how much time on campus?

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Carly Jo

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how much time on campus?

Postby Carly Jo » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:36 pm

Please excuse my ignorance, how much time do 1L's spend on campus, specifically outside of class? How much work can be done from home? I'm an older student with a family. I'm prepared for the workload but we are trying to plan how much help at home with kids and house we will need. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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njdevils2626

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby njdevils2626 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:42 pm

Carly Jo wrote:Please excuse my ignorance, how much time do 1L's spend on campus, specifically outside of class? How much work can be done from home? I'm an older student with a family. I'm prepared for the workload but we are trying to plan how much help at home with kids and house we will need. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


All of the work can be done from home if you want, it's pretty much entirely up to you

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Pneumonia

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:46 pm

Carly Jo wrote:Please excuse my ignorance, how much time do 1L's spend on campus, specifically outside of class? How much work can be done from home? I'm an older student with a family. I'm prepared for the workload but we are trying to plan how much help at home with kids and house we will need. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Other than class, you never really "need" to be on campus. However, law school reading is tough enough on its own. I also have a family and I found it nearly impossible to work from home except before/after everyone else was in bed.

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby totesTheGoat » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Carly Jo wrote: how much time do 1L's spend on campus, specifically outside of class? How much work can be done from home?


You might have some prof who decides to be annoying and forces you to do some project in the library, but usually such projects are only for a week or so, and only require one or two stints in the library. The rest of the work can usually be done off-campus. 95% of the day-to-day 1L work is reading out of your textbook.

However, from experience, it is a good idea to spend more time than the bare minimum on campus. There's nothing wrong with setting boundaries so that you can go home and see your family, but you need to be available to do required and recommended things on campus (extracurriculars, office hours, etc.)

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby mcmand » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:59 pm

Depending on your kids and your family's needs and your law school's resources, you could potentially bring them to campus sometimes. My law school had a student parent resource room that only student parents could access. And none of us minded when a fellow student brought their kid for lack of childcare or school to a study group meeting or other student organization meeting.

It's tricky though in terms of your own study needs. I can't focus with lots of people talking and other media going on in the background. Just having my boyfriend at home with the TV on was hugely distracting for me, so I tried to keep everything at school. Also, any time I took multiple casebooks home and back for a few days in a row my back would get very strained. They're not light loads. If that's your plan, get a wheelie backpack so you don't throw out your back. (One of my classmates did right before finals.)

In other words, like other posters said, you can do it all at home, for sure, but whether you should or how you can do it is dependent on your preferences and how you're going to balance everything else. And you'll probably be figuring this out as you go through it, because you'll try something and it may not work.

If you have the space, maybe create a little home office where the kids aren't allowed to interrupt while you study (assuming they would abide such a rule)?

Sorry we don't have an easy answer on this one. :( There is a lot of balancing to do! Try to find another student parent a year or two ahead of you when you start to get good advice from.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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proteinshake

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby proteinshake » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:35 pm

get some noise cancelling headphones and you can easily do everything at home. you'll get sick of campus real quick.

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby mcmand » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:27 am

proteinshake wrote:get some noise cancelling headphones and you can easily do everything at home. you'll get sick of campus real quick.


Noise cancelling headphones were the best purchase I ever made. Makes focusing so much easier, on campus or off.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pricon

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby pricon » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:44 pm

As I understand it, noise cancellation technology works great for noise like background construction, but works poorly for noise like a loud nearby talker.

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby mcmand » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:53 pm

pricon wrote:As I understand it, noise cancellation technology works great for noise like background construction, but works poorly to block out noise like a loud nearby talker.


If someone is shouting, you'll hear it. If someone is talking at a moderate level and you're very focused, probably not. I've had many times when I'm zoned out studying, doing work, or just fixated on something on my computer (read: TLS threads devolving into flamewars) with my noise-cancelling headphones on, and someone will say hi to me and I will not even register their presence until they shout at me.

