Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

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Mce252
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Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:27 am

I'll be starting school full time in the fall and wanted to seek advice from anyone who has some experience balancing marriage with doing well in law school. My wife works full time 40 - 50 hours per week. Helpful advice might revolve around:

-What study schedule worked best for you?

-How did you plan your weekends?

-Were you able to study at home often (I should have a large desk in our second bedroom)?

-Other miscellaneous tips and tricks...

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Wholigan
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Wholigan » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:10 am

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Last edited by Wholigan on Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

luckyduck
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby luckyduck » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:12 am

I'm married with kids and in top 10%.
My advice
1. set expectations. let her know up front just how unavailable you will be. Be specific. If you pay bills, do laundry, dishes etc. split the duties up now.
2. Set several hours aside on a specific day just for her. And stick to it. My day - Friday nights. I never work on Friday nights -- even during finals.
3. My first semester I was lucky in that I had a 4 hour break between classes every day. I was able to do most of my work during that break for the first 4 weeks of law school. Then I started working on weekends. At first that work was 4 hours each weekend day. Then as finals approached I worked 8-10 hours a day on weekends.
4. Definitely set up your own spot in the house.
5. I stay at the school from 8am-6pm everyday. Treat it like a job and its fairly manageable until about 4 weeks before finals.

I think you have to find your own way. But I was nervous about balancing before I started so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

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introversional
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby introversional » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:16 am

luckyduck wrote:I'm married with kids and in top 10%.
My advice
1. set expectations. let her know up front just how unavailable you will be. Be specific. If you pay bills, do laundry, dishes etc. split the duties up now.
2. Set several hours aside on a specific day just for her. And stick to it. My day - Friday nights. I never work on Friday nights -- even during finals.
3. My first semester I was lucky in that I had a 4 hour break between classes every day. I was able to do most of my work during that break for the first 4 weeks of law school. Then I started working on weekends. At first that work was 4 hours each weekend day. Then as finals approached I worked 8-10 hours a day on weekends.
4. Definitely set up your own spot in the house.
5. I stay at the school from 8am-6pm everyday. Treat it like a job and its fairly manageable until about 4 weeks before finals.

I think you have to find your own way. But I was nervous about balancing before I started so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.


Treating it like a job seems like good advice.... I'll be juggling (a) wife (b) Job and (c) new baby while attending a PT program. It's going to get interesting.

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Mce252
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:59 pm

Thank you for your advice.

I try to reserve Sunday for time with my wife. If I haven't finished reading on Saturday, I get up early Sunday morning and spend a couple hours reading so we have the rest of Sunday together. This often requires 10-12 hours or so of study time on Saturday, but I think it's worth it. I do very little schoolwork during the week except attending class.


This seems like a good place to start for us right now. I'm currently a graduate student with a good size reading and writing load, so I've already gotten in the habit of keeping a lot of Sunday for us. I will probably try to:

5. I stay at the school from 8am-6pm everyday. Treat it like a job and its fairly manageable until about 4 weeks before finals.



...so that I hopefully don't have to spend as much time on Saturday finishing everything up.

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fanmingrui
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby fanmingrui » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:02 pm

Tag.

xyzbca
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby xyzbca » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:02 pm

PT student, top 10%, wife and kid (although kid was born after 1st year of law school).

To add to what was previously stated.

1. You must stick to your schedule.
2. Set aside one day for her. Like the previous poster, I don't do anything LS related on Friday nights. Basically, Friday night is whatever my wife wants to do.
3. Set clear expectations. This worked well with my wife. However, you need to understand that if you deviate from the schedule and waste time it will frustrate her. For example, your alma mater (what do former students call the mothership?) may have a big game in the fall. Your wife may be frustrated that you don't want to do something with her during that time (maybe you want to go Dove hunting, etc....) You get the point.
4. if your wife goes out of town for a weekend, make sure you are productive during that time.

TaxLawLady
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby TaxLawLady » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:07 pm

I am an evening student and work a full time job. My husband and I had to set clear expectations for each other before school started. We agreed that Friday night will always be date night. Depending on the semester, we have one night a week that we always eat a late dinner together (8 or 9 PM). Weekends are inconsistent, but as a rule, no reading/writing after 7 PM on Saturday night. Sunday we expect not to see each other until late. He joined the law school gym so that we could work out together. I try not to talk too much about school or cases unless he asks or I know he'll think something is funny/interesting.

The hardest part is division of labor with housework, errands, etc. You just have to be flexible, set up automatic bill-pay, and eat out a fair amount. :D

For me, the really tough part is feelings of guilt - I never feel 100% present or committed to work, school, or my husband. When you do have those date nights/brunches, make them count. Good luck! Feel free to contact me off-line if you need anything - it's a long haul, but supporting your spouse/being supported by your spouse will make it all worth it.

Wactawshus
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Wactawshus » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:12 pm

Tagged

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Mce252
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm

TaxLawLady wrote:I am an evening student and work a full time job. My husband and I had to set clear expectations for each other before school started. We agreed that Friday night will always be date night. Depending on the semester, we have one night a week that we always eat a late dinner together (8 or 9 PM). Weekends are inconsistent, but as a rule, no reading/writing after 7 PM on Saturday night. Sunday we expect not to see each other until late. He joined the law school gym so that we could work out together. I try not to talk too much about school or cases unless he asks or I know he'll think something is funny/interesting.

The hardest part is division of labor with housework, errands, etc. You just have to be flexible, set up automatic bill-pay, and eat out a fair amount. :D

For me, the really tough part is feelings of guilt - I never feel 100% present or committed to work, school, or my husband. When you do have those date nights/brunches, make them count. Good luck! Feel free to contact me off-line if you need anything - it's a long haul, but supporting your spouse/being supported by your spouse will make it all worth it.



