Waiting on your future is a level of mental fatigue I honestly could not fathom until now. There’s a complete difference between planning your life goals to get to a certain point and playing the waiting game for an answer from reaching one of those goals that decides your fate. Right now, the response I’m waiting for comes from the Board of Law Examiners and – to be perfectly frank – I am terrified.
No one talks about this feeling enough, this utter panic in realizing you effectively put your life on hold until the pass list is released. It stays with you, seeps into your every waking moment and is a constant thrum at the base of your skull, all the while adding tension to your day. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, as my thoughts turn to client meetings and my tasks for the day; fleeting ideas of taking client consults alone, or not having to constantly have my work checked and re-checked by a senior attorney. Then I inevitably think about pass results throughout the day, when I answer texts or calls inquiring about whether results were released. The countless “so! when do you find out?!” questions are staggering and the litany of boilerplate responses (see below) inevitably string themselves atop each day.
While we are waiting on results, most of my law school friends have kept quiet, neither of us wanting to reach out to another because we’re concerned about the dark twists our conversations take from “how’s the weather?” to “welp, Lousiana got their results already, we obviously failed.”
This feeling isn’t rational. I’m not telling you it is. I am telling you this feeling is valid. It’s completely acceptable to feel panicked, anxious, nervous, and insecure. As of right now, we’re in a Schrodinger’s state and the pressure is palpable.
From past exams, we know that the Board may release results any time after week 12 of impatiently waiting up until the day results are promised: November 1. So, anytime I get an email notification, I freak out a little bit. I’m struggling with the I need to know and How about no one tell me anything emotion arc.
And oooh child, let me tell you! This wait is rough. This waiting period teetered into hazardous when the essay portions were released; I am a glutton for punishment and already went through each essay, desperately trying to remember what I’d written, wondering and hoping it will be enough for that 675.
I’m sure you’re feeling this dread, too. But, if you’re not an over-eager law grad with a patience problem, and you’re instead a family member or friend trying to get an inkling of insight as to what we’re going through, then here’s some free advice:
- Don’t say any of the following to your Bar-taker friend or loved one:
- “Oh. You’re so smart, of COURSE you passed!
- “Ugh. Stop worrying, there’s no point.”
- “I’m sure you did fiiiiine.”
- “Why are you still thinking about that test?”
- “Just get over it. It’s done and you can’t do anything about it.”
- “Well, it’s not the end of the world. You can take it again.”
Seriously. All those things are not advisable and any combination of the above phrases are sure to make your friend feel like poop. So, don’t do it. Typically, people who went to law school and a) graduated, or b) are within 8 hours of graduating, may sit for the exam. So, to some extent, everyone sitting for the Bar is smart, but there are some who naturally are better than others at taking exams; plus, many of us studied like fiends and still feel like it may not have been enough. For me, this one exam is the difference between an hourly clerk pay or a salaried associate position. It’s the difference between adding to our family and putting those thoughts on hold until I can forego the intense stress toll that prepping for the bar puts on my body.
It matters. a whole helluvalot. So please don’t go around brushing off the stress and worry and terror of this exam, or the weight it adds to the shoulders, when your friends are concerned about results.
We haven’t crossed the finish line yet. We’re almost there. I, for one, feel like I’ve been holding my breath for 12 weeks and – although I realize this exam does not define me – I am still waiting to exhale. This process was grueling and I can only hope for pass results because I truly do not want to go through this again.
I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone. This immense pressure is felt by most, if not all, of us. We’re in the same boat, hoping for good news. Only a few days left, folks. 16 to be exact – because I know you’re counting.