The Bar Exam

Well, it’s that time! What the past four years have been leading up to. 

Ryan headed up to Harrisburg last night and today and tomorrow he will be taking the two-day Pennsylvania Bar Exam.

He’s been studying tirelessly everyday since May. I know he will do great, but we appreciate any extra positive thoughts!

I’ve taken some time to study with him and have  briefly looked over his bar prep information and I can’t believe all of the information he needs to comprehend and remember. It’s all over my head and I’m so proud of him for all the work he has done. 

This is basically what our dining room/living has looked like for the past two months.

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I’m excited to celebrate with some much-needed drinks (for him) and our family trip to the beach. This will be our first time together as a couple where he won’t be studying!

I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like to be married to someone who doesn’t carry flash cards with him everywhere he goes.

Go, Ryan, Go!
 

The End of Law School

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He did it!

As of 10:30 p.m. last night Ryan finished his last final (in Income Tax, gross),

Ryan is officially done with law school!

He is now enjoying a peaceful sleep. One that he has been looking forward to since 2011.

After 4 years of blood, sweat, and tears (well no blood) he is done. After hearing “I can’t do this anymore!” or “Why did I sign up for this” countless times, he made it! And our marriage made it.

When we first started dating and Ryan casually mentioned he was in his first year of law school and hinted to how much stress he would be under and how he wouldn’t be able to commit as much time to a relationship as most women would like.

I sat there and smiled and naively thought, “No problem! I really value my alone time! This will work out great!”

Since we started living together in 2012, I’ve mostly only seen my husband on the weekends. 

Not seeing your husband during the week pays a toll. Going home to an empty house and cooking lunch and dinner for a husband you won’t actually see enjoy said meals gets old. Consoling a tired, stressed, and grumpy husband from afar is difficult. Not having a husband have time to console you in return is hard. I wanted so much to make things easier for him and I tried my best, but there was only so much I could do. Some days felt never-ending and I didn’t know if we’d make it.

But we made it. 

No more 19 hour days! He’ll soon get to lose sleep due to something else, a baby.

It’s been a long journey. Three years ago it felt like this day would never come. I started counting down the days to graduation about 740 days ago. It seemed like an eternity away. Yes, this was the only life we knew together, but I couldn’t stop dreaming of doing normal couple things like talking about our days over dinner, going to happy hour, being able to kiss each other goodnight and having weekends where school work was not on the agenda.

We tried to laugh during the hard times and tell ourselves that someday we would look back fondly at this time of our lives. (doubtful)

We sacrificed our time and our money. Pinching pennies whenever we could. Cooking up cheap casseroles and budget shopping while also trying to schedule and save up for date nights and getaways to make sure our relationship was a priority. We also could not have done this without the emotional support of our families. (and thank you for always having me for dinner and always wiping away my stress tears, Mom and Dad!)

I’m so incredibly proud of him. He’s been tested time and time again but has never given up. He’s pulled off amazing grades and extracurricular activities while also excelling at his job. 

But before we get too excited, there’s still much to do.

May 21: The official graduation! And time to start worrying about the couple hundred thousand dollars taken out in student loans. 

May 29: Ryan’s last day at his job. He’s quitting to study for the bar exam full time, making us a one income family for the summer.

July 29: Ryan takes the Bar Exam!

August 1: We celebrate the end of the bar exam by heading off to NC for a family beach vacation.

September 1: Ryan starts his new job in Delaware.

Oh and because we love a challenge, let’s not forget:

Mid-September: We welcome Baby Mac into the world!

Late October: Move with a newborn to be closer to Ryan’s new job. 

The wild ride continues, but I’m so glad this milestone has been reached. This is the start of a brand new chapter for us. Congrats, Ryan! I’m so proud of you!

On to bigger and better things!

 

Celebrating a New Chapter!

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I had full intentions of coming here yesterday, on Monday, to start a brand new series that I”m very excited about. 

But, life got in the way. Like it does.

But it got in the way in a wonderful way. 

We have very exciting news to share from the MacDonald household. (no, I’m not pregnant).

Ryan has accepted a job offer for after he graduates from law school. He will be leaving the DA’s office behind and moving on to a new city and new experiences and I can’t wait to be part of the journey with him. 

