Law School Discussion

Any parents out there?

Any parents out there?
« on: February 27, 2006, 07:38:13 AM »
I assume there are, but was hoping you could give some advice to an incoming 1L on how you manage both law school and family.  Here is a little background on me if it helps:

-  Married w/ 8 month old daughter
-  Hubby works FT
-  Attending a tier 4 school FT
-  Not working during 1L

I know that time management is key, but seriously, ANY advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.  :)

If this topic has already been discussed please let me know...I couldn't find a thread on it.

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2006, 12:05:32 PM »
It's really hard. I can't really sugarcoat it. My kid is in school, and I timed it so that I would be starting law school when he would start kindergarten. I'm not sure how to manage an infant and law school. I guess the first thing is to find a good, reliable daycare center and preferably one with extended hours (at least until 5:30 pm). Also, I keep two calendars. I have to carefully budget my time at school and at home. I do outlining between classes and pretty much maximize the downtime I have at school so that I can give my son the attention he deserves when we're at home. I'm involved with law review this semester, so that eats up a lot of my time. This semester has been much more difficult to manage time-wise, but it's not impossible.

The thing is that at some point you have to prioritize. You have to say to yourself that you're either going to spend less time studying or less time with your child. You have to really be honest with yourself and not beat yourself up for making the "wrong" choice. There will be days, like when your kid is sick, that you just have to say, "I'm not going to finish my reading today. My child is more important." There are also days when your husband will have to spend more time with the kid because you have to get an assignment done. The key is to make the best choices that you can and not freak out too much.

The only other thing is to remember that you need to do long-term planning. You have to plan out a semester ahead in order to make sure that you have adequate childcare for exams, study sessions and so forth.

If you have any other questions I'd be happy to help.

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2006, 12:16:13 PM »
I would also say find a good daycare provider who has extended hours.  I have a two year old and I must say, I rely heavily on my husband and daycare. We both work full-time and I go to school at night.  My husband takes my Son to daycare and picks him after work and watches him, I would say, most of the time. As long as your husband is willing to help out with childcare, you should be ok.  That means on weekends, he may not be able to go play golf or hang out with his buddies because you'll need quiet time to study.  Or he'll have to take your child with him.

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2006, 01:32:53 PM »
I will have to concur with my esteemed co-counsel on this one. Both of the above responses are 100% dead on. I have a husband who works full time (for the military so sometimes there are conflicts that he just has no choice about), and a 2 year old. I do not work. I have a great daycare, who's hours are early till late (well, 6:30 on each end) which is great, and it also happens to be a lot closer to hubbys work than my school, so he does about 95% of the drop offs and pick ups. I have a great scheduled worked out, and it allows me some time with my child during the week, as my husband has martial arts classes 2 nights a week that require me to come home from the library an hour or 2 sooner than I do on other nights, so that we can hand off our son. I get that time with the kid those 2 nights. Thursdays is my late late night. I stay at the library until near 10pm. Mondays I leave at 6:30 to go to Yoga and I am home by 9, and sometimes do an hour or so of reading after that. Tue and Wed (nights that hubby is in class) I do another hour or so of reading after the kid has gone to bed. I am considerably less focused at those times, so my reading is usually light stuff, like stuff for legal writing, vs case reading.
Fridays we don't have class so I am in the libarary all day, just as if it were a 9-5 job. I leave by 5 to go to Yoga and then after that I am 100% devoted to family friday night, and all day saturday. Sundays I spend a large chunk at the libary but cut it off at 4pm to go to yoga. Monday it starts all over. Conceivably, all my reading for class is built into the week, with Fridays and Sundays for outlining and CALI and paractice exams and catching up. In practice that hasn't worked out so well right now, because I am in the middle of midterms and things get screwy.
There are times when we have to adjust, because of demands of the military on my husband (for example, he had to go out of town this past weekend, going right into midterms) but you have to plan ahead and have 'contingency' time built into your scheudle. For example because I was going to have my son all weeken by myself, I front loaded my midterm studying the previous week, so that come the weekend, all I had to do was really just keep looking at it and reviewing, not actual substantive learning (cause really, how am I going ot do that with a 2 year old running around?)

I have to say the biggest thing is that my husband is 100% committed to my sucess. He makes sacrifices and takes on a lot to enable me the time I need to devote to doing school right. You have to make som sacrifices too. Like my house doesn't get cleaned as often as I might like, and home cooked dinners have pretty much been non existant, because frankly we don't have the time, and that's ok with us. Several nights I come home after my son is already in bed, so I don't get to see him, and I have to be ok with that as well, because I do have other days where I play with him, feed him dinner and put him to bed. It is a balance. You also have to allow for times when you child gets sick, or needs to go to the doctor, and guess who gets to do it? Since hubby is working full time, and I am out of class at noon, its going to be me and that means less study time that day, but again, if your schedule is planned out well enough in advance, you can adjust and still be ok. You have to stay ahead on your reading and you can't put stuff off because what if something comes up later?

It is definitely doable, but it takes balance and commitment.

Good luck!


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Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2006, 01:39:54 PM »
my mother worked full time as a waitress and went to nursing school when i was little. i spent a lot of time with my grandfather or at home being baabysat by my 13 year old sister. i admired her for that. i dont feel like im not as close to my mom because she had to work so much when i was little. in the long run it was best for the family. I know that this doesnt really answer your question. i just wanted to throw a little support your way. U should be proud that your willing to work so hard for three years so that u can provide for your baby. I wish u the best of luck.

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2006, 02:29:02 PM »
Thank you so much for that, Verbal. I can't tell you how many times I question what I'm doing.

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2006, 05:51:07 AM »
I second that :)  It's always great to get support from others...especially when friends hint at the fact that they think you are selfish for wanting to go to l-school :) 

I really appreciate everyone's feedback on this.  My husband and I know it will be a hard few years, but life is hard :)  We'll make it through.  We spent the last three years opening our own business and working seven days a week so we know what it is like to sacrifice.

One more question...although it sounds like a real cop out to say this...I'm trying to decide between a higher ranked school that only offers full time, and a lower ranked school that offers extremely flexible schedules.  I'm leaning towards the latter.  Does this make sense to you all?

Keep up the great work ladies!  It will all be worth it in the end :)

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 05:33:13 PM »
Oh, wow. I think that depends on a lot of other stuff. For example, how much higher-ranked is one school? What are the job prospects for both? What kind of childcare is available (is a full time schedule realistic?)

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2006, 05:40:09 PM »
I have to agree with Racheles on this one. What do you consider a 'more flexible' schedule? Most PT progams have classes outside of times when childcare is usually available. My current schedule (full time day) is M and W 10am - 2:30pm, T and Th 9am-1145am. Thats it. Of course, that doesn't include study time, and random workshops like Lexis, Westlaw, research, etc. But thouse I can fit in around my class schedule. I can always fit study time in around other things. If you are looking to be available for you child and emergencies 9like getting sent home from daycare becasue of a fever, which seems to ALWAYS happen) a full time day schedule would be the easiest.
What are your reasons for wanting a more 'flexible' scheudle?
And if given the chance, I would go full time rather than part time, in a heart beat. Plus there are a ton of advantages to being a traditional law student in that respect. I have done both, and I prefer this

Re: Any parents out there?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2006, 06:45:00 PM »
My schedule is similar to LostMyMonkeys except I have class on Fridays.

Another thing to consider is that most PT programs are 4 years. Considering most 3L's are off doing externships or some other kind of clinical work, you're only looking at 4 or 5 semesters of classes in a full time program.