for the feminist media criticism site Bitch Flicks. You can find more of her writing at her blog, tumblr, and Twitter.

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