Today I met a single parent struggling through that first semester of law school. Watching the agony of wanting to get good grades and wanting to be a good parent to a small child brought up a lot of feelings in me, reminding me of my first year. I spent some time talking with this student because I could see that the proverbial wall of information overload had been hit.
So some reminders:
1. Study smart, not hard. There really is no reason to read the minuta of a case. Look at what the case pertains to. So if it is first degree murder on appeal.... there you are. Look at the elements of first degree murder. Now go find what it is in the that case that is being argued that violates/does not establish an element to the case.
For example: First degree murder is the premeditated killing of another human being with malice aforethought.
You can break that down to:
1. A human died
3. Malice aforethought.
If something is on appeal, it deals with one of those prongs. You can now look at the facts of the case and the holding to find what that is. And zero in on the courts reasoning.
Some students miss that crucial point. They forget to find the elements that is being appealed and they get lost in the arguments being made.
2. Find some distraction for your kids. Enrolling him/her in dance or soccer... anything that buys you a few hours of time. Something fun for the child to do, while you get an hour to yourself to study.
3. Find a teenager with a babysitting bag... seriously. My daughter is 14 and she has a bag of goodies. She also teaches the little girls whom she might babysit dance and cheer moves. She gives them one on one attention outside of a babysitting atmosphere -- the upside is your kid gets somethign fun to do -- and you get study time.
4. Let go. You are not going to be the 4.0 student you were before you had a child. And contrary to what you believe, you will not be superparent either..... meaning the dishes and house are going to go to pots. You might earn a 3.2 instead. You are not going to be able to stay up until 4:30 on study sessions.... can't do it. It's not realistic. And you know what? It's okay. It's okay to let some of these things go. Your priority is to your kid(s), then school.... but to yourself to. Which leads me to #5.
5. Take some me time. Seriously. You need to be YOU outside of super student and child. Find a way to unwind. Let's face it, if you are in law school, you are likely wound tighter than a mama bear who is protecting her cub. Take a walk (regularly). Pick up that guitar that has gathered dust. Have a regular tv program that does not require you to think. Actually, the best thing is something physical to get those stresses out.... but the point is this: get out of the house and for goodness sake, get out of your OWN HEAD.