Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

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CleverGirl
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Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby CleverGirl » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:59 pm

Hello!

My husband graduates in December and will be taking the bar exam in February. I would love your advice on what I can do to support him while he studies. Right now, I'm guessing it's keeping him in good food, clean clothes, and speaking when spoken to. haha!

What else would you want?

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:25 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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kalvano
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:33 pm

My wife set up time with her friends to be out of the house so I could study and not feel bad about ignoring her. She would go to lunch, movies, just hang out and let me study. Worked out pretty well.

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Birdnals
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby Birdnals » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:35 pm

Blowjobs.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:51 pm

Birdnals wrote:Blowjobs.

Literally came here to say this. Well done Reverend.

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Gefuehlsecht
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby Gefuehlsecht » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:44 am

Refrain from telling him that he's smart and therefore he shall easily pass.
Be prepared for days of exuberance followed by nights filled with terror and hysteria.
Try to deflect the daily nuisances life tends to throw at people.
Deal with friends and family and gently, but assuredly, steer them away from extending invitations to gatherings and events.
Take napalm to his study quarters when he is tossing and turning on the couch and remove debris and plates filled with leftovers.
Organize any notes or flashcards while you're in there at your peril.
Do not disturb him when he is spinning idly in his chair, his eyes locked on a spot on the ceiling.
The covenant runs with the land.
The Rule against Perpetuities is shyte.
Be ready for self-loathing a week before the bar exam and also for ten days after, only for the misery to return a week before the results come out.
Allow him to find his results, be they good or bad. Do not text him results even if you somehow find out before him.
If he acts like a jerk towards you, more so than usual, ignore it and don't hold it against him. He really cannot help it at the moment.
A gentle squeeze of the shoulder or arm will do more good than many a word.

Do the above and he shall love you forever.

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thesealocust
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby thesealocust » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:48 am

Gefuehlsecht wrote:Refrain from telling him that he's smart and therefore he shall easily pass.


I think this is the biggest one. Mired in studying for an exam with so much material to cover, and where even a strong performance means getting a lot wrong, those kinds of words really won't be comforting.

Expect a lot of anxiety, but everyone handles that differently and responds differently to efforts to help, so you really may know best.

I'd also add that he will likely procrastinate and feel terrible about it. It's par for the course and doesn't make people fail, but simple things like asking "how long did you study today?" might seem reasonable to you while really freaking him out if he's falling short of his own goals (but again, everybody does and most people pass)

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Unitas
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby Unitas » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:23 am

thesealocust wrote:
Gefuehlsecht wrote:Refrain from telling him that he's smart and therefore he shall easily pass.


I think this is the biggest one. Mired in studying for an exam with so much material to cover, and where even a strong performance means getting a lot wrong, those kinds of words really won't be comforting.

Expect a lot of anxiety, but everyone handles that differently and responds differently to efforts to help, so you really may know best.

I'd also add that he will likely procrastinate and feel terrible about it. It's par for the course and doesn't make people fail, but simple things like asking "how long did you study today?" might seem reasonable to you while really freaking him out if he's falling short of his own goals (but again, everybody does and most people pass)


The worst things my wife would ask me during bar studying were "are you done studying?" or "do you know it now?" Regarding the former, she would mean it referring to done for the day but it was just so irritating that she didn't get I would never be done studying. She would generally say this while I was taking a 5 minute break or watching TV. Regarding the latter, I would never "know" even a fraction of it, so asking me that when I say I changed subjects just made me feel stupid and she didn't understand that.

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snowpeach06
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby snowpeach06 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:47 am

Gefuehlsecht wrote:Refrain from telling him that he's smart and therefore he shall easily pass.
Deal with friends and family and gently, but assuredly, steer them away from extending invitations to gatherings and
If he acts like a jerk towards you, more so than usual, ignore it and don't hold it against him. He really cannot help it at the moment.

