Working 5 to 9: A day in the life of a 2L with 2 kids

Amanda Angell, KU Law 2L

5:15 a.m.: Unfortunately, this is when I get up. Mondays mean Torts II at 8 a.m. I also share one bathroom with my husband and two boys, so if I want a shower that isn’t interrupted by little people accidentally flushing the toilet, I must get up first. My husband pours the cereal and milk so I can finish getting ready. I chug a cup of coffee while directing the gathering of backpacks and water bottles.

6:56 a.m.: I realize that I’m eligible to register for spring classes at 7 a.m. I hurriedly grab my laptop and place my courses in my shopping cart on Enroll & Pay so I can register as soon as 7 o’clock hits.

7 a.m.: Button clicked, and I’m registered for every course I wanted. Awesome.

7:30ish: I’m out the door with my 5-year-old, while my husband drops off our second-grader and heads to his teaching job.

7:45 a.m.: I arrive at KU and drop off my 5-year-old at Hilltop Child Development Center. Hilltop is amazing! Having great child care has been the key in making school/family/work fall into place. Another Hilltop plus: They have an in-house kitchen headed up by a former Free State cook; so my little boy is eating well, and I don’t have to pack another lunch. I give my 5-year-old a hug and a fist bump and am on my way.

8 a.m.: I park at the Burge and head to Green Hall. On a good day, I have time to grab a cup of coffee from the Burge Union before heading in. On a bad day, I’m stuck with the coffee machine in Green Hall. Nothing is more delicious than auto-dispensed coffee with ‘lightener.’ But hey, it’s caffeinated.

8:10 a.m.: Torts II with Professor Westerbeke (“the Beke”). Professor Westerbeke is an institution here at KU Law, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to take two of his courses. We turned in a memo today, so tomorrow he is going to bring us donuts from Muncher’s. The Beke really is the best.

9:15 a.m.: Professional Responsibility with Professor Gottlieb. PR is a required course at KU Law, and it helps prepare students to take the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). I’ll be sitting for the MPRE in August. Professor Gottlieb gives fair warning as to when students will be “up” for answering questions, which takes off some of the pressure that can crop up in large lecture classes. Class ends 10 minutes early — enough time to run upstairs, check my work email, drop off my books and grab my Tax materials. (Monday morning’s four textbooks, plus a binder full of notes and my laptop tote is a bit much.)

10:20 a.m.: Federal Income Tax with Dean Mazza. I never planned on taking Fed Tax, but after getting scolded by my advisor, I reluctantly enrolled. My fear stemming from my lack of mathematical ability was unfounded. The math has been completely tolerable, and I actually enjoy working through statutory-based law. It also doesn’t hurt that Dean Mazza is a master teacher. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I registered for Taxation of Business Enterprises in the spring. Seriously, tax is great and everyone should take it.

11:15 a.m.: I head up to my study carrel. My schedule is great in that most of my classes are finished by lunch, giving me the afternoons for studying, work, meetings, etc. Tax, Torts II, PR and Health Law and Policy, plus guest speakers are all on the schedule for this afternoon.

12:30 p.m.: “Best Civil Practices” panel. I head downstairs for a panel put on by the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy. KU Law and student organizations bring in fantastic speakers every week during the lunch hour, and there is almost always free food. Today’s speakers include two federal magistrate judges who give a presentation about their role in the federal courts and the best practices attorneys should use when appearing in federal court. I end up getting put on the spot when I nod my head in response to a question posed by one of the judges. I fumble my way through an answer and survive, and spend the rest of the panel being extremely aware of my body language.

1:20 p.m.: Back to studying. I do my best not to take work home with me, which means I’m good friends with my study carrel in the law library. It is so important to find a place where you feel comfortable and productive. I get through Tax and Torts II and mentally high-five myself when I realize I finished my PR reading the day before. I crack open Health Law and get to work.

3:20 p.m.: Off to a meeting at my second-grader’s school. After the meeting, the principal gives us a private tour of the building, explaining its history and pointing out where all of the new renovations will take place. I’m excited that our amazing neighborhood school will be getting a major update; the building will finally match the quality of the teaching that goes on inside!

5:10 p.m.: I pick up my oldest son from his after-school program and head home. I get home and rummage through the fridge for a quick dinner — leftover tortilla soup, yum! I realize that we are out of clean bowls and warm it up in a measuring cup. Yeah, I eat it from the measuring cup, too. Don’t judge — our 1930’s bungalow has yet to see the wonderment of a dishwasher. My husband arrives home with our youngest and tells me he will make dinner and wash the dishes (oh, the sweetest of words). I have an evening class on Mondays, so after a round of hugs and “Tell me about your day” with the boys, I’m off.

6 p.m.: Arrive at Health Care Access Clinic. Tonight, my Health Law and Policy class is being held at the Health Care Access Clinic. The director of the clinic gives us a tour and an in-depth look at the practices and policies of the clinic, as well as how these fit into its mission — to serve those without insurance or a medical home. I clerk for Forbes Law Group LLC, a firm that represents health care providers and organizations. I spent my summer immersed in HIPAA, Medicare, Stark and Anti-kickback, ACA, etc., so to be able to take a class that addresses these same areas has been very affirming. Now that I’ve gotten a small amount of experience under my belt, I’m able to see the practical connection between my coursework and practicing.

7:54 p.m.: Class is finished. Now is the time I remember that we are out of milk and fruit for lunches. I decide to just go to The Merc and suck up the price difference … and $65 later I’m heading out with ONE BAG of groceries. Ugh, oh well.

8:45 p.m.: I’m finally home for the night! My husband washed the dishes as promised! The boys set out their clothes for the next day! I put away the groceries and tidy up the kitchen. I’m beat. There will be no more studying or working tonight.

9:20: My husband cues up “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix. I check the alarm on my phone to make sure it is set for 5:15 and officially check out for the evening.

— Amanda Angell is a 2L, KU Law Student Ambassador, law clerk and mother of two.