Double the Prep, Double the Fun

After my last post, it occurred to me that I left out a pretty significant detail about myself and how I’m prepping for my 2021 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

I’m currently studying for the Michigan Bar Exam, which will be administered in February. I graduated from Michigan State University College of Law in 2019, and upon completion of my hike next year (fingers crossed!), I’ll be making the switch to a career as an attorney.

What is the Bar Exam?

The Bar Exam is the licensing exam to become a lawyer. It’s a two day test, consisting of one day of essay questions and one day of multiple choice questions.

The first day of the examination is broken into two sessions. The morning session consists of nine essay questions over a period of three hours. The afternoon session consists of six essay questions over two hours.

The first day of the exam is focused on Michigan-specific law, while the second day is focused on topics that are more generally applicable. Day two is the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). There are 200 multiple choice questions, and both the morning and afternoon sessions are three hours.  

In addition to sitting for the Bar, I will also need to take the MPRE, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Like the Bar, the MPRE is required to become a licensed attorney. The MPRE is essentially an ethics exam. It’s a two-hour, 60 question multiple choice test that will be given at the end of March, less than a week before I set off on the AT.

Why is this relevant?

This is relevant to my AT Prep for a couple reasons. First of all, preparing for the Bar is intense. I have thousands of pages to read, review, and memorize, plus hundreds of hours of lecture material. It’s basically a condensed review of law school (which takes three years). I also work full-time, so juggling work and Bar prep has been quite the balancing act. Throw AT prep in there, and I am one busy gal.  

In addition to consuming nearly every free moment I have, the Bar, like a thru-hike, is an expensive endeavor. It has taken a chunk out of my AT finances. I decided to take the exam after I’d accounted for pretty much every dollar I planned to save for during/after my hike. Adjustments needed to be made, but I feel very lucky that I didn’t have to sacrifice my thru-hike to take the Bar.


Prepping for my hike has been a respite from Bar prep. My desire to thru-hike is only one aspect of who I am, and that’s okay. I’m taking every piece of my planning seriously, without obsessing over every detail. After all, I’m doing this because it sounds fun. I’m not going to spoil it by treating it like an obligation.

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Comments 6

  • Avatar
    pearwood : Dec 10th

    Oh, wow. And blogging, too. Hang in there, crazy lady!
    Steve / pearwood

    • Avatar
      Sam Cermak : Dec 10th

      One day at a time, right??
      We got this!

  • Avatar
    Mary : Dec 10th

    Can’t wait to follow your posts!

  • Avatar
    Shannon : Dec 10th

    Best of luck to you, you got this, you’re definitely earning your thru-hike! Looking forward to following your journey out there!

  • Avatar
    Barb : Dec 12th

    Glad you are learning how important balance is in life! Enjoy every minute of it!!

  • Avatar
    Sam Cermak : Dec 13th

    Thanks for the support, everyone!!
    Can’t wait to share this experience with you guys 🙂


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