Starting law school with a newborn

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katjust
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby katjust » Mon May 10, 2010 10:52 am

The workload shouldn't be a problem (I have two kids of my own and a third on the way).

I wouldn't recommend risking your families' future on law school, but I didn't follow my own advice.

That being said, only go to law school if you don't have to put the kid in day care. A child needs its mother.

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windycityblues
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby windycityblues » Mon May 10, 2010 11:04 am

musicfor18 wrote:
Ha! Congrats on Northwestern. Yeah, I'm curious about loans with a child. Have you requested an increase in your Cost of Attendance to cover baby expenses?


Thanks : )

I did ask finaid about increased C of A....no dice. At least at NU, the university policy (not just LS) is that you can apply for an additional dependent loan stipend of up to $700 a month for costs such as childcare. Now, I'm grateful for anything extra I can get and you bet I'll be taking it, but that amount is not even half of what daycare will be. It will all hopefully work out since my husband is still working, but I don't know how a single parent would be able to do it. COL around USC might be a little more favorable, but at least imo having one parent stay at home sounds like the optimal way to go about it. It would be interesting to see how other schools do it, since from what I've gathered babies tend to be pretty expensive.

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windycityblues
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby windycityblues » Mon May 10, 2010 11:38 am

katjust wrote:The workload shouldn't be a problem (I have two kids of my own and a third on the way).

I wouldn't recommend risking your families' future on law school, but I didn't follow my own advice.

That being said, only go to law school if you don't have to put the kid in day care. A child needs its mother.


This is a very watered-down version of what you originally wrote, but somehow just as judgmental (however, I do appreciate that you decided saying I "might as well put my child up for adoption" and have "morals that are questionable" might not be the best way to come off as a rational member of society.)

Not to be snarky, but you have no knowledge of my situation or how going to law school is risking (or not risking) my family's future.

To be a little snarky, it's not the 1950's and kids need their fathers just as much as their mothers. When dad wants to go to law school (or even back to work) its "oh, your life will be stressful, but you will love it," however if mom wants to further her career it's a crime against humanity. Double standard much? Unfortunately, most families can't afford (or don't want) mom or dad to stay at home and daycare is the only viable option. If you bothered to read what I posted, I will be splitting my time between classes with my daughter. This is a lot more flexibility than many other people and for that I feel fortunate. TBH, I wouldn't judge anybody who had to rely on daycare full-time. When my mom went back to work 8 weeks after I was born, I went to daycare. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don't have any neglected mommy issues or other deficiencies (except apparently my morals....). In fact, I think my mom was badass for accomplishing as much as she did while taking care of us kids. It is her powerful example that inspires me to succeed today, so I have a hard time believing my life (and my daughter's life) will be anything but positively affected by not staying at home. Nothing at all against those who make a different decision, my husband's mom stayed at home with him, but the bottom line is it comes down to a lifestyle choice and not a matter of the holy "right" and "wrong."

deeirwin
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby deeirwin » Mon May 10, 2010 11:56 am

Congrats on the baby! I have three boys, who are 8, 7, and 5. They are such a blessing. I am glad that you asked the question. It's nice to know that there are other parents going to law school! I have also been worried about attending law school with children. My husband is in the Air Force, and he is currently a recruiter. He works really crazy hours. I agree with the advice you have been given by others. Coming home to your new baby girl may just be what you need to relieve some stress! Best of luck and congrats again! :D

usna02
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby usna02 » Mon May 10, 2010 12:08 pm

I know a man that was in the same situation as you and he did it. Go for it--don't postpone school--just hurry up and get it over with.

musicfor18 wrote:I'm planning to begin law school this Fall, but my wife and I are expecting a baby this summer. I'm interested in others (if any) who have done this, and whether or not it's a crazy idea to start school with a newborn. Also whether waiting one more year to start law school is a better or worse idea (the baby would be one year old).

Serious replies only, please. Thanks for your help!

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lostjake
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby lostjake » Mon May 10, 2010 12:14 pm

What are you and your family going to do if you don't get a job straight out of law school? You should beable to answer this question before you start your journey. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”

Renzo
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby Renzo » Mon May 10, 2010 12:20 pm

katjust wrote:That being said, only go to law school if you don't have to put the kid in day care. A child needs its mother.

