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to start my (law) degree this month when I'm expecting a baby in January?

(27 Posts)
BarbieLovesKen Thu 17-Sep-09 13:34:06

Is it that unrealistic? I know its going to be hard. I'm expecting that but its something I really, really want to do - for quite a while now and have figured there will always be some reason to put it off "til next year"...

Some of you may remember myself and DH have been having alot of problems and with MC this year etc I also thought it would be nice to focus my thoughts/ energy into something like studying instead of over analysing/ thinking things over and over and over.. which is making me feel so so down. Also thought it would be nice to get out two nights a week for a couple of hours when on maternity leave.

I know I work full time and have dd whos nearly 4 and I know how hard it is to have new baby in the house but am I that completely disillusioned? - I thought it would be ok but have had someone put the whole idea down so so much that now I feel like Im crazy for thinking it.

She said things like:
"not going to be possible with new baby in house"

"going to miss too much when giving birth" (I thought maybe two classes but she seems to think Ill need weeks),

"you dont even know how much this will involve, do you?"

"good luck cos your gonna need it",

"you should have gone for something more at your level - I know of this course that blah blah and you only do one exam at a time - might suit you better - more simple"

"your mad.."

I know it doesnt sound that bad but it was so patronising and horrible and I cant help but let it get to me.

I'm actually really upset, I had to do an entrance exam which was fairly intense and college called and told me that mine was excellent and well above average, so I was really chuffed with myself to be honest and its completely taking the good from it and I'm really disheartened about things.

Could you please be really honest? am I being unrealistic about the whole thing? AIBU?

Aussieng Thu 17-Sep-09 13:45:33

Who the hell said this to you? If it was someone at the college you should complain at the lack of suport and frankly sexist (even if it was a woman who said it) attitude.

Honestly - it's going to be REALLY HARD. Part time studying for degrees always is because it is NEVER your primary focus and you have (in a baby) got a big additional distraction and commitment. But look how many classes 18 and 19 year old law students miss with hang-overs etc and have no world experience to offer (and that does help in getting good marks in degrees like law) and still pass their degrees.

Don't be niave, but stay realistic and plan in advance for what you will miss when you have just had the baby. You already have a full time job and a DD - trust your own instincts about what you will need when you have DC#2 and make sure they support you - they will be being paid well enough for that!

You can do it.

LittleMarshmallow Thu 17-Sep-09 13:52:28

I am going to be studying for a part time masters starts next week, and no I don't think you are mad. It will be tough but if you make sure you have support you will be fine.

I found that talking to my uni and telling them about my circumstances has allowed me to get extra support, even just my tutor emailing me to tell me that he believes in me.

I have had similar comments to yours too but it has made me more determined to succeed.

Only you know what you are capable of and if you believe in yourself you will be find

MorrisZapp Thu 17-Sep-09 13:53:51

I'd say that doing any degree whilst working full time, and looking after a newborn and a 4 year old would be insanely hard. How could it not be. If you were my friend, I'd say so.

But I tell my friend she's insane all the time and she laughs and continues with her mad plans.

Only you know your limits. If you truly think you can do it and enjoy it then give it a go, but perhaps your friend (I'm being charitable here) might think that with the difficulties you've already had, this has the potential to be another thing that might become a problem or a disappointment to you if it doesn't work out.

BarbieLovesKen Thu 17-Sep-09 13:55:19

Such a lovely message - thank you Aussieng.

Its actually my Line Manager at work who is renowned for being nasty and underhanded, I should know better than to let her get to me but this time she did, I knew this would be her reaction as I was dreading telling her because she just likes keeping people down. She is not a very nice person.

It did bother me though - and had me doubting the whole thing. Shes good like that.

I'm lucky in the respect that DH works the most fabulous flexible/ part timeish hours to help out (he says) more than his share with housework and with children while I need it plus Im not missing much time with dd as course is two nights a week 7pm - 10pm and she goes to bed at 7.30pm anyway...

