As a part-time law school student with a 40-hour per week job and family, it is really distressing to hear the full-time, no-job, no-family folks talk about how hard their lives are (whine) and how much they have accomplished (brag). Really?
Let’s try this for example: I get up every morning at 6:30am. I get ready for work, make sure the dog is corralled for the day, make sure the kids are getting ready to go (one drives the other now, thankfully), kiss my husband goodbye at the door as we both drive to work in separate cars, set the alarm, lock the doors, and make sure that the garage door closes so that my house (and Deena the dirtbike) are secure. Then, I drive through traffic to get to my job, starting at 7:30, where I stay until 4:30 or 5:00, depending on how many meetings I have and how long my lunch break is that day. Then, I drive to school, 4 nights a week, where I stay until 9pm three of the four and 7pm the fourth. Then, I drive home, arriving around 9:15pm most nights, where I greet the family and the dog, look at the mail, work out if I can, take a shower, and then read before hitting the sack around 10:30 or 11pm. Then, the next day, I get up and do it all over again.
So, during my “free” time, I read the assignments that I have for the week, sometimes numbering 200+ pages, carefully highlighting every single necessary sentence, do a defrag/malwarebytes/mcafee scan on my computer once a week as necessary, and follow up on in-class discussions that might come up again at the next class. On top of all of this, I take time every other weekend when we both get paid to pay bills, balance our checkbook, and read any outstanding mail that I’ve put in my “bills” folder on which to follow up. Then, there is cleaning the house, doing laundry, working in the yard, buying groceries for a family of 4 (2 teenagers – ugh), gassing up my car, getting a haircut, reading personal and work emails while I’m at home, and somehow squeezing in one night a week “date night” that is totally off-limits to all of this, not to mention the shopping trips with two teenaged daughters, gift buying for the holidays and birthdays, and running the 14-year-old to and fro friends’ houses.
I took 12 hours last semester. I am taking 10 this term, but that still means 4 classes. I am not a 6 or 8-hour student. If this was undergrad, I’d be considered full-time.
So, when full-timers whine, I want to give them all of my other duties for a week. Even one day would be good. I will leave out of this group those full-timers who are over the age of 30 who have families and of course those full-timers who don’t whine. They are just as stressed as I am.
I’d also appreciate a little less brag. I know getting a fantastic clerkship is the bomb, and I’m happy for them. I’m not happy for them, however, when they feel that they are better than the rest of us slobs who have 40+ hour jobs with great responsibilities of staff or projects, for instance building $120M buildings or writing computer programs that go cross-country for large companies.
For the whiners and braggers, however, I would like to offer this advice:
“When you have successfully purchased your own home, using your own money, paid your bills on-time for 10 or more years, raised three children, cooked real meals (not take out, frozen pizza or sandwiches), maintained an excellent credit score, saved more than $20k for retirement, held a job for more than 10 years, even if it was not the same job, and you make more than $35K a year, come back and talk to me about how mature you are and how you’ve done so much with your life. Frankly, until then, I just don’t believe you.”