I Should be Studying More: I'm Taking Another Bar Exam, Episode 3

Published: Jan 28, 2015


The New York Bar Exam is officially less than a month away. Do I feel prepared? The answer is, obviously, no. I definitely could be studying more, but I could also be studying WAY less.

A surprising challenge that I’m facing is finding a place to study. I can make flashcards with music playing or background noise, but I need complete silence to take practice tests or fully concentrate on reviewing my notes. That means my apartment is out for most of my studying. First, I don’t have a desk in my room anymore, and second, my roommate who owns a record label (I live in Brooklyn), is constantly playing music and having aggressive Skype calls with his artists. We live in a loft with hardwood floors and 16 ft ceilings, which were originally selling points, but now I’m realizing that there is nothing to absorb the sound in our cavernous apartment, so even if music is playing softly or he is speaking at a reasonable level, I can hear everything echoing through the walls. I was oblivious to this noise issue until I actually started spending time at my apartment after work.

Most coffee shops and public libraries close around 8:00 or 9:00, but I’ve found the holy grail of late night silent study for working adults—the Midtown Manhattan Library on 40th and 5th. This library should not be confused with the Bryant Park Library a few blocks away. Unlike the Bryant Park Library, the Midtown Manhattan Library does not have chandeliers, murals on the ceilings or rich mahogany desks, it is utilitarian, lit by fluorescent lights and, most importantly, open until 11 pm. I’ve been happily hauling my books, computer, lunch, dinner and snacks from Bushwick to Midtown West and setting up shop at the library after work. I even have a study buddy who I met through quite possibly the most boring Meetup group of all time—people working full-time and studying for the February New York Bar Exam.   

Even with a quiet spot to study, I still can’t commit to constantly studying. While I do spend at least part of each day cramming New York distinctions into my brain, I should probably be doing more of it. For example, like many businesses, Vault was closed yesterday for the winter version of fire and brimstone that was supposed to pour down from the sky. Did I take advantage from this gift from the snow gods and spend a solid 8 hours of the day studying? Of course not. I slept until noon and then hung out in an East Village coffee shop drinking hot chocolate and eating nachos. Sure, I did some studying later, but I probably would’ve gotten more done had I gone to work and then gone to the library.

It has been a struggle to eschew my lifestyle of being a (relatively) young, unattached professional living in New York City. It was easy to say no to friends who wanted to hang out when I studied for my first bar; after all, I had been blowing them off for three years to study during law school. Now that I’ve had a sweet taste of freedom, rejecting bottomless mimosa brunch invitations and staying in on a Thursday night when my friend’s band is playing has gotten a little more difficult. I’m fortunate that I don’t have a family to care for or that relies on me for income, but I’d still rather be doing anything else other than studying with my free time.

Now that February is bearing down on me, it’s probably time to just deactivate my phone.

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Read More:

That Old Familiar Feeling: I'm Taking Another Bar Exam, Episode 2
Fool Me Twice: I’m Taking Another Bar Exam, Episode 1
Don't Fear the Reaper (i.e. the Bar Exam)
The Cold Truth about the Bar Exam
Maintaining Your Sanity During Law School Exams 


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