Holy fucking judgmental.

My wife has been able to stay home with our kid, but we are both excited for her to got to day care, so that she can meet other people, play with other kids, and just get out into a different environment. But hey, you keep your weird, anti-social, and desperately dependent on mommy kids home--to each their own.

usna02
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby usna02 » Mon May 10, 2010 12:23 pm

I think that in this economy, we all have to consider that--future lawyers, current lawyers, and even other people in other professions out there. No one is safe in this recession, but you have to take chances and get out there and do something with you're life--and that's exactly what the OP is trying to do. No one has accomplished anything by sitting there passive and just hanging back. Anyhow, there are MBA's out there that don't have jobs right now. My advice for the OP: don't loose sight and keep the goal ahead in focus :)

lostjake wrote:What are you and your family going to do if you don't get a job straight out of law school? You should beable to answer this question before you start your journey. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”

usna02
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby usna02 » Mon May 10, 2010 12:26 pm

I don't care if you put your children in day care or stay at home with them--to each his own--whatever works for you and your own personal (and financial) situation.

Renzo wrote:
katjust wrote:That being said, only go to law school if you don't have to put the kid in day care. A child needs its mother.

Holy fucking judgmental.

My wife has been able to stay home with our kid, but we are both excited for her to got to day care, so that she can meet other people, play with other kids, and just get out into a different environment. But hey, you keep your weird, anti-social, and desperately dependent on mommy kids home--to each their own.

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shepdawg
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby shepdawg » Mon May 10, 2010 12:32 pm

Childcare does not have to be done through a big organization. Look on Craigslist for people who want to take care of kids, and you might just get lucky. My wife and I found a woman who just wanted enough extra cash to be able to stay at home with her own son. She charged us $25/day for 8am-4pm care. She took great care of my daughter, and I could tell that she fell in love with her. She started taking care of my daughter at 2 months of age, and my daughter was very colicky. She took her to the park, rocked her, held her when she cried, bought her gifts, and never let her get a diaper rash. All for $125/week.

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A'nold
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby A'nold » Mon May 10, 2010 1:19 pm

windycityblues wrote:No experience (yet) to add here, but glad you asked the question, Musicfor18. I'm in the same boat as you (I'm actually due in about 10 days) and will be a 1L this August. It's more than a little unnerving so I always like hearing about other success stories and supportive folk instead of the standard "you are nuts, why don't you jut wait until after you have kids to go to school," etc etc.

Another question for those who've "been there"-

Obviously the school work/home life balance is really important, but also, did you find that you were still able to form LS friendships/participate at all in any of the social aspects of school? I know this will vary a lot by school and personal choices, I just don't want to be the "one with the baby" that nobody really knows...


I will admit that I spent less time at the school than 90% of my classmates, but that was by choice. You will find that you will never be able to get enough of your little girl OP. :D

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A'nold
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby A'nold » Mon May 10, 2010 3:13 pm

katjust wrote:The workload shouldn't be a problem (I have two kids of my own and a third on the way).

I wouldn't recommend risking your families' future on law school, but I didn't follow my own advice.

That being said, only go to law school if you don't have to put the kid in day care. A child needs its mother.


This was a ridiculously stupid post. Yeah, don't go to law school b/c you are risking your families future....????? I was working at a hotel making $9 an hour b/f attending ls. You're right, that was very selfish of me to attend. :roll:

hithere
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby hithere » Mon May 10, 2010 3:19 pm

As long as your wife is going to stay home and watch the kid while you study, you will be set.

hsprophet
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby hsprophet » Mon May 10, 2010 5:50 pm

While I'm not in school yet (starting this fall), I do have a baby girl. My wife won't be working, so that will be good. My main advice is to set out schedules and priorities now. Of course if it's your first, you don't really know what it involved, and each child is different.

Your wife needs to understand that school will be time consuming and stressful. That's not to get you out of your responsibilities, but it helps to come to compromises. For example, she feeds and puts the baby to bed on school nights and you take care of it on weekends. On mornings where you won't be in school (Saturday and Sunday), take the morning routine so she can sleep in. When it's time for exams, your wife will need to let you off the hook, but you need to make up for it. You need to take as much responsibility whenever possible.

