Countdown to the NY Bar I

There are 59 days, 11 hours, 40 minutes and 23 seconds until I sit for the New York State Bar Examination.

Until then, I will spend every day studying. This is normally a difficult and stressful time for anyone preparing for the bar but I feel like I’m running the race with gorilla on my back. Whereas it’s suggested that those studying for the bar spend 5-8 hours each day (not including the 4hours of lecture 5 days/week) practicing test questions, revising notes and soaking in the material, I am at work for 8 hours. This means that I’m going to be squeezing in torts, property, sales, evidence, etc. into my train ride into the city, on my lunch breaks and whenever else I can manage. What about weekends you say? Bah. I’ve got to put in 10-12 hours between Saturday and Sunday, not to mention whatever I couldn’t get done during the week. Bye-bye social life. Not that I had much of one to begin with. More like bye-bye sleep, sex, and shopping – the things that keep a woman sane.

Long time readers of this blog know that I’ve had a back and forth relationship with taking the bar. First I was going to do it, then I couldn’t afford it, so I put it off and contemplated not bothering at all. Of course being who I am, I can’t let shit go like that, so I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I got some closure on my legal education and finish what I set out to do years ago. Whether I go on to practice law sometime in the future isn’t important to me now. I just want to get it over with.

The classes aren’t so bad. I’ve been to three lectures and the professor was really awesome. I bet they won’t all be as good and there are a ton of topics I never covered in school so there will be difficult weeks ahead. Right now, my focus is on getting into a routine where I can stop being so run down and stressed out. I tend to get a little anxious sometimes when things get overwhelming. I’m usually in control of things or I recognize when letting go of control is necessary. Unfortunately in this situation, I feel like the choice to let go is not mine and I’m being taken along for this two month torture ride. This morning, in a mad dash to make sure my laptop was configured for the examination before today’s deadline, I ended up stepping in some mushy dog poop. That small, annoying incident triggered the other small, annoying things that have cropped up over the past week and BOOM – tears on the subway. Luckily I have a cute handkerchief from Tokyo so even when I cry in public like a weirdo I look chic.

I’ve started waking up an hour earlier than normal. That’s a big deal for me because I don’t like waking up early at all unless it involves going on vacation. I’m starting to realize that TWO HOURS EARLIER might be necessary to really get things done. On a positive note, I’ve started to observe a whole new crop of New Yorkers on the post-11pm bus from Downtown Brooklyn to Bed-Stuy so that should amuse me. My bar review books (all 9 of them) are ridiculously large and heavy. I plan to have wicked biceps and triceps by August. Obviously updating this blog will take even longer than usual but stay tuned as I’m sure to need this space to rant about bar prep and sleep deprivation.

  • Moni

    GOOD LUCK!!! I’m also taking the NY bar, but not working this summer for the first time since high school (I worked during the school year in 2L and 3L as well). Today was also my first week of bar class (torts guy?). How are you approaching studying outside of class? I know the course recommends creating a mini outline every night, but I was never an outliner in law school and don’t know if it will be helpful now. Instead, I’m considering creating flash cards to review on the go. Thoughts?

    • Kia, JD

      @Moni, Ha! Did you not like the torts guy? I thought he was hilarious although it seems some folks were offended by his jokes. It helped me get through the hours, that’s for sure.

      • Moni

        I thought he was funny too. Much better than NY practice guy, though I suppose with that subject there’s only so much you can do.

  • Moni

    GOOD LUCK!!! I’m also taking the NY bar, but not working this summer for the first time since high school (I worked during the school year in 2L and 3L as well). Today was also my first week of bar class (torts guy?). How are you approaching studying outside of class? I know the course recommends creating a mini outline every night, but I was never an outliner in law school and don’t know if it will be helpful now. Instead, I’m considering creating flash cards to review on the go. Thoughts?

    • Kia, JD

      @Moni, Ha! Did you not like the torts guy? I thought he was hilarious although it seems some folks were offended by his jokes. It helped me get through the hours, that’s for sure.

      • Moni

        I thought he was funny too. Much better than NY practice guy, though I suppose with that subject there’s only so much you can do.

  • Robert

    Good luck. I feel your pain. NY is no joke, I’ve been practicing for almost three years, yet the OH bar feels like yesterday. Not sure what bar prep class you’re taking, but whatever their study plan is, follow it to the letter. I worked a full-time job while studying and I’m sure the only thing that helped me was sticking to the schedule. The main thing is managing anxiety and, believe it or not, taking a break from time to time. 2 hour study increments, no more. Good luck.

    • Kia, JD

      @Robert, Thanks. Back at ya!

  • Robert

    Good luck. I feel your pain. NY is no joke, I’ve been practicing for almost three years, yet the OH bar feels like yesterday. Not sure what bar prep class you’re taking, but whatever their study plan is, follow it to the letter. I worked a full-time job while studying and I’m sure the only thing that helped me was sticking to the schedule. The main thing is managing anxiety and, believe it or not, taking a break from time to time. 2 hour study increments, no more. Good luck.

    • Kia, JD

      @Robert, Thanks. Back at ya!