Very good point about hangovers etc though, hadnt thought of that and was worrying about how much I'd miss.

generalunrest Thu 17-Sep-09 13:56:47

This is only my opinion, but how much time will there be left for your family? Are you doing the course because you feel as though you'd be wasting your time if you didn't?

I'm only saying this because I started an OU masters degree last year, I'm due in Jan and there was never any doubt in my mind that I would stop doing it before the baby's born. I did this when I was finishing my degree and DD1 was born for two reasons, I wanted to give her my undivided attention, and secondly I didn't want to begrudge giving her that time by studying for something that was just for me IYSWIM?

I think what I'm trying to say is that it's OK to just look after your baby/DD and not feel as though you should be doing something else 'constructive'.

BarbieLovesKen Thu 17-Sep-09 13:59:25

Littlemarshmellow - thank you so much and the very best of luck.

MorrisZapp - shes definately not a friend smile and doesnt know about anything that has happened with DH etc..

I am used to being busy, but then I dont know what its like to have two children - as the change from 0 to 1 knocked me for six so maybe I am being completely unrealistic.

I'm used to being busy at the same time though, we built our house, worked full time, had dd, changed jobs and planned a wedding within 2 years but again, I dont know what its like to have two and dd was a very good baby...

MorrisZapp Thu 17-Sep-09 14:02:46

I think there are two separate issues here then. One is this person's comments, which were rude and unhelpful. Forget her and the comments.

The other issue is whether or not your plan actually is realistic. Does your DH think it's a good idea?

generalunrest Thu 17-Sep-09 14:05:15

Blimey, you have been busy, sounds like you need to have a few relaxation lessons and learn that it's ok to put your feet up grin you're not a failure if you just look after you LO when they're born lol

bloss Thu 17-Sep-09 14:05:39

Message withdrawn

llareggub Thu 17-Sep-09 14:06:45

How is the course structured? I did a distance learning MA in law whilst working full-time and it was tough-going. I found myself to be mentally drained after work and once I'd got home, eaten, wound down etc it was quite late before I hit the books. This was pre-children though, and I suspect having children has made me more organised about fitting things in.

Course structure is key to this. If it part-time then they'll expect students to have other commitments. Same with distance learning.

I did my dissertation in the 6 weeks after the birth and it was hell. I never want to do that again.

Only you know if you can do justice do yourself academically with all of the competing pressures. In your shoes I'd be wondering about deferring a little while until DC2 is born and sleeping reliably. I have 2 under 3 and the youngest is 4 months and all I can manage is a few hours of book-keeping a night, and he is asleep by 8pm. I'd want a lot of help if I was studying too.

cockles Thu 17-Sep-09 14:09:12

Yes, YABU. If I was your tutor I would be shocked, and also not pleased that you had chosen to start such a demanding, and presumably competitive course knowing you were going to give birth in the middle of the first year. To do a law degree, however part-time, at the same time as fulltime work is very hard. Never mind having a newborn as well. It's a waste of a place and your time not to do it justice. Could you talk to your admissions tutor, and consider starting next year instead?

pruneplus2 Thu 17-Sep-09 14:16:30

Wow, what an unsupportive and frankly rude mean line manager you have - I would be straight on to her manager to complain about her crapness, but thats me.

Its not going to be particularly easy to juggle everything, but you know that. You are not mad or unrealistic!

Any tutor worth their salt would make sure you are able to catch up anything thats missed - ask how they can help and support you in your studies once baby is born.

Good luck with everything!

andirobobo Thu 17-Sep-09 14:18:18

Well you will have plenty of study time when your baby is napping in the day and when your eldest is in bed. Better to be using your brain than sitting watching TV.

If you feel you can cope with it then do it. I would guess that the course is modular, so if it all gets too much then you can finish that module and then start again the next year.

ChopsTheDuck Thu 17-Sep-09 14:24:21

I guess only you know if you can do it. If it doesn't work out, will you be able to retake the year?

Is you dp/dh supportive?

Are you planning to bfeed? What would you do about leaving the baby in the evenings?

How much mat leave will you get? Can you afford to put the baby in some childcare while you aren't working in order to get study time?