For us, it was hard to share the duties without a schedule. So before you end up making life too stressful, communicate and come to mutual agreements on who takes care of the baby duties and when.

musicfor18
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby musicfor18 » Mon May 10, 2010 7:28 pm

So, here's another question:

While I'm in school full-time, my wife will be staying home with the baby and, consequently, not working. This means we'll have no income. I was told that Cost of Attendance for loans cannot be increased for any child-related expenses other than childcare if my wife chooses to work.

So, assuming that she'll be staying home with the baby, that my loans will not be enough to cover all of the expenses for a family, and that we don't have tons of money saved, especially after moving to a new city for school....how will I manage financially? Any input from those with experience would be much appreciated.

This thread has been terrific! Thanks, everyone, for participating.

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coobs
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby coobs » Mon May 10, 2010 7:44 pm

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Last edited by coobs on Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mbw
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby mbw » Mon May 10, 2010 7:59 pm

In my case, I'm a mom in law school, and my four kids are now school-aged. However, I agree with others that it can be done with a newborn, especially with support and organization (I had a baby half-way through my senior year of UG, and graduated a triple major and wrote an honors thesis.) And yay for working and schooling moms -- children need sane, happy, fulfilled moms, and while staying home works for some, it doesn't work for all.

angioletto
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby angioletto » Mon May 10, 2010 9:38 pm

Having a newborn will be an added burden to you as a student (sleepless nights, feeling guilty being away and missing milestones) but it will also be a great motivation to perform to your absolute best as a student. At the same time I agree with the comment that the burden you will experience as a law student with a newborn is no different than the burden you would experience as a FT employee with a newborn.

The answer to your question really relies on a few things within your family - How well do you handle lack of sleep/interrupted sleep at night? What kind of baby will she be? (Ever heard of colic?) Will your wife be able to handle the stress of being the baby's sole caretaker during finals weeks and at other times when you will be super busy?

My children will be 2 and 4 when I begin law school. I never would have chosen to begin LS when they were newborns, but I am their mother and I needed about a year after they were born to feel like myself physically and mentally. If I were the father I might feel differently about it.

As far as finances go, again, this depends on your situation. What kind of expenses do you have? Big car payments? Credit card debt? Mortgage? Can your budget be trimmed down to fit within the COA estimated by your school? Do you have any family available to watch your baby while your wife works PT? Would you be willing to put your child in a state-funded childcare program so your wife can work? There is assistance out there for low income families with children and many times this assistance is extended to those in school the same way it is extended to those who work FT. Contact your local department of job and family services. They should be able to tell you whether you would qualify for any sort of assistance.

Good luck.

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shepdawg
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby shepdawg » Tue May 11, 2010 12:01 pm

musicfor18 wrote:So, here's another question:

While I'm in school full-time, my wife will be staying home with the baby and, consequently, not working. This means we'll have no income. I was told that Cost of Attendance for loans cannot be increased for any child-related expenses other than childcare if my wife chooses to work.

So, assuming that she'll be staying home with the baby, that my loans will not be enough to cover all of the expenses for a family, and that we don't have tons of money saved, especially after moving to a new city for school....how will I manage financially? Any input from those with experience would be much appreciated.

You will not be able to survive financially unless you have rich and giving parents. One of you will need to work and even if your wife gets a good job, you will need to majorly cut costs.

My wife will be working as a teacher FT, but we still are cutting costs. Selling vehicles, our house, all our furniture and electronics, and living with her parents. Even with an income and very low added expenses we will just barely be scraping through the next three years.

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PHC
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby PHC » Tue May 11, 2010 4:27 pm

Very interesting thread. I don't have kids yet, but we're planning on having our first in 2 years, which if all works out as planned, will be the summer between 1L and 2L for me. Having children changes your lifestyle no matter your circumstances, so I don't have any problems with that. Financially speaking, my wife is currently in Nurse Anasthesia school, so we're already on one income and have been able to manage it rather successfully. She'll graduate once I start LS, so it'll be quite some time before we ever have a double income. Having to live 6 years on a single income while putting both of us through school isn't ideal, but it is worth it to get our degrees before our children get very old. The bottom line is you do what you have to do to be happy. Congrats on the baby, btw!!!

guacamolation
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby guacamolation » Tue May 11, 2010 5:03 pm

musicfor18 wrote:
windycityblues wrote:No experience (yet) to add here, but glad you asked the question, Musicfor18. I'm in the same boat as you (I'm actually due in about 10 days) and will be a 1L this August. It's more than a little unnerving so I always like hearing about other success stories and supportive folk instead of the standard "you are nuts, why don't you jut wait until after you have kids to go to school," etc etc.