Attention/listening is very much about where your focus is being drawn, not just about noise. The noise-canceling headphones help me redirect my focus to whatever is in front of me.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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proteinshake

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby proteinshake » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:58 pm

pricon wrote:As I understand it, noise cancellation technology works great for noise like background construction, but works poorly for noise like a loud nearby talker.

this is true, but I suspect OP would be studying in a room by themself? If that's the case then they won't hear family members with good quality headphones if they're in a different room, especially if they have some ambient music playing as well.

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Carly Jo

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby Carly Jo » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:46 am

Thanks everyone! I have some noise cancelling headphones but we do have a home office that is in a different part of the house, so it would be pretty quiet. Thank you everyone for your advice and for responding. For some reason I thought that I would have a bunch of homework that could only be completed in the library forcing me to stay on campus most of the time. I am super excited to atleast study at home in pajamas :-)

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby bc2131 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:31 pm

I'm a 2nd year evening student with a full time job and a law review staff editor position. Though I don't have a family, I work 40+ hours per week and live with my s/o, so I am hoping I will be able to shed some light on this for you.

You can generally expect to spend 3-5 hours on work outside the classroom each week for each class you are taking. I have an English degree and have been working in the legal field for several years, but the bottom line is it takes time to read and truly understand the cases. If you are planning to go to school full time (no outside job), then you can expect to have about the same amount of time to help out around the house and spend time with family as anyone else with a 9-5 job. You'll likely actually have more time, as an academic schedule is much more flexible than a work schedule. If you'll be working full time in addition to going to school, however, you can expect your capacity in these areas to be significantly reduced.

On a normal day, I wake up at 5 AM in order to get to work by 7 (at the latest). I am at work until 4 PM, and usually use my hour lunch break to review my notes for the evening's classes. After work, I head straight to school. After the commute to school, I usually have between an hour and an hour and a half before classes start (some days start at 5:45, others at 6:15). Sometimes I use the time to review material for the evening, other times I use it to speed-read that case I couldn't get to over the weekend, and still others I will just grab a study room and chat with my friends. All of these activities serve a purpose, including the last one. Sometimes you just need an hour of mindless conversation for your brain to switch gears from work-mode to school-mode. I have class every night, Monday-Thursday. Two nights a week I'm in class until 9 PM, and the other two I'm in until 9:35. That puts me home around 9:30 and 10:15 depending on the day. (note: I live very close to the school. Some of my classmates aren't home until nearly 11 PM on the 9:35 nights.) So, four nights a week, I am essentially useless around the house save for throwing in a load of laundry before bed or washing a few dishes and wiping down the counters. One thing you'll learn quickly is that law school classes wear out your brain in the same way that a workout wears out your body. We've had many conversations among my school friends about being able to "feel" our brain. You too will experience this after your first battery of finals. It's weird. I digress.

Friday nights are reserved as a "no-school" date/hangout night with my s/o. Having this dedicated time is, I believe, crucial both to my mental health and to the health of my relationship. Another thing about law school is that--no matter how much work you do--you will always feel like there is more work you could do or should be doing. Whether it's finding a hornbook to get a better grasp on the rule against perpetuities or briefing that case you barely skimmed before class last week, you will always be able to think of something you "should" be doing. As such, having a dedicated break time in your weekly schedule is crucial. Without it, you will either fill that time with schoolwork or feel guilty about not filling it with schoolwork. Don't do that to yourself.

Saturday is my study day. I wake up at 7 AM (this is "sleeping in" to me) and have coffee and breakfast with my s/o. I then head to the library, aiming to arrive at 9 AM when the library opens. I am very easily distracted, so I use the library as my "office" for school. I have a specific cubicle on a specific floor that I use every Saturday. This routine tells my brain "okay, we are about to crush out some cases so buckle up." I'm usually at the library for 12 hours with a break for a LIGHT** lunch. If I have a law review assignment, that bumps up to a 16 hour day. The library is open until 1 AM for students, and I try to maximize that time on Saturday in hopes of keeping my Sundays free (more on that in a minute). If a 16 hour day sounds long to you, just remember that you will likely be pulling a lot of them after graduation. You might as well get used to it now. My s/o is usually asleep when I get home on Saturday night, so I usually have a beer, listen to some music and play video games for an hour or so to unwind, then I hit the hay.

