Post-Bar exam depression (+How to cope)

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This article will discuss Post-Bar exam depression, why you might be feeling it, how it makes you feel, and how you can get a handle on that situation.

Post-Bar exam depression 

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Soon, you may feel differently, like you have lost your purpose. It is in this scenario that Post-Bar exam depression can set in. Taking the Bar exam is something you usually put a lot of energy and effort into. You will spend months preparing for it. 

As soon as you are out of law school, which was already an intense time in your life, all your focus turns to the Bar exam. You will go straight from those sleepless nights, and cramming sessions that law school required of you, to dedicate yourself to Bar exam preparatory courses, and many extra hours for studying. 

So as soon as you finish the test, people may start congratulating you, saying you are now free. And even though for a brief moment it may seem like it, you will finally be able to take some days of rest, you might be hit with a wave of emotions.

You may not know what to do with yourself and feel bored and restless. This can affect your motivation for doing other things, and opening yourself up to new possibilities. You may feel overwhelmed as you wait for the result and people keep asking how did you go.

In this perspective, some people that may have a job lined up for them right after the Bar Exam can have an easier time coping. Those people will be able to redirect their energy to some other place, 

But to others, others who will face a sense of emptiness after they are done with the Bar exam will have a lot of time to worry about whether they passed the exam or not. And that may not be their only concern. 

They can start to worry about the future, what type of job they will get, how they will establish themselves financially, and how they will be able to quit any debt they have, including their student loan.

The huge uncertainty that comes with this situation can take an emotional toll on people, leading to Post-Bar exam depression. What you may not have realized is how common this feeling is. 

Many of your friends that are also taking the Bar exam may be going through it as well. So don’t blame yourself, and keep in mind that uncertain moments can be hard on pretty much anyone

And even though the Post-Bar exam is not a clinical condition, the signs of it such as a sense of emptiness, lack of motivation, and constant worry, can feel a lot like depression. What differs from a depressive episode, is that it may be momentary. 

But if you already struggle with any mental health condition, you may want to be extra careful in how you handle the Post-Bar exam, since it can become harder for you to get out of it.

So now that you know what Post-Bar depression is, let’s discuss some ways you can cope with Post-Bar exam depression. 

Post-Bar exam depression (+How to cope)

What are ways to cope with Post-Bar exam depression? 

If you are feeling down after you have taken your Bar Exam, here are some things you can do. 

Congratulate yourself 

The first thing you should do right after you take the Bar exam is congratulating yourself. Even though it may sound strange to congratulate yourself without even knowing if you passed, it is important to do so as a way of recognizing each step.

Being able to go through the stressful process of preparing for the Bar exam is already a lot. Acknowledge your efforts, and keep in mind that you did the best you could. Valuing your effort is a way of recognizing that you already did something amazing, whether you pass the Bar or not.

Consider a temporary job or other distractions

If staying home is hard on you, and you feel too bored, you may want to try and focus on something else besides waiting for your test results. You can try to find a temporary job, or even take this time to get a handle on things that you had to leave behind because you were preparing for the Bar exam.

You may need to go to the DMV to get a new driver’s license or do a lot of laundries that you left piling up. Try to do those things you had no time for when you were studying, and you may feel more motivated, and less bored.

Exercise  

When going through things that are impacting our mental health, exercise is always a good call. You may want to get back to the workout routine you had before the Bar exam, or even take up exercising.

You may start with a short walk, or do something more intense if you feel like it. But any form of exercise will most likely make you feel better, improve your mood, and even reduce your stress levels.

Be open about your feelings

You can share how you feel with your loved ones. You may want to speak about the Bar exam or talk about completely different things, so having people around you to talk to is extremely positive.

You can even share with your friends that have also taken the Bar exam. They will probably relate to what you are going through, and you may feel understood when talking about your feelings.

Open yourself up to new activities  

In times when life seems messy, and without a certain route, try to open yourself up to new activities. You may go on a trip, or take up hiking and discover a new interest, or maybe even a new passion.

This will allow you to not feel so empty while you wait for the Bar exam results. And may even help you get a new perspective on what you want your life to be like.

Set goals for your future 

Although this may be a difficult time to set any plans, and you may feel like everything is still up in the air, try to set some possibilities of what you want out of life.

Take into consideration what you will want to do if you pass the Bar exam and if you don’t. This way you may start to feel like you have a little more control over what is going on in your life, which can make you feel more self-assured.

Get professional help

And if at any time you feel Post-bar exam depression is too intense, or you feel that it may be harming mental health conditions you were already going through, you should look for professional help.

A therapist may help you understand your emotions better. Aside from that, this process can help you learn how to navigate them more positively.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What is Post-Bar exam depression? 

How do people feel after the Bar exam? 

People may experience different emotions after they do the Bar exam. Some may feel anxious that they failed the exam, and this can happen even right after they do it. Others may begin to experience regret that they didn’t say something in the essay that they thought was important.

Aside from that, as they discuss the test with people close to them, they can start to feel angry because they have come to realize they made some mistakes. And they may also start to overly focus on questions that they didn’t know the answer to, or compare what they did to the work their colleagues did. 

What is situational depression? 

Situational depression is a form of depression that happens when a person is going through a new event in their lives and as they adjust to it, they may experience some symptoms of depression.

For example, a person may have moved to a new city, or just taken the Bar exam, and need to adjust to a new configuration of their life. This can lead to anxiety, fear, and even sadness, and hopelessness.

Situational depression usually improves when the person can integrate this new life event, be it by creating a life in a new city, or adjusting to the wait for the Bar exam results. Some people may benefit from therapy when going through situational depression. 

In talking about your feelings and emotions, you may discover ways to deal with the moment you are in, and how you can get a better handle on this new situation.

What is the hardest Bar exam?

The hardest Bar exam is the one done in the state of California. And there are some states, such as Arkansas, that seem to have Bar exams that are similar, in difficulty levels, to the California exam. 

The California State Bar exam is considered the most difficult one because of the intense schedule, being that it goes on for two days.

Can medication help with Post-Bar exam depression?

Usually, it may not be necessary to take medication when you are experiencing Post-Bar exam depression. It may be something fleeting, and as you adjust to the new configuration of your life, you may start to feel better.

But to some people, especially the ones that are already going through some mental health condition, it may be necessary to take some medication. It will help you feel calmer, and even more motivated to do things after the exam. 

In those cases, it is important to get in touch with a psychiatrist, or a mental health doctor that will evaluate you and prescribe you medication when needed.

Is it possible to take the Bar exam without going to law school?

Some states will allow a person to take the Bar exam without ever going to a law school. Those states are California, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. In some cases, the state of New York will also allow people to take the Bar exam without going to law school. 

But to do so, people are usually requested to have taken part in some legal activities. They should have worked in a law firm for more than 18 hours a week, for more than four years. 

Aside from that, they should have a positive moral character review and also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. If they comply with that, they will be able to take the bar exam.

Conclusion 

This article centered on explaining what Post-Bar exam depression is. It also explained how it can make people feel, and what are ways people can cope with it.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://www.aspenpublishing.com/blog/becoming-a-lawyer/becoming-a-lawyer-blog/2014/08/post-bartum-depression
https://astarterlife.com/2019/10/23/the-post-bar-exam-blues-and-how-to-beat-them/
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