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I’ve been a little quiet lately while we were in the midst of countless interviews and waiting time periods. We knew a move was most likely inevitable but had no idea where life was going to take us after law school.  

After months of stress, worrying and hoping, we now know where we will be come next year. 

I feel like I can breathe again. We are so very excited to start this new chapter of our life. 

Thank you for all the support!

Katie and Ryan

The Last First Day of School

Today is a big one. Today is Ryan’s LAST first day of school!

While all the mom’s were posting pictures of their cute kids headed off to their first day of school today, I couldn’t resist posting Ryan headed off to his first day of his last year of law school. Hallelujah!

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The last year. Still letting that sink in.

So begins another year of only seeing him on the weekends. Of being a constant cheerleader and a wizard-like budget maker.

 

When you’re in the depths of law school, with an overly anxious student that also works a full-time job and adds on Moot Court, and research and TA positions, and law journal, you think law school is going to last your entire life. It’s easy to get lost in the darkness and forget that this is going to just be a short period of your life. 

I’ve written about being married to a law student here and here. It’s tough. Many people are telling us these will probably be the toughest years of our lives. There’s still a lot of unchartered territory ahead. Two semesters, bar exam prep, taking the bar exam, and finding a job. 

As a couple, I think our biggest anxiety comes from the unknown. We are stuck in this “in between” patch of our lives. We have no clue where we will be living next year. Where he will get a job. How we will be paying off the excruciating amount of student loans. We’ve put things off. In our home, the phrase “After law school” is used as commonly as “coffee”. 

We made the most of this summer. Worries were but aside as much as possible and we unplugged and made each other a priority.

This past weekend you would think we’d do something fun and exciting to celebrate our last few days of freedom. No, we were out running errands, buying new shoes, hitting up Costco, and doing laundry, cooking meals for the week, and cleaning. Boring old married stuff. But I cherish doing those every day things with Ryan.

People warned me about marrying a law student. They said that the marriage would come second. That many marriages barely make it.

But I can’t imagine married life any other way. This is all I know. We’re a team. I’m happy to be married to a man who is passionate about his dream and is still supportive of mine. I don’t know how Ryan does it, how he slaves away at his job and also manages to put 100% into law school and still get amazing grades and accomplishment. Yes, I’m bragging. 

Sure I dream of the day when Ryan can come home at a reasonable hour, when we won’t be stressing about every bill, and when Ryan will be fulfilled in a career that he has worked hard for. But,  I like to think that these stressful days of pinching pennies, of saying yes to another dinner in while watching Netflix and no to a Saturday night out, of making the most of our time together will only strengthen our marriage. As cheesy as it sounds, love does win sometimes. 

I just need to remember that in the coming weeks when I’m feeling lonely and lost and like no amount of love can diminish Ryan’s stress and anxiety and like the days are longer than the weeks. We’ve got this! We’ve got this! We’ve got this! 

xoxo Katie

Fear of the Unknown

Anxiety of The Unknown
Do you remember that annoying kid in school that was always raising their hand and knew all the answers? That was me.

I never wanted to be caught off guard, surprised, not know the answers, or not know what was going to happen next. I always did my research. I always discovered the answers. I always had a plan.

Otherwise I was a mess. The more that remained unknown the more I worried. I’d become overridden with anxiety and not enjoy life. 

I’m still this way. Even though the word “adventure” is in my blog title, a word that to many evokes spontaneous and hazardous activity, the unknown paralyzes me with anxiety. I like my adventures to be very well thought out.

Before I go on trip I do hardcore research on restaurants, sites, and hotels. When I go to the doctor I need them to calmly tell me each and every step of the procedure they are about to do. Dates are planned with a specific agenda. Lists, spreadsheets, calendars, and maps are all friends of mine. 

I’m not stupid. I know that life laughs in your face when you try to make plans. I’ve faced enough obstacles in my 31 years to know that life cannot be planned and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected.

Yet, I still find myself yearning to plan for the future. I want to do my best to ensure I’m as prepared as I can be. I want to know all the answers to all the things.

The small things: What will we have for dinner? What will I wear tomorrow? Where should we go on a weekend trip?

And the big things: Where will we be living in 5 years? Where will Ryan be working? When will we have a family? When will we have a house? How long will I be at this job? 

