Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Survive the First Year of Law School: The Spouse's Edition

1. Be social. 
This is my number one tip to the significant other of someone starting law school.  1. It helps with any kind of jealousy you may have over your loved one getting close (which they will) will all sorts of new people.  I'm no psycho, but of course I feel a little left out when Handsome Husband starts talking about all these people I don't know.  Which is why it's perfect if you start being social - then you do know them.  And better yet?  They know you.  And 2. No one wants to be the clingy wife constantly following her husband around.  I don't have to hang all over my husband at social law school functions.  Why?  Because now I have my own damn friends there!  Just because I'm not getting a JD doesn't mean I don't have anything in common with the future lawyers of America!  I was happily surprised to meet some very down to earth and super fun people through this experience.  I hope these new friends of ours last a lifetime!
Being social at Law Prom aka Barrister's Ball in February
2. Get a hobby. 
Law school takes up a shocking amount of time.  On top of classes, reading, and studying; you've got social events, meetings with professors, and networking.  Your spouse will be busy.  Sure, you can attend lots of the social events, but you're always the +1.  If you don't have something that is yours, that you are truly invested in, now's the time to find it.  I am invested in my career, and also threw myself into decorating and getting our new home ready throughout this school year.  Now?  I read a lot about babies, too!
3. Be helpful. 
I am by no means a Stepford Wife, but there are times during law school where I need to step my game up to help out Handsome Hubs.  I try to do the majority of the cooking throughout the year, but come finals?  That increases to cooking, cleaning and laundry because finals studying is seriously no joke.  I've never seen anything quite like it, and if I hadn't been here to experience it myself, I'd never belive how much time really goes into studying for these exams.
4. Be interested.
This might be my downfall, because if I'm being honest?  Civil Procedures and Torts bore me to death.  It's hard for me to stay interested in these topics, but the fact is, when your law student gets home from school, all they want to do is talk about school.  There have certainly been times where I've had to sigh and tell HH enough about law school, but do your best to listen, to take it in, and to be interested in what is engrossing so much of your loved one's time and thoughts.
5. Stay confident in your relationship.
It may come as a shock to you, but there are lots of breakups, and even divorces, that happen throughout law school.  I have to attribute this to the great stress that the schooling puts on the student, combined with changes in social life that might be affecting these relationships.  The statistics are there, and stress doesn't do any relationship good.  If you go in expecting it, and knowing your marriage can come through the other side not only in tact, but stronger, it will only fuel you to make that happen.  I can say, without a doubt in my mind, there has not been one moment throughout the first year of law school where I thought my marriage was in jeapordy in the slightest.  But if there was?  I'd fight for it, because I made vows for better or for worse, and if some law school stress is the worst we get - then I'll consider us very lucky.
6. Encourage your partner.
I consider myself a master of the pep talk, and I think my HH would vouch for me.  Sometimes, your partner will just feel stressed and overwhelmed and like there is no way he or she will make it out of this with anything to show for themselves.  And that's where you need to come in, and remind them how wonderful they are, how much hard work they've put in, and how far they are going to go.  Law school can break you down a bit, and it's your job to build your husband back up.
7. Go on dates.
Law school is a total time suck, but don't let that take away all of the romance from your relationship.  Go on dates, and talk about anything, even if it's mostly about school.  Take your husband somewhere fun, and make him court you sometimes too.  Don't forget that before being a law student, he was just a man in love with a woman, and after law school he'll be that too.  Relationships (all relationships, not just romantic ones) require nurturing, don't forget to water your garden!
7. Remember, this is only a very very short period of your life.
In the grand scheme of things, law school accounts for hardly any of your life.  A whopping three (or four, for part-timers!) years is nothing compared to the 50+ years you'll be married!  Even when it's the worst, when your partner gets a worse grade than anticipated, or you feel like you haven't seen your husband in weeks because well, you sort of haven't, remind yourself - this is not forever.  Yes, the life of a lawyer's wife has got to be trying at times, but this knock-down drag-out world of grades, competitiveness, drama, law review, externships and craziness is only temporary.


Hilary said...

I can totally relate! My hubby is in Paramedic school right now, and thank goodness it's only a one year program! I have become the 100% house-care-taker, which, I'll be honest, is quite hard in the first trimester, which I'm sure you can relate to! Will your hubby still be in school when the baby comes? Mine will have about 2.5 months left (plus boards), so it's going to be an interesting time in our lives!

Ashley said...

I am so glad you posted this. I just recently found your husband is going to law school this year (orientation is next week) Ahh!!

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