As an entering evening student, I had a truckload of questions. Is it possible to survive working full-time while succeeding in law school? Will this leave any time for conversations on non-legal subject matter? And most importantly, should I just go ahead and cancel all my unused Groupons since I will probably never have time to use them?
A semester into the program, I can assure you that it is possible not only to survive, but thrive. This is my fall quarter Evening Division schedule:
Monday: 6:00-7:15pm Property, 8:15-9:25pm Contracts.
Tuesday: 6:00-7:15pm Torts, 7:45-9:45pm Legal Writing and Research.
Wednesday: (same as Monday.)
Thursday: 6:00-7:15pm Torts. No second class - hooray!
Add in 40 hours of work and homework over the weekends, and yes, you're looking at a very full week. While the first few weeks were a huge adjustment, I have finally settled into my routine.
A couple tips for anyone considering the evening program:
- Be realistic about what time you can leave work. If you tell yourself 5:00pm and know in reality that will end up 5:45pm, you will quickly become an evening student with gray hair.
- Figure out a good commute to avoid rush hour traffic. For me, I commute from the Westside. Leaving work at 4:30 and knowing which surface streets to take greatly improves the quality of my life.
- Make time for yourself! Between work, commuting, and class, you may not think you can. But whether it's exercise class, fantasy football, or weekly time with your significant other, time for yourself will keep you sane. Insanity is frowned upon in law school.
- Learn how to be efficient. For example, I download audio of cases (available through the library's website) and listen to it on my drive to school. That's three less hours of homework for the weekend.
- Do what works for you. 1E's (First Year Evening Students) work part time, full time, or not at all. Those with children work overtime.
All in all, while going to night school and working is a difficult journey that requires dedication and discipline, it is also an incredibly rewarding program enriched by diverse students from all walks of life. And yes, I still have plenty of time to redeem my Groupons.