Ryan Takes Over the Blog: 5 Ways to Stay Sane in Law School (or grad school)

snow abla
The bully that is Polar Vortex came by for another nasty visit this week. The latest snow storm to pummel the North East made today and yesterday snow days!. We bundled up at home, hiding out from the 8-11 inches of snow dumped across the county. Today, we are facing a -12 windchill and I’m chilled to the bones.

While I worked from home, Ryan had a rare day of relaxation. But the man doesn’t know how to relax, instead he offered to write a guest post for me, offering some tips for adult students like himself.

So, today, I hand over the reins to my blog to my hardworking and lovable husband, Ryan. Here he is in his own words:

ryan

Hello blogging world! My name is Ryan and I’m the lucky guy that gets to call Katie my wife. Though you and I have vaguely “met” through Katie’s posts, I wanted to take a moment to formally introduce myself and discuss law school.

First, I am a part-time evening student, meaning that in addition to having a 40 hour work week, I typically spend about 3-4 nights a week attending classes at a  law school near my work. My free time is slim to none, so I’ve learned how to manage my time and divide up my hours between, work, school, sleep, and social life.   I have been doing this for 3 years now, night students have a 4 year program, and I’m begining to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now this may appear to be a crazy schedule and you may be wondering, “why would anyone sign up for this?” However, it is manageable and I am here to discuss 5 ways of staying sane during law school, which I feel can be applied to both full-time and part-time students.

1. Have a life!

ryan life

I remember my first year Torts professor telling me that the key to success in law school was to not have a life your first year (possibly first two years for evening students). The rationale is that the first year courses are considered your core courses and potential employers, especially for summer associate positions, will look at how you did in your first year courses. Once I heard this, I couldn’t imagine devoting over a year to work and school during the week and solely school work on the weekends. I’m pretty sure that’s how people tend to go crazy. So I decided to modify his advice and have somewhat of a life during my first year. I wound up doing well in my first year courses and also managed to stay sane.

2. Devote a weekend day to yourself or to “us” if you are in a relationship.

ryan and katie

Saturday was my particular day of choice before I met Katie and now it has become our day. Saturdays have become our day to unwind, catch up on what happened during the week, and enjoy everything that life has given us.

3. Don’t be afraid about relationships and law school.

don't be afraid of relationships in law school

I believe that one could write a book solely on this topic alone. If you google “relationships and law school” you will find a slew of articles, mostly negative, about the effects of law school in relationships. Don’t get me wrong, law school is hard on any relationship, married or dating, but if both of you are willing to make sacrifices and compromises, then it will work. Katie, being the wonderful wife that she is, has made this adventure through law school much more manageable through everything that she does for me

4. Don’t be shy!

don't be shy

This one is easily said but being the very shy person that I am, I know how hard it can be to meet new people and make new friends, especially in the competitive atmosphere of law school. Still, you are all on the same boat that is law school and experiencing the same treacherous ride, so why not make new friends along the way.

5. Get a dog! (or cat if you are a cat person)

get a dog to help with law school

Seriously, this is one of the best ways to stay sane in law school. Most recently, Yale Law School began bringing in dogs around final exam time to alleviate stress from their students. I’m lucky enough to have a little shitzu poodle named Maggie May that comes to greet me at the door every night, even if it’s midnight, just to let me know how much she has missed me.

I hope others find my learned experiences. Above all else, try to not worry too much. (I can see Katie rolling her eyes as she reads this because I’m a constant worrier). But, try to add some laughter into the mix.

have fun in law school

 

  • I agree with Ryan’s tips completely — silly me began grad school as a double major with plans of law school afterward while working full time (I came to my senses a year and a half later) … my ‘fun’ was a trip abroad that was my reward for surviving that first year.

    PS … love the book title in the last pic, I should pick up a copy & leave it during one of my trips to the DA’s office!

    • kwalshmac

      Yikes! Sounds like a very full load! And trips are the best things to plan and look forward too. Even if it’s a simple weekend getaway, I try to plan a trip every few months so we have something to looks forward to!

      Hah yes! That book was found an apartment we rented in Vieques Puerto Rico!

  • The school I work for brings in animals at exam time, too! We had a mini pony once which was pretty awesome and even the faculty and staff get involved. Good luck!

    • kwalshmac

      I think the idea of bringing animals in to release stress is a brilliant idea!! Mini pony’s are so silly looking and fun, that is awesome!

  • Sam

    Ryan, great tips! I am just starting my PhD and my partner is starting post-grad law so it’s a time of change for us! Lots of people have been saying my relationship will be the first thing to go but reading this was great, thanks!

    • kwalshmac

      Hi Sam! Thank you. At times it can still be overwhelming but you just need to ignore the negativity. Good luck to you and your partner!

  • Great tips! I recently started my MBA, and with my husband’s crazy work & travel schedule it is definitely important to carve out time together!

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you! Yes, you have to put in the effort and be present! Good look with your MBA!