Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Relax, then Remedy.

The short period after the bar exam ends, but before Orientation begins is a good time for a much needed recharge. If you are responsible for bar preparation at your school, then you are likely exhausted right now—and for good reason.   I work at a school with roughly 100 graduating students. Between January and today (day 1 of the bar exam), those 100 students resulted in:

  • 500+ bar exam related emails;
  • 28 bar preparation classes;
  • 360ish practice essays;
  • 1 Bar Examiner’s presentation;
  • 49 individual student appointments;
  • 7 spring semester faculty lectures;
  • 4 summer workshops, and
  • countless drop-ins and phone calls.

I suspect that most bar support professors' schedules look quite similar. Needless to say, we have all earned a break. Much like our students plan post-bar exam adventures, we too should plan time to relax. Take a trip, finish that novel, spend a few computer free days on the couch with a furry friend, or—as in my case—go to a conference on the beach in Florida.

After the mental batteries are recharged, use the remaining time to eliminate a potential long-term stressor before the school year begins. Start by identifying one specific thing that sucks up more time or energy than it should during the school year. Then devise a plan to fix it. The time spent now removing the annoyance will pay dividends indefinitely into the future.

For example, I used to complain about how much time it would take to establish a mutually convenient time to meet a student or a colleague … all the back-and-forth emailing. So, last summer I committed a whole day to eliminating this one problem. I started my quest like any good scholar: by watching a You Tube video. I learned how to make my Outlook calendar visible, in real time, to anyone. After a few simple key strokes, I successfully published my very own calendar webpage. I then posted a hyperlink to the webpage calendar on my TWEN page, in all my course syllabi, and in my formal email signature line. I also drafted a special second “signature” in Outlook that read: “You can view my calendar here. Just let me know what day/time works for you.” Between the widely available calendar links and the quick-insert response language, I rarely engage in the tedious scheduling-based-email-exchange anymore. This one simple fix not only saved me time during the year, but also reduced my inbox clutter.  

When I get back from my conference in a few days, I plan to find a way to reliably track long-term bar passage data that does not involve a bunch of Excel spreadsheets, a filing cabinet stuffed full of state bar examiners’ letters, random LinkedIn searches, and a pot of coffee. If anyone has any suggestions, please send me an email. I’d love to hear it!  (Kirsha Trychta)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/2017/07/relax-then-remedy.html

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