These are good. I hated it when people told me "you've always done well before." In the case of the bar, you sort of need to let people be stressed out. I think it might be ok to say "you have worked hard, and you are ready for this." And as for going out, in the first month, you should take maybe one evening a week to go out for a date night and stay connected (taking time off is good for sanity),but don't pressure or even ask him to go out in the second month of studying (despite the fact that it will be the holidays, and it will suck going to a family dinner without your husband).

You are probably going to get pissed at him - he will be home all day, not clean things, yell at you. Just try to ignore it. And doing things like the weekly food shopping is a huge help - one less thing on his plate. Seemingly though, just you asking us here about this shows you'll probably be great at support. Sometimes the best thing is just being there to listen (not nag, ask questions, ect).

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manofjustice
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby manofjustice » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:07 am

You're a great wife for asking this. Seriously. Many a law student's relationships have been broken by an SO who thought things should just go on as usual while the other tries to become a lawyer. I think the breakup rate, and the breakup reasons, are probably similar for people going into the army.

All that said, I'd say five things:

a) Don't engage him with the material. If he wants to talk about it, just listen to him talk and ask questions. (I know, this can be grating for you.) This is the same for when he wants to talk about the reasons he is pressured by the task, e.g., the things that can go wrong for him for you both if he fails.

b) Don't become less attracted to him if you sense what you feel is his insecurity. He may seem insecure, but he's just stressed and trying to focus himself. You probably don't need to "puff him up." That said, a single, well-placed, well-timed "I have a feeling you'll do pretty well" can make a big difference. But that's it. No puffing up. Lawyers are too smart and skeptical for puffing-up to work. (That said, depending on his personality and mood, more or less encouragement may be required; it's usually less, but if you feel it's important to give him more, make sure you give specific reasons for your confidence in him--e.g., "remember how well you answered that question on torts?")

c) Just cheer him up with the total non-law related things that you both enjoy, whatever that is. Do you guys have a special way you like to goof off? Is there a TV series you like to watch together? (TLS recommends Breaking Bad.) The key here is that his mind will always be pulled toward the exam. For limited periods, your goal is to pull his mind away--in healthy ways. Starting a fight will be unhealthy and probably won't even work--though it's how some SO's go about the task, regrettably.

d) Regular sex.

f) Call his bluff. By "his bluff," I mean his psyche's bluff of himself. Take his nervous and competitive energy and feed it. "Yes, this is a big deal; do you want to push back dinner so you can get another hour of study in?" "Maybe we should cancel our date tonight--how are you on property?" "Okay, so let's break it down: what are your strong sections and how much are they worth?" "So, how are you doing on practice tests." This will do three things--it will tell him that you get it. It's a big deal and he's competitive. It will give him instant feedback. Instead of waiting for his score after he takes the test, he can get your approval and respect, which will pull him through his studies so he has a better chance to get a high score. Finally, it will force him to objectively evaluate how much pressure he is putting on himself. If he is a bit taken aback that you suggested that you should cancel his date, he'll remember that deep-down he thought about it to, and he might think "well, no; let's go on the date. I'll wake up early tomorrow to start property--it'll be fine." If, as is likely the case, he's too keyed-up, you want to get him to dial himself back so that he's in the zone--that balance of keyed-up but focused and relaxed.

Things will get better for the both of you.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:10 am

MoJ, when did you take the bar exam?

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:24 am

I'll try to keep this brief so you don't have to read 800 words.

1) Defer to every decision he makes about his schedule.

2) Don't be offended if he wants to be left alone. AKA - don't be needy at all.

3) If he wants to bang, just do it, it's a good stress reliever. You might even proactively suggest some banging to relieve his stress, but if he says no, drop it.

4) FEED HIM. Make sure there is readily accessible food always, so like if you're out and he snaps out of it and needs to eat a meal, he doens't have to take a bunch of time making one.

5) Make it CRYSTAL CLEAR you understand that this is an unusual phase of life, you understand the stress, and you're going to ride it out and support him and not be all up in his business about anything.

6) Otherwise - be a ghost.

Good luck, you'll be fine :)

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manofjustice
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby manofjustice » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:26 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:MoJ, when did you take the bar exam?


