It’s a well-known fact that law school is expensive. Between the high cost of tuition and the ridiculously high cost of each thousand-page case book, it’s pretty tough to cover those required expenses and also cover the basic necessities that you need for your daily life. During your first year, it was probably worth it to take on a bigger loan so you could dedicate all your time to your course preparation. But now that you’re becoming a pro at this whole law school thing, you’re probably wondering, “should I cut back on loans and take on a part-time job instead?” Well, my answer to this is, it depends. Although law school is expensive, a part-time job isn’t for everyone. Yes, you may feel like you’re managing your time well now, but you should really consider if throwing a job into this equation will throw off the schedule that has aided in your success. However, maybe you do better when you have a busy schedule.
It’s common knowledge that some people work best when under pressure. In short, I guess I’m trying to say that getting a part-time job should be based on your personality and lifestyle. But what does that even mean? Answer these three questions. It should make your decision a lot easier:
1. Do You Have Great Organization Skills?
Taking on a part-time job and still acing your law school courses will demand that you have great organizational skills. Remember that now you will be juggling your course reading and possibly an extracurricular or even an externship. Adding a part-time job to this will require you to have almost perfect organization. In my case, it was a no brainer for me to take on a part-time job. With that said, let me add the caveat that I’m almost obsessed with organization and time management. As a result, I juggled two part-time jobs along with moot court and my law school coursework. Neither of my part-time jobs were too time consuming or stressful though, so they never required me to put my courses on the back burner. So, as you make this decision, consider if you’re the type of person who can do several activities while still making time for the most important thing, your classes.
2. Do You Handle Stress Well?
It’s no secret that law school is stressful. If you add a part-time job to the stress you’re already experiencing, this could affect your performance. Before making this major decision, take a moment to consider how you’ve handled stressful situations in the past. Are you the type of person who suffers an anxiety/panic attack when situations become tough? If so, then a part-time job may not be in your best interest. However, if you tend to conquer a stressful situation without losing much sleep at night, then a part-time job may be for you.
3. Have You Ever Had a Job While in School?
While attending undergrad, were you the overachiever that had an internship and a part-time job in the campus bookstore all while acing your courses? If so, then a part-time job may be for you. Although your law school experience may be way more stressful than undergrad, this doesn’t mean that a part-time job wouldn’t work in law school. If you were able to successfully manage a part-time job and your courses, this shows that you possess very strong organization and time management skills. These traits would certainly serve you well as you juggle a job at the gym and your Business Law course.
As you consider taking on a part-time job, another thing to keep in mind is that this job does not need to be very demanding. In fact, I highly recommend doing something that isn’t time consuming. Frankly, any job that won’t require you to think too much may be best because you already have enough on your plate to think about. An on-campus job in your library, for example, would be a great gig. The best part is you could for sure sneak in some studying while running the library front desk. Perhaps you could take up a position with one of the bar prep vendors. You may not be compensated by the hour but you may be compensated with a free bar prep course (this could save you thousands of dollars).
So if your responses were all positive to the questions above, then it may be time to dust off those resumes. I heard the local Trader Joes may be hiring.
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