Bad Days While Bar Studying

For those of you who don't know, I've been studying for the bar for about three weeks now. It took about a week to get into a good pattern/schedule of studying (which I will share soon); however, lately that schedule has been upended by some bad days, which unfortunately, are very common for a lot of people right now. I'm not talking about waking up and just not wanting to study. I'm talking about those days when you try your very best to study, but things keep getting in your way. Those days when you just don't have it in you to study. Those days when you have absolutely nothing left. Maybe someone close to you got sick, maybe everything going on in the world is making you exhausted and scared. Maybe you yourself got some bad health news. Studying for the bar has this weird way of making you feel like if you don't give your best 24/7, you won't pass. And when those bad days happen, you feel like you can't give in. However, with everything going on right now, bad days are almost impossible to avoid.

So here are my tips for dealing with bad days while trying to study for the bar exam.

First, I recommend doing a few things that usually make you happy. Get your favorite fast food meal for lunch, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, go for a walk, treat yourself to that afternoon soda/coffee/tea that you usually try to avoid, turn off your phone, put on a facemask, take a short nap, etc. Whatever can usually cheer you up. I tend to find that most days, doing one or two of those things can cheer me up and allow me to re-focus for the rest of the day.

However, some days those small things might not be enough. If you tried some of your normal go-tos to cheer you up, but are still feeling down, unable to focus, or just all around crappy, log off from your bar prep and turn off your computer. That's right. Take the rest of the day off. I am a firm believer that your mood impacts your performance. Remember that one bad day of studying or not studying for a day will not cause you to fail the bar. If you just can't continue studying, that is okay. It's better to take the rest of the day off than to push through just to check things off your list. If you can't focus, you won't retain anything you learned that day, and it will be a waste. Not only that, but you will be even more tired or in a worse mood because you forced yourself to study when you didn't have anything left in you anymore.

Once you make the decision to take the rest of the day off (which is totally okay!), do what you need to do. Unplug from everything, take a nap, go for a walk, take a relaxing bath, call a friend. Do whatever you need to do. I highly recommend doing something to fill up your cup though...something to recenter you and give you the ability to hit the books hard tomorrow. I usually call a close friend or spend some time journalling. Hopefully, the time you take off will allow you to rest and to prepare for another day of studying. I often remind myself at the end of a hard day, that tomorrow is a new day. 

Burnout while studying for the bar is REAL, and pushing through those absolutely horrible days is a solid way to increase your chances of burning out. You know yourself and if you need to take the rest of the day off, do it. This one day will not cause you to fail. What is more imporntant is that you take care of yourself and that you let yourself have a few bad days.


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