I did not. I would figure that the things an SO can do that are helpful for 1L exams might be helpful on the bar.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:29 am

manofjustice wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:MoJ, when did you take the bar exam?


I did not. I would figure that the things an SO can do that are helpful for 1L exams might be helpful on the bar.

Dude, if the OP's husband graduates in December, I think she's perfectly clear on how law school exams work by now. The bar is in fact different from law school exams.

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manofjustice
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby manofjustice » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:32 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
manofjustice wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:MoJ, when did you take the bar exam?


I did not. I would figure that the things an SO can do that are helpful for 1L exams might be helpful on the bar.

Dude, if the OP's husband graduates in December, I think she's perfectly clear on how law school exams work by now. The bar is in fact different from law school exams.


I have no doubt that it is different. But how and what does it matter? OP is asking about how to support someone, not how to take the bar exam.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:41 am

It matters because your head is in a different place during the bar exam than law school exams. It just is. And the OP didn't ask about how to support someone during law school exams, she asked about how to support someone taking the bar. In any case, the bar is a much longer process, it covers more material, the stakes are different, and it's much more about brute memorization.

I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said; in particular, do not tell the person "I'm sure you're going to pass," and basically be willing to ignore your SO/be ignored by him for a stretch of time. Also, if my husband had tried to "call my bluff" in the way you describe, I'd have slugged him.

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manofjustice
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby manofjustice » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:52 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:It matters because your head is in a different place during the bar exam than law school exams. It just is. And the OP didn't ask about how to support someone during law school exams, she asked about how to support someone taking the bar. In any case, the bar is a much longer process, it covers more material, the stakes are different, and it's much more about brute memorization.

I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said; in particular, do not tell the person "I'm sure you're going to pass," and basically be willing to ignore your SO/be ignored by him for a stretch of time. Also, if my husband had tried to "call my bluff" in the way you describe, I'd have slugged him.


Well it was just my suggestion. It is very annoying when people close to you don't take as seriously the things important to you as you do.

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kalvano
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby kalvano » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:01 pm

manofjustice wrote:
f) Call his bluff. By "his bluff," I mean his psyche's bluff of himself. Take his nervous and competitive energy and feed it. "Yes, this is a big deal; do you want to push back dinner so you can get another hour of study in?" "Maybe we should cancel our date tonight--how are you on property?" "Okay, so let's break it down: what are your strong sections and how much are they worth?" "So, how are you doing on practice tests." This will do three things--it will tell him that you get it. It's a big deal and he's competitive. It will give him instant feedback. Instead of waiting for his score after he takes the test, he can get your approval and respect, which will pull him through his studies so he has a better chance to get a high score. Finally, it will force him to objectively evaluate how much pressure he is putting on himself. If he is a bit taken aback that you suggested that you should cancel his date, he'll remember that deep-down he thought about it to, and he might think "well, no; let's go on the date. I'll wake up early tomorrow to start property--it'll be fine." If, as is likely the case, he's too keyed-up, you want to get him to dial himself back so that he's in the zone--that balance of keyed-up but focused and relaxed.



I would have fucking cut someone who did this. This is terrible, terrible advice.

A supportive spouse should be encouraging you to take a break now and then. You have to or you'll go crazy.

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CleverGirl
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby CleverGirl » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:01 pm

Thanks so much you guys!

I've been his primary study partner through finals, quizzing him on his outline until he could spew it back to me verbatim and explain to me in lay terms what the hell it all meant! ha! He stresses quite a lot at finals.

I've asked him to start making a list of the foods I make that he likes. He has an apartment at his school and comes home on the weekends and I've decided to start putting myself in training - house is clean, clothes are washed and put away, pot roast in the slow cooker and I'm making mint chocolate chip cookies tonight.

He will likely not study at home at all and will instead go to the library. Is it mothering or OK to pack a lunch for him to either eat there or enjoy somewhere else?

I've resolved to ask him nothing school or law related and only ask about other things. I'm making a calendar of things going on that he might enjoy as a break. I've asked family to supply movie passes for us for Christmas. I figure the breaks he does have, he may not want to talk much.