Another question for those who've "been there"-

Obviously the school work/home life balance is really important, but also, did you find that you were still able to form LS friendships/participate at all in any of the social aspects of school? I know this will vary a lot by school and personal choices, I just don't want to be the "one with the baby" that nobody really knows...


Oh, it's great to hear from someone else in my shoes. My wife is due in about 5 weeks. It sounds like you're the mother, though? That will be a bit more challenging, but I think we'll do just fine! Where will you be going?


Although I'll be 1L in the fall (@ USC, Musicfor18!), I started my masters with a 10 m.o. and had another child during grad school. There were some things I missed out on --all the hookups, late late night bar crawls-- but I was totally involved in the events that took place before 11pm. I still did all the committee work & social events I wanted to, plus attend classes & teach. Yes, I worked part-time AND went to school full-time AND was a breeder AND lived to tell. My oldest went to an amazing babysitter for a year, and he turned out fine. Well, any of the less desirable parts are probably my fault anyway. I am also insanely lucky that my husband rocks and we were able to share what was shareable. Overall what I learned is that there is no one right way to do anything; go with your gut instinct b/c its usually correct for your situation.

I think it was actually easier to meet people b/c the baby was an icebreaker. I was unusual in our class in that most everyone was still single, but I was never treated like the freaky married person with kids. My biggest issue was actually the administration who thought I should take time off b/c I couldnt possibly handle it all -- they were wrong. By the time you both start school you'll have a schedule down pat and the first 3 months (the hardest part, imo) will be over. you'll use your time more efficiently than you ever thought possible (goodbye TLS), but you'll be fine!

Congrats & good luck!

guacamolation
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby guacamolation » Tue May 11, 2010 5:04 pm

mbw wrote:In my case, I'm a mom in law school, and my four kids are now school-aged. However, I agree with others that it can be done with a newborn, especially with support and organization (I had a baby half-way through my senior year of UG, and graduated a triple major and wrote an honors thesis.) And yay for working and schooling moms -- children need sane, happy, fulfilled moms, and while staying home works for some, it doesn't work for all.



+1111111111

legalized
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby legalized » Wed May 12, 2010 9:29 am

musicfor18 wrote:So, here's another question:

While I'm in school full-time, my wife will be staying home with the baby and, consequently, not working. This means we'll have no income. I was told that Cost of Attendance for loans cannot be increased for any child-related expenses other than childcare if my wife chooses to work.

So, assuming that she'll be staying home with the baby, that my loans will not be enough to cover all of the expenses for a family, and that we don't have tons of money saved, especially after moving to a new city for school....how will I manage financially? Any input from those with experience would be much appreciated.

This thread has been terrific! Thanks, everyone, for participating.


Public assistance. It can take care of food and medical insurance, and student loans shouldn't count as income since that has to be repaid and is a loan, not income.

Affordable but dedicated stay at home mothers running home daycares on craigslist.

Import one of your parents to help with the child and the household, especially the first 3 months.

Breastfeed because it's 1. best for the child's health and development and 2. FREE

****************************

Also, i think people are being really un-realistic to jump on the opinion of anyone who does not say "YEAH! Go for it!" in here. The stress of that first newborn infant is not something that is the same to deal with in everyone's life. No matter what compromises could be agreed to in advance in THEORY, the wife is going to resent feeling like a single parent at some point. It's not even like being a military spouse where even if the person is absent a lot their MONEY is still coming in. Children add stress to one's life, no two ways around it, even for stay at home parents. Lack of money adds stress to one's life, no two ways around THAT either. Adding a child and subtracting income, then, is not something to just sing happy tunes over. The only way to make a realistic game plan is to acknowledge the happy parts AND the stress parts.

