After spending the last year dedicating your life to Civil and Criminal Litigation, Advocacy and trying to get your drafts written on time, the Bar Course is suddenly over. The release of the pressure of the course can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to gather yourself and find your feet afterwards. This post aims to help you think about your next steps after the Bar Course.
Give yourself the space and time to process the intensity of the Bar course
The Bar Course is highly intense, and you should take time to change your environment and have a break before you start any further work or academic study commitments. You may be experiencing burnout, and so you want to give yourself as much time as possible to recover from it. Although the views on burnout are that it will take a good few months to recover fully, you may find it difficult to cope with later down the line if you never took a break.
The change of environment is important. Something Pandemic WFH/Remote Working life has taught those of us studying and working at home is that seeing only the same four walls day in and day out can drive you to madness. Get outside, and get out of your comfort zone. Explore and experience spending time in different places after you finish the Bar Course. It doesn’t have to be to travel abroad: there are plenty of interesting places to visit wherever you are. Be a tourist in your own area and do anything except stay at the same desk you just spent a year at!
Revisit your goals, plans and priorities for the next year
This is probably one of the first times in your life where you do not have the structure of an academic year and school to go back to in September. Without the familiarity of that structure to guide you, it can be easy to feel a little lost and overwhelmed with all the time that’s in front of you.
You finally have a chance to freely shape out your goals and priorities – especially those outside of Law. Take this time to think about how you’d like to progress on your fitness, financial, wellbeing or relationship goals and build routines that support them – whether that’s joining a new club or gym, getting a new job, taking time out to start therapy or making an effort to get out and date more. Whatever your goals are, set some. It’s not going to feel good to be in limbo without purpose or direction after the Bar Course. Take control of your life, and be used to being in control from here on out.
I didn’t get Pupillage during the Bar Course…now what?
Securing Pupillage is likely a common goal for most Bar Course graduates, so if you didn’t get pupillage during the Bar Course, you’ll be understandably disappointed and perhaps demotivated to apply again. Try your best to maintain perspective and look at the time before the gateway reopens as space for you to explore life outside of the Bar bubble, and bring fresh perspective on your skills and experience for the next year you apply.
Ensure that you have mapped out the dates for mini-pupillage applications, internships and any other work experience you’d like to gain before applications open again in the New Year. Follow up on areas of interest, skill and experience that could be improved upon for next year, and above all push yourself to try new things.
Reconnect with your people and passions
The Bar Course takes so much of your time and attention that some of your personal relationships may have suffered in the time you were focused on the course. Now that it is finished, you can reconnect with people who you haven’t been able to be present with because of the course. No man is an island, and you’re going to need friends to get through the rest of your Bar Career – even if they aren’t involved with the Bar at all.
This is also a time to reconnect with your passions. Before the Bar Course did you have any creative, entrepreneurial or charitable projects you wanted to get involved in or return to? This is the time to throw yourself back into them and embrace work that isn’t academic or assessed, and which fills you with genuine joy and fulfillment.
It goes without saying that the most important thing for you to do when you finish the Bar Course is congratulate yourself. You worked hard and showed you were serious about your Bar Career. Don’t wait until Call Night to celebrate yourself – start now!
Congratulations on finishing your Bar Course and BATB is here to support you in your next chapter!