Tips for dealing with family and friends during bar prep

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GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Guest insight: What they think about bar prep and Tips and tricks when dealing with family members and friends

Hey, everyone! Today I met with my friend Scott to discuss his experience with bar prep and his tips and tricks. I wanted to pass along some of his advice and give you some more insight on the ~bar prep experience~

Me: “Scott, what has your experience with the course been like?”

Scott: “The course has given me the opportunity to review in ways that I didn’t think that I needed. I’ve grown a lot, not only as a bar taker but as a problem solver. BARBRI gives me what I need and nothing more. This might sound negative, but it definitely isn’t. Because BARBRI gives me the tools that I need when I need them, I don’t feel overwhelmed or that I need to do more than what is given to me…although I do end up doing more because stress, anxiety, you name it, BARBRI hasn’t been overwhelming and that has been key to my success in studying so far. I feel as if I know what I need to do and have the tools to do just that.

Me: “Exactly! I’ve been so pleased with BARBRI’s study plan. I love how it adjusts to me and my schedule and it doesn’t give me too much to do so that I feel overwhelmed. Scott, let’s talk about something that I had a little bit of trouble with during the first few weeks of bar prep–tips and tricks when dealing with family members or close friends. It was so hard for me to set proper boundaries to ensure my success. A few folks had some issues with me not being available, but the bottom line is that this takes priority. It was hard to digest for some people who are close to me.”

Scott: “I completely understand. I had to sit my family down and explain to them what was going on. I’m taking a huge test that determines my future at the end of July. The test is three days long—I think that by giving them stats and an ability to appreciate the magnitude of what this is, they were better able to understand why all of my time had to be given to myself and bar prep. Anything outside of that comes secondarily. You know, I also had to appreciate the fact that my friends and family aren’t experts on the bar exam or what it takes, so I can’t expect them to appreciate what it is. I had to let them know that I need my space, but I’ll reach out if something is needed.”

Me: “Okay. I know that some people have had problems when friends and family don’t get it even after they had a conversation. What happens if those who are close to you keep bugging you or demanding your attention?”

Scott: “You have to remind them that this is part of your growth as a person. If they love you and support you then they will back off and do what it takes to support you during this time, and that includes backing off if they need to. Taking this time for you will help you reach your goals and as a result, they should respect that. You’re still going to have some folks that just don’t get it. That’s okay! If that’s the case, the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to remember that it’s okay to be selfish right now. You need to be. The most important thing in your life at this point in time is studying for this exam. You have to put your well-being first for two months, well one month now. It’s a short time. You can do it and they will be fine in the long run.”

Me: “That’s a great point, Scott. What if they’re just trying to help? What are some different ways in which they can help you?”

Scott: “They can be there for you during those non-bar exam moments. It’s critical to take some time away and the best way you can get your mind off of the stress of the exam is to spend time with those who aren’t engulfed in studying. It’s important to have those friends and family during this time because you’re so immersed in bar prep that you have to remind yourself that you’re still a human. You still need time away to decompress and they can help you with that.”

Me: “Exactly. It’s so nice to be able to ‘get away’ sometimes. Do you have any specific examples of ways in which your friends and family can help?”

Scott: “By bringing you food and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle through bar exam prep. One of the most important things is to keep a healthy body and mind. You aren’t going to have that if you’re eating like crap every day–you won’t feel like studying and you won’t do your best because of it. I also know that some of my friends who took the exam last year had their friends and family do their laundry when their time was limited. That’s another great way to assist with chores that need to get done, but they take so much time.”

That’s it!

Keep these tips in the back of your mind and you’ll be able to #OwnTheBar!


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