Welcome to the first installment of the Bar Exam Blues edition of The Struggle, a series where we examine the mental-health and social issues that students and recent graduates encounter during the oftentimes grueling law school experience. We are posting these stories because sometimes what law students and recent graduates need is to know that they’re not alone in their pain. Sometimes what law students and recent graduates need is to know that they’ve got a friend who is willing to share not just in their triumphs, but also in their struggles. These are real messages from real readers.
If these issues resonate with you, please reach out to us. Your stories need to be heard. You can email us, text us at (646) 820-8477, or tweet us @atlblog. We will share your stories anonymously. You may be able to help a law student or recent law school graduate who needs to know that someone else has been there before and survived.
Law school graduates across the country will sit for the July 2022 administration of the bar exam in about three weeks. Are you nervous about your performance thus far? Do you think that failure is in your future? We’re publishing a reader story today to let others know that they’re not alone in their fears about failing. (And please keep in mind, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t pass. It is possible to overcome bar exam failure, pass on a subsequent try, and go on to an illustrious career, in the law or otherwise.)
I think I’m going to fail the bar exam.
I’ve been scoring well on all of my practice tests but I just can’t help it. It’s getting so difficult for me to study without thinking about what’s going to happen to me if I fail the bar exam.
My law school friends get it. They understand, at least a little bit. But no one seems as tortured about this as I do.
My family and friends (outside of law school) have been trying to comfort me, letting me know that they’re all sure I’ll pass. “You’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.” But what if I’m not fine? What if I can’t stop worrying? What if it’s the constant worrying that makes me fail the bar exam?
I can’t stop the intrusive thoughts about what will happen to me after I fail the bar exam. They are plaguing my mind. I’m going to get fired by my firm. Loans are due soon. I’m not going to be able to pay them. I’m not going to have any money. I’m not going to be able to pay my rent. Or eat. I’m going to fail the bar exam because I can’t stop thinking about failing the bar exam.
Does anyone else feel this way? I can’t be the only one. What if I’m the only one?
I’m going to fail the bar exam.
Most colleges and universities have counseling and psychological services resources that students and graduates can turn to if they are in crisis or would like counseling, even after hours. If these services are not available at your school, and if you’re depressed and in need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or a lawyer assistance program in your state. Remember that you are loved, so please reach out if you need assistance, before it’s too late. Don’t become a statistic — please seek help.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Leave a Reply