Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

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ut_89
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Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby ut_89 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:32 pm

I just got a letter of acceptance with a scholarship offer to a low-residency grad program for creative nonfiction. No reason to explain why degrees in law and creative writing make sense for my career goals (they would both help a lot) but I'm trying to figure out if I could balance that, going to law school part-time and maybe some type of a job.

The writing program takes two weeks during the summer and ~15 hours a week of reading/writing throughout the year...all correspondence is via mail/email with faculty members so I don't have to be where the school is except the summer seminar. I could also get some type of consulting job, work for a campaign or write freelance for newspapers/magazines along the way which would be a ~25 hour a week commitment.

Total: give or take 30-40 hours a week outside of law school commitments. Is that a manageable amount? Will this keep me from summer jobs, reviews, etc.? What's the workload for a PT law school program? If it counts for anything the law schools I'm looking at are Georgetown (reach) and GWU, George Mason, Fordham and Chicago Kent (safe targets).

It would be awesome to get both degrees in four years but it's not worth sacrificing law school grades (class rank=$) or writing quality for the MFA (bad manuscript=no book deal=no $).

Advice?

ut_89
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby ut_89 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:03 pm

Hmm, this probably doesn't make much sense in the admissions forum but my ?s fit nowhere. Help...anyone?

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worldtraveler
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:05 pm

During the first year it's a terrible idea. Plenty of people do joint degrees though (myself included) so after the first year it might be manageable.

I imagine your law school probably also has a policy that you can't be enrolled in another grad program like this simultaneously. If they have something like that, you're screwed.

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2ofspades
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby 2ofspades » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:09 pm

ut_89 wrote:It would be awesome to get both degrees in four years but it's not worth sacrificing law school grades (class rank=$) or writing quality for the MFA (bad manuscript=no book deal=no $).

While your grades would certainly be an issue, I think it's also important that you are more likely to enjoy being a grad student if you do one of these degrees at a time, rather than both simultaneously. Both are interesting, but I would not enjoy them together. On the other hand, I would enjoy doing a nonfiction program for 2 years, coming out with minimal debt, and then starting at a wonderful law school.

ut_89 wrote:No reason to explain why degrees in law and creative writing make sense for my career goals (they would both help a lot)

Um...maybe you're right and understanding your motives wouldn't help us address your question, but I would love to know why you think these two degrees are important in tandem anyway.

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Sentry
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby Sentry » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:52 pm

Are you going to be ghostwriting for John Grisham?

iiifly
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby iiifly » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:37 pm

I am working Full Time and attend law school Part Time (Day program - 12 credits, 3 short of a full time load). I am surviving, and it looks like I'll be OK - but I don't recommend doing it.

What are you going to do with this other degree, anyway? Tough to explain how you earned two degrees at two different institutions at the same time.

firemed
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby firemed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:55 am

There are several universities that have both law schools and MFA granting english departments. You might be able to work something out that way. I know UNM would allow you to do it, though you pretty much have to be a NM resident to get in it seems like.

ut_89
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby ut_89 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:27 am

I would love to know why you think these two degrees are important in tandem anyway.


I'm trying to get out of school in a reasonable amount of time. The nonfiction program I got into (and most good, small MFA programs) take three years. The one I was accepted to has a minimal time commitment except for two weeks in June and one in December. I know I would have time to work throughout the year and (at least on paper) it seems like there should be enough hours in the day to throw a part-time law school with night classes into the mix. I want to enjoy both, but I don't want to be in school for another SIX years unless I can add PhD behind my name!

What are you going to do with this other degree, anyway?


Short answer: going through a good MFA creative writing program gives you the opportunity to focus on your writing for 2-3 years and helps you make contacts in the publishing industry. Top programs guarantee your creative thesis (novel, poems, essays, etc) will be published at the end of the program. So what I'll do with the MFA is set myself up to work as a writer, and use the law degree to accomplish some of my other goals.

There are several universities that have both law schools and MFA granting english departments. You might be able to work something out that way.


This is a good idea. I'm definitely going to call around to a few schools that have both. Problem is, I'm looking for a creative nonfiction program, which is hard to find because it's a relatively new literary genre. If I go this route, funding becomes the biggest question mark. Vanderbilt, Iowa, George Mason and Minnesota all have law and creative writing, but 5-6 years of loans there would be tough to sustain even with a big law salary. Definitely possible with decent funding, though.

MPMP
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby MPMP » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:43 pm

Not to mention that a Big Law salary would probably be hard to come by at all of those schools except Vandy, and it still wouldn't be a sure thing.

I don't really think it is feasible, I think you would just be spreading yourself too thin. If you just want to have a law degree for the J.D., you might be able to try to do it somewhere very cheap and just aim to pass the bar, but I don't think you could juggle all of these things and still compete with the students gunning for a good legal job.

firemed
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Re: Enough hours in the day? PT law+PT grad school+work

Postby firemed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:46 pm

I would say do one at a time, and use the extra time in the low-res MFA to work and pay off the debt from UG and the MFA (and if you can, save up some for LS). Then you will only have the loans from LS after you are done. 6 years isn't that long.... even if it seems that way. :)




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