Thanks sharing! Do you feel like working in a law firm has made everything easier? I know you said that it makes your future job search a little less stressful but do you feel like anything has translated into academic success?[/quote]
Yes, I do think that working in a law firm makes certain aspects of my life easier. As a paralegal, I get certain tasks because my attorneys know that I'm in law school and I understand certain things better than some of my coworkers because of that--proofreading briefs, etc. I also think that working specifically for a law firm as opposed to some other type of company or the government makes things easier because every attorney I work with has gone through law school, some part-time, and can understand my time constraints. For example, I had a meeting with my boss on the same day that I had a final, and she asked how finals were going. Once she found out that I had one that day, she told me that I should take the rest of the day off of work and go straight to school to study.
**Side note--I didn't take nearly enough time off from work around finals. I ended up taking only one full day and then that extra half day that my boss made me take. My weekends at that point were dominated by my final paper for my writing class, so I didn't have a lot of extra time beyond that for actual studying. I plan to take off three or four days at the end of spring semester to make sure that I have enough study time.
In terms of academic success, I will be honest and say that being a part-time student and doing well in school is extremely hard. The demands on my time are kind of crazy. In the beginning of the semester, I tried to constrain my school time to one full day of the weekend, and then just a few hours on the other day, but I realized about halfway through that, for me at least, that just wasn't enough. Pretty much every weekend and the hour and a half that I have between work and class is spent on schoolwork. No running errands, no social plans beyond grabbing coffee, no doing...anything else, really. A lot of my classmates are switching from PT to FT and I totally understand why. When you work a full time job, it's so hard to measure up against the gunner FT kids who spend all of their time reading and outlining, because there just isn't time in the day for everything that needs to be done. I think that's something that I'm still coming to terms with.
I will, however, say that I think I did pretty well in my classes because I studied consistently throughout the semester and I was always prepared for class. I knew that I wouldn't be able to cram everything in at the last minute like I did in undergrad, so I planned for that. As a part-timer, as long as you go in with that mentality, it's manageable. My research and writing class tended to dominate a lot of my time just because there was a lot of written work that had to be done, but I always found time to do my readings for my other classes, which I think put me ahead of at least some of my classmates who would show up totally unprepared the week after one of our papers was due. Once you fall behind as a part time student, it's really hard to get back up to speed unless you take a day off of work or have a federal holiday or something.
Sorry this was so long, but I hope that some of my answers helped!