I'm supposed to be revising for my last exam in my law degree, which I've done over 6 years with the OU. I have 4 children, my dts were born during the course (unplanned as it happens!).

Actually to be honest the year I had the dts wasn't that hard. Small babies sleep a lot and I had plenty of time to work then. It got a lot harder and all went a bit haywire when they started getting mobile and demanded a lot more of my time. I wasn't trying to work in employment on top of that neither.

I couldn't have done it without my dp's support though. He has helped with the kids, done extra hw, egged me on when I feel like throwing it in, understood when I need to study all evening or weekends.

I also feel that juggling it with small children has lead to a poorer result than I would have liked. I'm actualyl starting a literature degree next, now I have the time to devote properly to it.

I do think you are slightly nuts! grin

Pitchounette Thu 17-Sep-09 15:20:32

Message withdrawn

pooexplosions Thu 17-Sep-09 17:28:56

I'm starting 3rd year of my degree this week and am due my third in 3 weeks. I started 1st year when DS2 was 4 weeks old.
I don't have a job though, and the degree is mainly distance with some tutorials, but I am doing in accelerated so it requires about 40 hours per week of study.

Its hard. But its not impossible. Only you know if you can do it or not, and only you and you DH really get a say in whether this a good plan for your family. You are not mad to do it, but neither is there any shame in deciding that its to much.
Do whatever you think is right and ignore anyone elses opinion. If I had a quid for everyone who told me I was crazy for doing it I'd be a rich woman by now!

BarbieLovesKen Fri 18-Sep-09 11:53:59

Hi all,

So sorry I didnt reply sooner - internet is down at home and the only chance I get to log on is during a break in work.

Loads of different opinions! its hard to know what way to go but am really appreciating all the replies.

generalunrest - thank you for advice.

MorrisZapp – yes my DH thinks it’s a very good idea and really encourages me doing it.

Bloss – thanks a million – that’s my main concern – that its going to be much harder than expected, that I'm being unrealistic.

Llareggub – it is part time – Monday and Wednesday nights from 7pm – 10pm and occasional Saturdays – approximately 4 per semester. (well done on dissertation after birth!!)

God Cockles – didn’t think of it as a waste of a place – am a bit shocked at that and feel bad but really appreciate the honesty.

Pruneplus2 – thank you – I assumed that too – that the tutor would surely help out – email me lecture notes etc on what Id missed etc

Andirobobo, This is what I thought – that small babies tend to sleep a lot in the day and I have often thought about the amount of time I’ve (and do!) spent wasting watching tv/ internet grin etc.. – honestly – If I cut out two episodes of come dine with me a night it would be an hours study! grin

Chopstheduck – I am planning to breast feed – haven’t thought that out enough yet though but has been something that’s crossed my mind – wonder could I give baby one bottle twice a week if needed. I would be gone 3.5 hours.

I am going to take almost 10 months maternity leave (because of accrued annual leave etc… I cant afford to take anymore unpaid) finishing up just before Christmas and going back end of September, thankfully I wont need to put baby and dd in childcare (although dd will be going to playschool two evenings a week to socialise as my DH works fabulous hours – generally from 9.45 to 1.30, so would be home by 2pm most days and then has *a lot* of days off with that too. He is very hands on with dd and basic housework and does most of the cooking in our house – I am very, very lucky. My mother also lives next door – and dd and her a extremely close – we’ve built a little walk way between the two houses and dd pops up to “nanas” quite a bit.

Cant believe that you managed to study with new twins – that gives me a bit of hope that I can do it, well done. I know I am slightly nuts!!

Pitchounette - I was worrying about being heavily pregnant and doing the course but the way it falls, the course will be on Christmas holidays so at least wont have to go when very pregnant, I am worried though about newborn baby in house – particulary until we’re in some sort of routine with all the change.

Pooexplosions (love the name btw!) I cant believe that 1. you started your 1st year with a newborn and 2. your starting 3rd year when due in a month, your fantastic, thanks for such a lovely and encouraging post x

Still a bit stumped. As I said this is something I really do want to do - I just wanted to focus my energy into something positive as I think I am driving myself crazy thinking about things..

