Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Spouse of a 1L

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a week since I've written. I apologize. The past few days have actually been really busy and fun-filled so I just haven't had a chance to sit down at the computer long enough to tell you all about it until now.

Zack's Law School orientation began last week. It lasted THREE WHOLE DAYS! I have no idea what in the world they did to fill up that much time, but I should say that at this point he and his fellow classmates have got to be some of the most oriented people out there. The culminating event (at least for Zack) was the 'Couple's Session' which took place Friday afternoon and which I got to attend with him. Essentially we spent an hour and a half listening to a panel of current students who are also either married or in a committed relationship, describe for us what to expect during this first year. They talked about the time commitment our partner will have to make to succeed. They talked about the workload and the stress they will endure for the next three years. They talked about handling household chores, how much free time to expect, and how to handle being kinda poor and massively in debt.

While I am very glad I went with Zack, I can't say that I found this particular info session to be especially informative. It was good, but it was also a lot of stuff I had already heard. And a good deal of what was discussed were issues that, if a couple hasn't figured them out by now, I think they might have bigger problems to deal with than just surviving the first year of law school. Who should handle which chores, for example. The panel spent probably half an hour talking about how to come up with a system for handling household chores. Maybe I just got lucky and married a guy who is really great about doing stuff around the house, but this just doesn't seem like a real big deal to me. The dishes are dirty? Well then, whoever has time to do it washes them. Ditto laundry and house cleaning. The wife of one of the law students on the panel told us about how she pretty much does all the chores and cleans up after her husband like he's a four-year-old. Now, I respect that law students are insanely busy and have a ton of work to do each day and a lot on their mind, but I find it almost impossible to believe that this guy is just so cramped for time that he doesn't have a spare five minutes anywhere in his schedule to pick his own clothes up off the floor and put them in the dirty clothes hamper. Needless to say, I don't intend to play that role in our little household!

What I did find interesting were the mixed accounts we got about just how much time law students really have to put into their first year. Some of the panelists told us that they treat law school like a job; they may still study at home in the evenings, but they go to class at nine in the morning and never stay at school past five in the evening. Others though, claim that there's just no way anyone could possibly manage to succeed without studying around the clock each day. Some painted a picture of gloom and doom and told us in no uncertain terms that we could expect to go weeks at a time without really seeing our spouse. Others told us they had successfully taken a number of mini vacations together at different points throughout the semester. So...I dunno. I'm sure like everything else, it really all boils down to how efficient one manages to be with their time, and how easily they are able to catch onto and learn the material. Good thing Zack is so smart and such a hard worker! We made a decision though, back when we were looking at apartments, to find a place with a spare bedroom that he could use as an office so that he can study here at home as much as possible. HOPEFULLY in doing that he'll at least be home some. I guess I can always slip him notes and cookies under the door when he holes up in his study for days on end.

Maybe the strangest thing we heard during our info session came from the Dean of Admissions there at Tulane Law. She claims that the next year or so is the ideal time to start a family.

Yeah, think about that one for a minute.

When she said that I seriously almost burst out laughing. Is she serious?!? Obviously, I've never had kids so I can only base this on what I believe to be true, but it seems like having a baby adds a whole new element of stress to a couple's life that I wouldn't think you'd want to have to deal with if you were trying to also get through the first grueling year of law school. Call me crazy, but I don't feel like 3:00 a.m. diaper changes and going days or weeks at a time on only a couple hours of sleep would be at all conducive to doing well at school. I find it hilarious that the Dean seemed to think otherwise.

So, all in all, even though the information was by no means ground breaking in its content, I'm glad we went. In the past couple weeks I've gotten the chance to meet the wives/girlfriends of some of Zack's classmates and so far, they all seem like really sweet girls...which excites me because I feel like I'm definitely going to need some new friends for the next few years to do things with while Zack is busy selling his soul to the Tulane College of Law.

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