Help me help my girlfriend through law school...

Soo… the background is:
My GF is from San Diego originally and took a year off after college to come to Ireland where we met and fell in love.
After 15 months she had to leave to start lawschool in NYC.
I’m still in ireland. :frowning:

The long-term plan is that I’ll be trying to get a visa to join her, but in the meantime we’re trying to support each other through this. It’s harder for her than me because not only is she away from home and friends, she’s having to put in endless hours of work just to keep up with her studies.
She gets very down sometimes despite my best efforts to keep her spirits up. She can be very hard on herself and often her moodswings are pretty wild.
I love her to bits and just want to do what I can to help, but it’s frustrating being 3000 miles away from giving her a hug. I won’t see her again until christmas.

I’m not sure what I’m looking for with this thread…encouragement? advice? similar stories?
Whatever you can give me, dopers, I’d be grateful.

Encouragement - “I’m sure it will all work out O.K.”

Advice - “Wait an hour after eating to go swimmming.”

Stories - “Once upon a time…”

Well, now that the smartass comments are out of the way, I’ll offer a bit of each. I met my wife while we were both in law school. After we graduated (before we were married) we did the long-distance relationship thing for about 18 months. It was only about 4 hours apart (not quite the Atlantic ocean) so we were able to see each other every other weekend, which really helped. Unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury.

Law school is extremely stressful for most students. The demands on their time, the amount of homework, and the stress of finding jobs all make it a very difficult time to be an SO of a law student. And to be totally honest (that’s what you want right?) some relationships don’t make it. Many do though. My wife and I were lucky enough to suffer through law school together, so it may be even tougher on you to remain patient and supportive when she calls you at 3:00 a.m. crying wildly because she doesn’t understand the Rule against Perpetuities.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it will be tough, but definitely do-able. Just be patient, remain loving, and try to see her as much as possible.

Good Luck!

There are lots of lawyers out there who are assholes and not too terribly bright. If they were able to get through law school, so can I.
I think of this every night when I drag my tired ass into Civil Procedure. I often think of just saying “screw this” and dropping out but I have to believe that eventually this hard work will pay off.

My SO and I were in a long distnce relationship while I was in grad school. He’s one of the main reasons that I graduated with my sanity intact. He became very familiar with the mood swings and exhaustion that you and Hamlet mentioned. And he was a prince throughout the whole thing.

Listen to her; be patient with her; and let her know that you think she’s doing something meaningful and worthwhile. Be silly with her, too. It was so great sometimes to just have conversations that weren’t about school. Send her care packages and letters, and let her know you miss her.

And remember that being a grad student isn’t a permanent condition. “This too shall pass…”

Good luck!

Being the SO of a law school student is very, very difficult, due to the time demands, the stress, etc. The girl I was dating dumped me because I didn’t have enough time for her or pay enough attention to her while studying for the Bar Exam. The [i/]Bar Exam*, fer chrissakes. She just didn’t understand the time constraints and the pressure. Even when supportive, it’s often very hard for someone on the outside to understand. I think even people who have done it before tend to forget.

A great many relationships don’t survive law school for exactly this reason; the first year is particularly hard. The upside is that if you are able to provide strong support for your SO despite all she (and you) are going through, it will be a great comfort to her, very much appreciated, and make your relationship that much stronger. Good luck to you both.

It is important to note (as Hamlet and pravnik noted) that law school can destroy relationships. That sounds like a downer, but it’s something you need to know and, once you’re aware of it, you can deal with it. First of all, your girlfriend is probably nicer, more emotionally stable, more physically fit, and more willing to make time for you than you’d think she is just by observing her for the next three years. Remember that you’re never seeing her at her best. OTOH, she will change dramatically in these years (she’ll get more serious, she’ll become politically more moderate, and she’ll begin drinking much more heavily). It might be that you won’t be as compatible with the person on the other side of the process, and that’s OK too.

Cliffy, Esq.

P.S. Of course, if she really gets whiny, tell her that there are thousands of folks who did everything she’s doing while working a full time job. Day students – what wimps! :wink:

Amen Cliffy!!!
-tramp, who is a lobbyist by day and exhausted night student by night

Would stress management counselling help her? Law school does not have to be that big a deal.

Remind her about working 100+ hours a week at Big Law LLP or spending the rest of her life working off law school loans at the public defenders office.