Sunday, March 19, 2023

Advice from a Part-time Student

As a parent, I usually know what is best for my kids.  That isn't always what they think is best, and that is when conflict arises.  However, sometimes they find a way to get to the right conclusion without my guidance.  I just have to get out of the way, which is not my strongest quality. 

Many of our students are the same way.  With space and information, they can find a way to the right conclusion, even if it requires help from their peers.  I was incredibly proud of one of my part-time students a couple weeks ago.  A student asked me in class about potential job offers and what to do if they required working during the summer.  I give my standard answer about working the least amount possible and exhaustion, but students legitimately worry about a job as much as bar prep.  That is when one of my part-time students spoke up.  She said the hardest part for her during law school wasn't the actual number of hours each week.  Finding those hours is hard, but she could find hours in the day.  She emphasized the hardest part was the mental exhaustion from getting everything done.  She worked hard and did the vast majority of the work during her time, but she reiterated that the mental load was enormous.  The load was so large, that she found a way to not work during the summer after working full-time for four years of law school.  The impact she had on the entire class was obvious.  I just had to sit back and let the discussion happen.  That may have been the most productive fifteen minutes of the entire class period because I let the students lead.

I won't always let the students provide advice because sometimes it isn't ideal.  However, many students can find their way to the right answer with only slight direction and hearing from peers.  Teaming up with a good group of third-year students to pass along a message could make a big impact in bar prep programs.

(Steven Foster)

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