I do believe however that school is the most flexible time you will ever have to have a child, because you have *some* control over your schedule (less so for 1L). The first year it would be good for the mother to stay home because daycare is the most ridiculous in price for children who are less than one/not potty trained. The first 6 months of a child's life are infinitely more expensive childcare-wise than any other time in the child's life, because states limit the amount of infants a person can be caring for much more than they limit the amount of toddlers, so the caretakers have to charge more for the reduced head count since they have to make a living off this.

And since breastfeeding is best and only mothers can do that, I think one of the posters who said a child needs its mother meant a NEWBORN child needs its mother. It needs the father too for peripheral activities such as changing diapers and getting use to the look and sound of you in its life, but in the first 3-6 months before it starts eating baby food and drinking juice, it needs its mother for food.

Sleep the child in a bassinet right next to your bed so one merely has to sit up to reach the baby to feed at night. If she breastfeeds you can definitely lighten the load by doing everything else when you are home (changing, bathing, cleaning up the place). So you may have to plan to get law school type stuff done say, 7am to 7pm and be about your family after that.

When the baby is older and is on a set schedule sleeping through the night, you can then start on schoolwork again say 9pm to midnight. Don't count on that the first 3 months at least though, because you will both be hella tired after getting up to deal with the baby.

I'm a parent, but if I had an infant I would wait until the child is about to start elementary or pre-K to begin law school. That was one more reason why I put off applying this last cycle and will do it this coming cycle to start the year after: ending the need for full-time daycare right around the time I start lawschool (give or take one semester) will be a GODSEND. And will allow me to start LS with a child who is much less dependent on me as compared to a toddler, and is more emotionally and verbally mature than a toddler.

I don't see "switching roles" as being entirely possible on the weekends...you will still have work to do. But you can make up your mind to keep one day "holy"...such as Sundays. Saturdays if you are Jewish...Fridays if you are Muslim...you get the idea. Reserve one day to just forget the books and be there 100% for the family, go out with the family in the day, get a sitter and have a nice date/sex night with the wife at night (even better if the night sitter is the same person that watches the kid in their home in the day, that way if you go to school the next day the sitter can just keep the kid overnight in a familiar environment, for that ONE night).

Cause let's not forget a kid subtracts funds and SEX from your life...wife is gonna be tired, you are gonna be tired, shortage of sleep is going to make folks cranky/drowsy/drunk-ish...so some of the work load HAS to be removed from you two once in a while to allow your energy levels to rise for some more babymaking attempts. (lol I kid on the intent.)

Craigslist is also a good way to find other household services cheap (like a once a month total housecleaning so you and the wife have a moment to go have fun one day (with or without the kid) and come back to deep-cleaned home. It helps the stress levels a lot...and can be as cheap as $50-$100. Even once a quarter would help.

kopper
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby kopper » Wed May 12, 2010 10:04 am

musicfor18 wrote:
BetterCallSaul wrote:Congrats on the baby! This is a happy thread.

I don't have kids so I can really give informed advice, but can I ask if your wife will be staying home during your first year or going back to work (especially during your first semester)? I imagine that would have some bearing on how easy or challenging being a new dad and 1L would be.


Yes, my wife is planning to stay home.


That your wife is planning to stay home is critical. I can't comment on the law school experience as I am not starting until this Fall however having one parent at-home is very helpful. The first baby is challenging because it is new however managable because you have two parents covering one baby. Not to get too far ahead however do you and your wife a favor and wait on #2 until after law school. Having a toddler and newborn has the potential of sucking the life out of you. Most of all, congratulations. Daughters are very special. It will change your life.

musicfor18
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Re: Starting law school with a newborn

Postby musicfor18 » Wed May 12, 2010 10:29 am

legalized wrote:
Public assistance. It can take care of food and medical insurance, and student loans shouldn't count as income since that has to be repaid and is a loan, not income.


Thanks for all this fantastic and thoughtful input! Re: public assistance....From my research, it seems we won't be eligible for any public assistance unless I'm working at least 20 hours a week during school, which I'm not willing to do. (No point going to law school only to do a terrible job because I'm working). Do you know something I don't?




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