Time management. It's a necessary survival skill in the working world and comes in pretty handy in the academic world, too. As we near the end of the fall semester, our priorities shift from keeping up with the reading to cramming for finals and figuring out how to get a j-o-b. On top of that, it's time to select classes for the spring.
For part-time students, that means scouring the evening course list to see what's available, and desperately hoping to avoid Friday classes. Selecting classes is always a challenge, especially when limited to the 4 hours available between work and sleep (6-10 pm, weeknights). Recently, the New York Times profiled Bunker Hill Community College for "helping" students make the most of their time, by offering midnight classes and starting some classes as early as 6 a.m. for working students.
Although spending your sleeping hours in a classroom seems extreme, the colleges offering these classes are also reporting significant enrollment increases - and being creative with their classroom offerings is one way to make sure they continue to serve their students.
Most of the schools profiled in the Times article were community colleges, which are admittedly very different from law schools. However, they might be on to something with the increased offering of classes outside normal hours. And while midnight class may be on the extreme, access to extra-early classes or a wider selection of evening classes would make for a more interesting course load.
As it stands, part-time students interested in daytime courses can work with employers to take a class during lunch, early in the morning, or grouped on one or two days a week, to minimize the missed working hours. Fortunately, many of the classes available are later in the afternoon, which makes this easier. It is also possible to obtain credits at other law schools nearby - further expanding the evening class offerings. Check with the Records Office for details, but note that the class must not be available in the next year at GWU to be able to get credit. There are many interesting seminars available at Georgetown and GMU (the majority of these are available from 5:45 pm - 7 pm) that may be worth considering.
Flexibility, time management, and negotiations are three of the critical skills that law students develop in the classroom but certainly enhance as we work with our school and employers to make the most of our law school education.