I'm OK with telling my family to back off him, but it feels weird to tell his parents to back off. Ideas on how to handle them?

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:06 pm

If my wife wasn't already so perfect, I'd marry you.

As to the parents - tell him to tell them that he needs minimal distractions while he studies and will be "in the bunker" for awhile, and that he's looking forward to a big, fun family dinner to catch up with everyone soon as he finishes taking the bar, so mark their calenders and buy plenty of scotch.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:08 pm

CleverGirl wrote: Is it mothering or OK to pack a lunch for him to either eat there or enjoy somewhere else?


You know him best, but I'd love a good wife-made sandwich where the main ingredient is love, and ham. And a snack-pak on the side. And a capri-sun.

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philosoraptor
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby philosoraptor » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:14 pm

kalvano wrote:A supportive spouse should be encouraging you to take a break now and then. You have to or you'll go crazy.
Highly agree. When I was studying this summer, it helped me pace myself to know that my wife and I both wanted some time for ourselves every evening. Having a drink and a homemade dinner together is a great way to slow down and recharge for the next day. I'm going to try to follow the same plan when she takes the bar in February. We're both perfectly capable of working hard all the time, but having a good reason to ease off and avoid burnout is clutch.

Also, the "don't worry, you're smart" line is the closest she came to being annoying at all during the process. I know it sounds vaguely encouraging, but for some reason it got on my nerves a bit. Overall, though, she did awesome, largely thanks to the above.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:49 pm

philosoraptor wrote:
kalvano wrote:A supportive spouse should be encouraging you to take a break now and then. You have to or you'll go crazy.
Highly agree. When I was studying this summer, it helped me pace myself to know that my wife and I both wanted some time for ourselves every evening. Having a drink and a homemade dinner together is a great way to slow down and recharge for the next day. I'm going to try to follow the same plan when she takes the bar in February. We're both perfectly capable of working hard all the time, but having a good reason to ease off and avoid burnout is clutch.

Also, the "don't worry, you're smart" line is the closest she came to being annoying at all during the process. I know it sounds vaguely encouraging, but for some reason it got on my nerves a bit. Overall, though, she did awesome, largely thanks to the above.


Does the husband like video games? For me, I developed a routine - 12 hours of studying (with meals and sex and other essentials of life included in that time), then 3-4 hours of NHL Hockey on XBox every single night. Helped me zone out and not burn out. Everyone is different, but for me, that was my reward. This sounds so weird, but I took my XBox with me to the bar exam hotel, and played between the first and second night. You're literally NOT going to learn anything the day before and between the exam, and that XBox was so ingrained into my legal routine and zoning out so my brain could relax that I kept it up. I'm a weird dude though.

And just another thought - about 3-4 weeks out from the exam, he should take a 2-3 day vacation. I took the whole July 4 weekend off to relax and literally not think about the law, and that was important. Get out of town. Drink a lot, connect with your spouse. Then kill it for 3-4 more weeks and you're done.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:06 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Also, if my husband had tried to "call my bluff" in the way you describe, I'd have slugged him.
kalvano wrote:I would have fucking cut someone who did this.
+1. If my husband had suggested we push dinner back or cancel a meal out so I could get a little more studying in, I would have morphed into something out of a horror movie. And he took the bar, so that is without even the extra "doesn't know what he's talking about" rage multiplier of a non-law spouse. Not recommended!

I think a packed lunch would be a great time-saver, but as someone else said, you know his personality best.

I think another thing where personality comes in is the "don't worry, you're smart" line. I can understand where everyone is coming from because it could easily sound minimizing, like the person doesn't understand what exactly you're up against with the bar exam, but personally.... I could have used a little more "you're smart, you've always done well, I have faith in you, I'll bet you'll do great." More than none, anyway. But I think I'm in the minority there.

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kalvano
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Re: Supporting Someone Taking the Bar

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:33 pm

If you plan on trying to use words of wisdom, I recommend "minimal competency" as a good choice.




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