Great points. Thank you.

09042014
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby 09042014 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:42 pm

Law school is easier than a 50 hour a week job except for during finals, and three days before a memo/brief.

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Mce252
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:46 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Law school is easier than a 50 hour a week job except for during finals, and three days before a memo/brief.



Just don't tell her. I'm getting so many sympathy points.

09042014
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby 09042014 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:48 pm

Mce252 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Law school is easier than a 50 hour a week job except for during finals, and three days before a memo/brief.



Just don't tell her. I'm getting so many sympathy points.


Sorry hun, I'm a ... networking, at the local bar, ... with co eds.

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Mce252
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby Mce252 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:50 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Mce252 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Law school is easier than a 50 hour a week job except for during finals, and three days before a memo/brief.



Just don't tell her. I'm getting so many sympathy points.


Sorry hun, I'm a ... networking, at the local bar, ... with co eds.



Haha...oh wow

AP-375
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby AP-375 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:07 pm

As a 0L with a wife and kid, I really appreciate the advice.
My current working schedule keeps me out of the house from about 7-7, so I'm planning on staying dedicated to a somewhat similar schedule, and replace some of my nightly vegging time with studying if necessary.

LoriBelle
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby LoriBelle » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:56 pm

I'm a 2L, happily married for ~7 years, no kids, top 5%, Law Review, etc.

What worked for us was to go in with our eyes wide open. We agreed from the beginning to be very open about the law school experience and how we felt it was affecting our relationship. My husband sees law school as sort of a joint venture, an investment in our future, and so he's very supportive. (If your spouse is not supportive, my advice is DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL.)

Many people find that a study schedule where they do all their work at school and then are "off the clock" at home works well. I am not one of those people. I would much rather bring my books home and do my homework as I sit next to my husband while he reads quietly (he is a part-time minister, so reading is a part of his routine). This often occurs in bed. This kind of silent companionship makes me feel better, and it beats the heck out of the tense (or unnecessarily chatty) atmosphere at school. We have a home office, but I feel isolated if I go in there to study, so I only do that when I'm really desperate and need extreme concentration (or if I'm too sleepy to read in bed). My home is a sort of sanctuary from the insanity of the law school atmosphere, but I most definitely do school work at home. Others don't, and I'm sure they have valid reasons for that.

I actually think it might help a bit, because my husband gets a real sense for my workload, and he can adjust his support accordingly. For instance, normally I do the dishes and he does the laundry, but this week is particularly horrific, so he did all the dishes for me yesterday afternoon. They were kind of piling up, so I really appreciated this. I was so overwhelmed, and the nice feeling in the kitchen helped me have a sense of peace.

Our weekends are weird, because we only share one day off (Sunday), and that day is spent doing churchy stuff. I don't do any school work on the weekends while we are both home. In fact, I don't do any school work on Sundays at all if I can help it. I'm not a strict Sunday-sabbath-keeper, but I really do think God was on to something when he suggested taking one day out of the week and not doing any work. There's a sort of renewal in it.

I will say that lately, I have been doing less school work at home because my class schedule has large gaps in it, and I've been using them to study at school. If you have large gaps like that, by all means use them, but when I didn't have those gaps, there was no way I was happy staying later at school to get my "work" done before I could go home. Depending on the atmosphere of your home, you may well feel different.

The single best bit of advice I've ever given or received about law school is this: figure out what works for you, and do that. You're an individual. What works for others might not work for you. Don't compare yourself to others. Do whatever it takes for YOU to succeed. That's all I have, man. Good luck in law school!

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IzziesGal
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Re: Married Students - Practical Advice Wanted

Postby IzziesGal » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:03 pm

-What study schedule worked best for you?

My hubby is a full time student, which is comparable to your wife's full time hours. So basically whenever he studied, I studied. And I would try to get all of my work done during the day and try to have evenings with him. This hardly ever happened as a 1L. As a 2L, things have been much easier. Also, you just need a patient significant other - my hubby was okay picking up the extra slack around the house during finals, b/c he knew what that meant for me.

-How did you plan your weekends?

I hardly ever do a lot of the law school social events. In fact, I don't do any school sponsored social events. I have a group of friends I enjoy spending time with, and if I am going out, I will do something with them. Most of the time, however, I spend time with my hubby. Between our two schedules, we are crazy busy - and any free time we have, we prefer to spend with each other. Saturdays are usually errand days - grocery shopping, cleaning the house, bank, oil change for the car, taking the dog to the groomer, etc. And Fri or Sat night is always date night - lately it's been the movies, sometimes it's dinner in the city. ALWAYS try to make time to just enjoy each other. Even if it's only cooking together and laughing in the kitchen and making a mess.

-Were you able to study at home often (I should have a large desk in our second bedroom)?

I prefer studying at home - I hate the library. There's too much 1L tension. You could cut it with a knife. =)
We have a second BR that we use as an office, and now that the upstairs neighbors stopped blasting house music, it's great. I like being home and curling up with my dog and my reading.

Sometime it's hard, though, because when I am home, I tend to get distracted with the millions of things that need to be done - this picture needs to be hung, that carpet could be vacuumed, those things could be dusted, etc. You just gotta ignore all that stuff that eats at you.

-Other miscellaneous tips and tricks...

Have date night at least once a week and make sure you show your appreciation to your spouse during 1L. It's a rough time for both!

Cook for the week - if you can. My hubby and I make all of our vegetables, potatoes, pasta, etc on Sunday...so that when we get home late on weeknights, we have minimal cooking to do and can pop most of the food into the micro and eat together.

Oh, and grocery delivery. We don't do it all the time (we both prefer shopping ourselves), but there are just certain times when you don't have the extra hours to spare - and it comes in handy.




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