Law School Survival Guide

So I know this is a little late and we have made it though grad school,
but I have received several emails about Law School / { grad school in general } so why not put together a little survival guide.

There IS a way to get to THIS point....

without pulling all your hair out.
Trust me. You can do it.

So, I put together a few ways to keep your sanity and survive the grad school life.
Regardless of your situation, grad school, whether it be for yourself or your significant other is tough.

First, Grad School is NOT one sided.
It's a team effort between you and your spouse.
Go into the process knowing that it's going to be a HUGE blessing in the end.
You will survive if, and only IF, you work together as a team.

In our "team" I was the "supporter".
Trust me, it was hard at times, and I think I stressed almost as much as my husband ;)

My husband also worked throughout Law School which demanded even more of his time.  So I found ways to stay supportive and keep busy.

#1. Set a general “DONE” time with your spouse ( or significant other )

Aaron set a goal when he started Law School that he would be done studying each night by 9 or 9:30 PM at the latest.

This is hard given some weeks are more stressful than others.
Finals never counted for this goal.  Sometimes, the books came into bed with us and that “goal” wasn’t followed but he REALLY tried to stick with it, and it made such a difference.

Our Schedule went a little like this.
( There were a few semesters that he had late night class and those were brutal, but this was the general schedule for 3 years )

7:15 AM Aaron left for school/ work.
6- 6:30 PM got home.
Short Dinner
6:45 Aaron started studying.
9:30 PM “US time” no books
11 -11:30 PM Bedtime

Let’s be real here....
I had MAYBE 1.5 - 2 hours a day ( IF that ) with him that were book free “US” time.

I LIVED for that “us” time.
Gosh I really looked forward to it every day.

It was a time to talk about our day, make each other laugh, relieve stress ( on his end ) and to just spend time together.

 So what did I do during the night when he studied??

This brings me to my next point...


We had one full year of law school before this little guy came into the picture.

Once you have a baby, it’s a little easier to fill your night time because they require so much attention. :)
However during that first year without a baby, I had to find things to keep me busy at night so I wouldn’t go crazy!

I obviously love blogging so I would blog,.
I’m a slight nerd and LOVE to scrapbook pictures the old fashion way.
I have books and books of Aaron and I’s adventures while dating and newly married.

Anyways, find something YOU like to do.  Whether it’s sewing, drawing, baking, or reading find something to keep yourself busy each night.

It helps pass the time and keeps your frustration ( of them having to study ) level down.


Huge. And totally self explanatory.
Pick one night of the week.

Friday night was date night.
Aaron was DONE at 6 PM, NO questions asked and he took me out on a date.
( the only exception to this was finals )

After Ryan came, well Ryan either went to grandmas house or came with us on a date.


Go do something fun. Rent a movie, get dinner. HAVE FUN.
I say get out of the house because I found with Law School we were kept inside for most other nights of the week.

It was therapeutic for both of us to get out and do something.

#4. 3 Things that got us through Finals week ( s )

Gosh, I have no doubt that in every grad program, Finals are rough.
Law School finals were always 2 weeks long.
WORST 4 weeks of the year HA and the month leading up to those 4 weeks. AH.

#1. Dance parties.
My husband is hilarious. After a few hours of studying, when he would finally get frustrated with flash cards, he would throw his books down and jump up and say he needed to dance.
Sure enough, music was put on and we jumped around the room singing for a good 5 minutes.

Wishing “Shake it Off” by T Swift was around back then when we needed it. That’s a good shake it out tune.

Find something to break up the mood and kill the stress.

#2. Help them study
OR in my case, attempting to help him study.

I did my best to offer my skill of helping him study for his tests.
HA 50% time I couldn’t pronounce the word and 99.9% of the time I had no idea what he was talking about but I rolled with it.
But there was certain things he remembered on his test because of me and my ridiculous way of helping him remember the term, so that made me feel cool.

#3. Paper chain or countdown.
Make it a huge deal.
We always had a fun weekend planned after finals were finished.
Gives you something to look forward to.

So when I was planning to write this post I asked Aaron if he had anything he wanted to add.
He said make sure you talk about the "notes."
So here we go.