In just one year Ryan graduates from law school. It will be a great celebration after four years of hard work. He is currently on summer break. For months I’ve been looking forward to this summer so that we’d have more time together and the stress of school wouldn’t be weighing heavy on him (and me). We’d be a normal couple, waking up and going to work and coming home to have dinner together (even if it is at 8 p.m.) and full weekends free! 

Yet, here we are, getting paralyzed by the unknown.

This whole week my heart has been beating too fast for me to catch my breath. I have no idea where we will be in one year. Most likely we will be moving. I have moved 8 times since I graduated from college. The idea of moving out of our current house makes me want to vomit.

This past week I’ve been creating multiple budgets and looking up homes. I have no idea what state we will even be living in. We could be moving in six months. All dependent on where Ryan can secure a good job. I know that we are in this together and that is part of the fun, the adventure. But it doesn’t change the fact that this part of our future is out of our control.

Will he find a job? Will he find a job he’ll be happy in? Will I have to leave my job? Will I find another job? Will we find housing as nice as our current home? Will I have to say goodbye to my family? Will I have to leave this town, this countryside that I’ve grown to love? No matter how many houses or jobs or neighborhoods I look at, there is no way of knowing what will be.

 There is no way to plan for this. For once in my life, I do not know all the answers and it terrifies me. 

xoxo Katie

(free write) May Day! Celebrate!

Happy May! I’m celebrating with a little free write day. In other words, read my rambles and thoughts about life lately.

 

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Today is the day we’ve been waiting for!

Ryan is headed off to school to take his last final examination of the semester. After today he’ll be off school for four whole months! He’ll still be going off to work every day, but will be home in the evenings and our weekends will be study free! This Spring semester has been one for the books. The stress levels in our house have been through the roof the past 2 months. There were days that I thought would never end, arguments started over grumpiness and tiredness, doubt, and loneliness. Marriage is beautiful as it allows you to share the weight on your shoulders with someone else. Yet, as I would help Ryan carry his stress I would catch myself thinking, how are we going to get through another day? I remember laying in bed in tears just staring at the calendar thinking May 1 seemed so far away.

And today we’ve made it! He only has one more year until graduation. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s been getting quite a few A +’s and I couldn’t be prouder. Time to celebrate!

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May 1 always holds fond memories of celebrations for me. May Day memories include an annual celebration of running naked around the flag pole on my college campus green. Wait? You don’t celebrate that way?

Yes, it’s true. My tiny private Maryland liberal arts college, Washington College, had a May Day tradition which started in 1967 when an English professor took his students out on the green for class. They drank wine, ate strawberries and later, undressed and danced around the May pole. When I was a student in the early 2000’s the naked events died down from their heyday in the 60’s and 70’s. Yet, per tradition, every April 30 at midnight, hundreds of students would gather around the flag pole, disrobe and dance, play ultimate frisbee and other games. The following day you would still see quite a few naked, or half-naked, enthusiasts, playing music, porch drinking, or lying in the green. Students would come to class in robes and towels. It was a festive day! 

Here, Professor Lamond talks about the invention and popularity of May Day on campus. 


As my senior year approached and more and more people had digital cameras, the amount of naked partying decreased. Sadly, technology took over. Too many people were afraid of pictures being taken and placed on the internet. One example where the internet did ruin all of the organic fun! 

So every May Day I have to smile and think of youth and freedom and the best years of our lives, college. 

Speaking of celebrations earlier this week a group of girlfriends got together at my Mom’s house for our monthly cocktail party. Another stressor of the past month has been my Mom’s surgery. An April 4 she had serious foot surgery, leaving her incapable of putting any weight on her foot for 8 weeks.

Her spirits have been low, can you imagine being stuck in bed or in a chair in your house for the entire Spring? She hates having to rely on everyone to do everything for her, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, or simply pouring a glass of water. My Pop-Pop has been spending the days with her and I’ve been taking care of her after work and on the weekends.

On Tuesday, the girls did not disappoint. We did what we do best, gather when needed.

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We decided to have a pajama party and dress in our sweats, like mom, and we stuffed our faces with the best food and drinks. We can always depend on each other for a good laugh, cry fest, or hug. 

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We celebrate getting through the first month with one more month to go! We have our trip to Jamaica to look forward to!

What are you celebrating this May Day?

xoxo Katie

 

   

 

 

 

 

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

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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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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)

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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