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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go: The Bar Exam Marathon

JD, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

The days following law school graduation are like finding out you won a race… only to be told “false start, back to the starting line.” Thinking back to last year, there was so much excitement around graduation. My family and friends talked about the accomplishment and milestone in my life, but given that none of them are lawyers, they failed to understand that the hard work wasn’t over. On the contrary, the hardest part in the process of becoming a lawyer was just beginning— the bar exam!

I recall anyone with at least 1 working vocal cord wanting to give me their thoughts on the bar, including people who had never even taken it. Like all advice, I took the bits and pieces that I liked and applied them in a manner that I felt was reasonable. However, by far, the best piece of advice that I’ll share with you is to think about taking the bar exam as training for a marathon — pace yourself and settle in for the long haul. You will get tired and encounter road blocks, but the key is to know when to push through them and when to take a break. It really is a test of endurance with a bit of knowledge thrown in. You will have to build up stamina.

I have also applied the above piece of advice to the practice of law. Given that I will be doing this for the rest of my life, I definitely avoid thinking of each assignment as just one quick sprint that I need to race through to get to the next one. Therefore, whether it is as a practitioner or as a recent graduate preparing for the bar exam, always take a moment to celebrate the small and incremental victories. These are what will motivate you to keep plugging away as oppose to throwing in the towel.

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