Friday, October 3, 2014

Uh-oh: It's October. That Can Only Mean One Thing. . . .

"The waiting is the hardest part. . . ."

Damn you, Tom Petty. . . .

But he's right, you know: waiting just might be the hardest part of the bar exam. For many of you, October 17 will bring immense joy and relief. For others, it will bring sadness and despair. No matter how anxious you are now, the outcome will not change. What’s done was done back in July. I could say don’t bother worrying about October 17, but I know you will anyway. But try your best to keep the anxiety to a minimum. It really is wasted energy.

Chances are, the VBBE is finalizing the PASS/FAIL list by now, cross-checking their grades and tallies. For you, the last week or so will likely be a miserable one - the worst period, in my opinion. In the previous two months, when exam anxiety crept up, you could write it off ("Results are still months away, forget about it. For now."). As the moment of truth nears, that former luxury will vanish. Some of you might already have a gut-reaction on how you fared. (The poll on the left-hand side of my homepage reflects some of your reactions.) 

Now, for those of you who are fearing the worst, trust me when I say that your future is not nearly as disastrous as you are convinced it will be. Six months from October 17, you will look back on that low point as being the better for it. In the grand scheme, failing the bar exam on your first try is a puny blip on the screen. The problem is, bar examinees are very shortsighted. Anxieties are up, jobs sway in the balance, the fear of repeating feels like a death sentence. Basically, we magnify everything in our tunnel of vision. Bar exam results will never, ever define who you are, neither personally nor professionally nor any other way. You are ten times better than the bar exam to allow it to bring you down to a level of constant despair and anxiety and self-pity. Especially in this last week, you must not forget that. Pass or fail, you are still great.

If failing the bar exam is the worst thing you ever experience in life, consider yourself immensely fortunate. I expect you will face far greater challenges in your life.  So, honestly, don’t fear October 17. It’s not Doomsday. Take it in stride, and keep your head up whatever the outcome.

As a final aside, October 17 is not exactly a hard-and-fast date. Historically, the VBBE either posts results on the stated day or else the day before, in this case October 16. But for what it's worth, my hunch is on October 17. It's a Friday, and I look at it from the VBBE's perspective: Post results, close the office early to avoid the mass stampede of crazy phone calls, and let the whole thing blow over the weekend. Again, this is just my hunch. But don't expect any results before October 16.


Good luck, everybody! Hang in there, and remember to keep these next two weeks in perspective. Please, just trust me on this one. You're going to be fine.

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