So I packed Aaron’s lunch for the next day every night,
I know…. total elementary school cuteness.
And I got creative with notes and stupid stick figure drawings of Ryan and I that I would stick in certain parts of his lunch.
He is probably just telling me this to make me feel good ;) but he said it was the favorite part of his day.
I tried to make it semi exciting :)

#5. Patience and Attitude

Patience is everything.
Patience when it's 11 PM and you haven't seen your husband all day, but books are brought into bed to study.
Patience when you feel like a single parent for a couple days HA.
Patience patience.
It will all be over soon.
And it all will be worth it.

The person going to grad school, whether it's you or your spouse,
has enough on their plate.
They don't need to come home to a grouch.
Home is their escape from stress, make it a good escape.
That's what I used to tell myself at least HA.

#6. ENJOY IT ( in a really weird sort of way )

I know that's easier said than done.
There were times during this period in our lives that I thought to myself,
how could this ever be enjoyable!?
School just needs to be OVER! ( Insert tears )

However, looking back, there is something special about being broke and being students and somehow making it all work together.
It's priceless.
Make it fun even when "fun" seems impossible.

That all said, I'm pretty happy it's over :)
and you will be too.
It's worth every penny, stress and tear!

This is Alycia she's such a sweetheart and she's adorable.

Social media is pretty amazing.
I met Alycia early on and our husbands were on the same track with Law School and graduated at the exact same time.
It totally helps to have someone in your same shoes to talk to every now and again!
Check out her darling blog and what she has to say about surviving the process!

Happy Tuesday All!

Karina Marie Powell


  1. I seriously look up to you guys so much! It seemed like you all handled the stress nooooo problem! Obviously I know a little more about the "behind the scenes" thanks to Trevor and Alycia, but you always had a smile on your face and made it seem easy! I hope I can handle our trials/struggles/tests with that much grace! Of course, it totally IS worth it in the end!!

  2. Oh wow! I went to law school before having a baby and worked part time and had a husband who worked a very demanding full time job… it was tough! It was definitely hard on my husband as well but it is all a balancing act!

  3. Hey super mom!! and super wife ;) while we have never been through law school, living the military life or more specifically my husband's just is very much like this. We leave notes in his lunch too and in his planning guides, I'm sure its a sweet pick me up!! Congrats to you and your GORG family!!

  4. Right now it's so hard for me and my husband because we are BOTH in grad school getting our PhDs. But date night is still crucial, you're right!

  5. I read Alycia's blog and had to read yours too. My husband is now in his second year and I am at the "can school just be over already?" stage ha! We have an almost 2 year old and we're pregnant with our second, so I'm kind of feeling a little overwhelmed with it all. I do love to hear of success stories after graduation, because it's a little scary getting into all this debt without a sure thing waiting at the end! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you so much for writing this post! My husband is in his first term of medical school, and since we live on a tiny tropical island with no kids, med school is literally our entire life right now. I love your tips for surviving finals weeks and keeping a positive attitude. It's always nice to read about someone who is on the other side of grad school and can look back on it happily. You give me hope!

  7. You two obviously have a marriage to emulate and be proud of. You nailed everything on the head about surviving grad school. (We had the same hobby: scrapbooking! I was also beginning my journey with photography.) It's funny how much I feel we have in common, I'm just two years ahead. We had Jed during finals week our first year. Aye! Grad school was really rough! There were nights there were tears all around. But you're right. Three years later, we are sooo grateful for that opportunity, for the growth and adventures we were able to experience. And the stable well paying job? Just icing on the cake. Totally worth it!

  8. love this! so well said :)
    i'm glad we survived me getting my master's, but business school looks like it's ahead for chase so i'll have to keep all these things in mind :)


  9. Such great tips my friend - and hats off to you both!! So special to be able to look back and know you went throughout his journey together. You are a very special and patient, loving wife x

  10. lots of insights and positivity! I love this blog :)

  11. We are 1 month away from my husband's MBA grad. So much of what you say rings true for me. We haven't been real consistent with US time or date nights though. Only a few more weeks to get through!

  12. My husband and I both went to law school and had our finals half a year apart. I have another tip: have patience with the student's attitude. He is very stressed and therefore isn't on his best behaviour.