BarbieLovesKen Fri 18-Sep-09 12:52:16

Anyone else with experiences of this? smile

VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 18-Sep-09 13:04:54

Sorry, but could I just say (as a University lecturer) that it is deeply offensive to suggest as one poster has your tutor might think it a 'waste of a place' to allow a pregnant woman onto a course. 'Your best' is a matter for you and how much you can manage, whatever your personal circumstances, and it is against the Sex Discrimination laws for anyone to presume otherwise.

I would be sacked for expressing such a view at work. And I definitely DON'T think it, and would be horrified to hear any of my Legal colleagues thinking it too.

You will have a tough time because anyone with kids does, but with the right attitude from you and - crucially - the right support around you and from your tutors, you can do whatever the fuck you like!

mumoverseas Fri 18-Sep-09 13:06:19

I'll be honest with you, it will be bloody hard. I decided to study law 16 years ago when DS1 was a baby and it was hard going. At one point I was working pretty much full time and doing day release at college 2 days a week and then later I was part time but with 2 days a college and then some was distance learning, evening classes etc.

I was still studying when DD1 was born 3 years later and carried on with my studyin but I got there and finally qualified as a lawyer but it was a very long hard process. I'm glad I did it though. If you are determined that it is what you want to do, then please don't let other people put you off. If you are focused and want it, then you can do it.

Oh, and I managed to B/F too, just had to express a lot

DS1 has now just gone to college to do his A levels and wants to be a lawyer and hopes to read law at Cambridge and I have to say I'm more than a little jealous he will be able to do it the 'easy' way, ie uni with no kids, job etc wink

Good luck to you with your studies and your new baby x

underactivethyroidmum Fri 18-Sep-09 13:24:13

I too am a Law student all be it full time, and I'm about to start my second year and I'm 18 weeks pregnant - my baby is due just after my first semester exams and although I'm worried about sitting a 3 hour tort exam at 38 weeks pregnant I've been reassured that if I go into early labour or if I'm unable to sit the exam can defer it until August and take it then.

My pregnancy is completely unplanned - I have a 10 year old and had been told 2 years ago she would more than likely be an only child - but the shock has quickly turned to considerable joy at the prospect of a new baby and my tutors have been incredibly supportive.

My advice is to go for it - make sure you keep up to date with your notes etc and try and get hold of an outline of what the subject entails so you can pre read or easily catch up if you need to miss a lecture to attend a hospital appointment.

I also have three fab 'course mates' who will bring me extra handouts etc if I need them too.

Don't let this silly woman put you off - you can achieve anything you put your mind too and with good support from your family you can study and be a good mum too

Good luck - and enjoy having something to focus on other than nappies and bottles !

Serennos Fri 18-Sep-09 13:33:35

I am so pleased to have seen this message - I am not alone! I am pg, due in Feb and am starting the last course for my OU degree in October. This will be dc #1, so I am probably being a bit naive, but the plan is for me to to get as far ahead as I can with the course before Bean arrives, and make use of any time that I can once s/he does.

I think that the support of my dh and mum are going to be vital in this to allow me to get out to the occasional lecture, and/or have the odd evening to myself to study.

YANBU and you're not alone in the boat

Kitstelsmum Fri 18-Sep-09 13:49:10

Good luck Barbie! I am planning to do the same (DC2 due in June and the part-time Masters starts in October).

Don't let people like your boss put you off -maybe she couldn't manage to juggle work/dc/study herself, but you can, so you are obviously more capable than her and should get her job when you get back from maternity leave wink

racmac Fri 18-Sep-09 13:53:48

I did a Law degree part time over 4 years and worked full time and it was tough going and i didnt have children at the time.

But one of the modules was Co law and i hated the lecturer - he was crap so i taught myself from home and just never went to his lectures and got a B - my best result that year! So i wouldnt worry about missing lectures although you may find it hard to keep on top of the studying.

I think if you are determined enough then you will succeed.

Good luck smile

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