**It's important for me that I keep my lunch light. If I eat Chipotle I will be falling asleep within an hour and then home an hour after that with only a small portion of my work completed.

I try to reserve Sundays for chores around the house. We live in a small house in the city, so if we team up we can usually clean the house from top to bottom (save for the dreaded laundry pile) in just a few hours. This helps me to keep from feeling guilty during the week and keeps my s/o from wanting to kill me. Once we are done with the house, we will either hang out together or, more likely, I will finish up a few more school things and then switch to "chill mode."

Something to keep in mind is that your work load will ebb and flow, especially during your 1L year (and 2L if you make it on to a journal and are required to write a case note or comment). This is chiefly because of your 1L research and writing classes. These classes are often 2 credit classes that feel like they should be worth 4 credits. You'll be spending a TON of time working on the assignments outside of class. This is because you will be researching (read: reading a LOT of cases) in an area of law you likely know nothing about (because you're a 1L and don't really know anything about any area of the law yet). When I did my open memo (research class) and my appellate brief (trial advocacy), my Sundays looked exactly like my Saturdays (12 hours in the library) from midterms until finals, and I was working solely on my writing assignments on Sundays. Even after the hellish writing classes are behind you, you will still see ebbs and flows. Some blessed few weeks you will have a lot of short, easy cases and be able to get through everything quickly. Other weeks the material will be difficult, or it will seem as though your professors conspired to ruin your life by all assigning 100 pages of reading in the same week. It happens. Such is the life of a law student. Finals season will also increase your workload. In your fall semester it starts at Thanksgiving break or, as I like to call it, "reading week part 1." Except for Thursday dinner, I spend most of my Thanksgiving break reviewing for finals, and you should too. It's annoying, but you'll thank yourself when the real reading week rolls around and you've already reviewed/outlined half the material while all of your peers are scrambling to remember what happened in week 1. Even with this extra studying, you will be a ghost at your house during finals (a 2 week period at most schools). You'll be in the library 24/7 with everyone else. That's just how it goes.

All in all it comes down to planning, time management and prioritization. My s/o and I had lengthy discussions about law school, what it would be like, and whether I should go before I applied. I strongly encourage you to have these discussions with your family as well. We knew going in what our lives were probably going to look like once I was in school, and it really makes a difference. We planned out what we thought my weeks would look like, and we revised that calendar after first semester was over and we knew what it was like "for real". It is also important that your family know what your goals are for law school, and what it will take to achieve those goals. I set aggressive goals for myself in law school, and my schedule reflects that. For you, a person with children, your goals or priorities are likely different than mine. You will probably value family time over schoolwork much more often than I do. That's fine, and your schedule should reflect that. You should, however, be cautioned that you need to be relatively aggressive in your study regimen--no matter what your goals are--to be successful in law school. If you don't pay enough attention to school, you'll end up with mediocre grades and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in debt or sunk costs. That amounts to blowing your kid's college fund on a degree that you can't use because nobody wants to hire you with those grades. This is my only negative comment, but it's an important one. You don't want that guilt, especially after giving 3-4 years of your life (and, to some extent, your family's lives) to the law school.

Law school has certainly been one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life, but it is also one of the most rewarding (despite its reputation as a soulless hellscape). If you decide to go, I hope that you will find it to be an equally positive experience. Talk it over with your family, be clear on what you are all getting into, and come to an agreement. If you do this, you will be okay.

Best of luck to you!

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sweets91

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Re: how much time on campus?

Postby sweets91 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:52 pm

Carly Jo wrote:Thanks everyone! I have some noise cancelling headphones but we do have a home office that is in a different part of the house, so it would be pretty quiet. Thank you everyone for your advice and for responding. For some reason I thought that I would have a bunch of homework that could only be completed in the library forcing me to stay on campus most of the time. I am super excited to atleast study at home in pajamas :-)


I did this exclusively - hate libraries - and I did pretty well. It's really more about making sure you don't get distracted.



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