I am a 3L at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law with a background in anthropology and a habit of participant observation, even when I am the participant being observed. And because I’m a geriatric law student (about 10 years older than my peers), I’m bit removed from the thick of the action, so I have time to ruminate about the day’s events: I leave the law school in the late afternoon to begin my second job — raising an infant and preschooler.
My third job is crammed into whatever time is leftover: I’m a research assistant for a few professors, and I’m working on publishing a few pieces. Each job lends perspective to the other job, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned over the last few years about packing 32 hours into 24.
Additionally, I’ve observed a lot of behaviors that serve students well, and behaviors only slightly better than stamping “unemployable” on the forehead. And personally, while I’ve achieved great things juggling school, family and work, I’ve also made dreadful, embarrassing mistakes.
If I had to boil down this blog to one piece of advice, it is this borrowed and paraphrased saying from former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry (because I’m sure any reader appreciates watered-down advice that is belatedly apropos of the Super Bowl): choose the best player available. Except, of course, we are not choosing players. We are choosing the best thing to do in the next hour. People for whom time is the most precious resource have no time for anything but the best.
For example, always pick the best of what law school has to offer: networking with alumni, career advice from a trusted professor, interning under bright attorneys. Always pick the best of what your family has to offer: a hike in a park, baking, or reading a book together. An evening at the local dive bar with your classmates? Not the best. You’ll see them in nine hours, anyways, and you’ll have 500 opportunities to have lunch together at the law school when you can reinforce your friendship. Scrolling through your phone while your kids watch Paw Patrol? Not the best. The family doesn’t enjoy each other’s company or grow closer.
I plan to share some tips and tricks for parsing what is best, which hopefully will be applicable to your life and also to provide abundant opportunities for you to laugh at the mistakes my peers and I made along the way.