Dr. Love, M.D.

Dr. Love,

My significant other’s birthday falls during the middle of exams! How do I balance studying and celebrating?

As the philosopher Billy Shakespeare once said, “the course of true love never did run smooth.” Since Shakespeare never took exams in law school, I think it’s safe to say that this quote hardly does justice to the stress relationships undergo when one-half is cramming for finals. My advice is this: don’t try to balance studying and celebrating. If you’re the kind of person who goes all in on birthdays—and it sounds like you are—tell him/her that you’ll be better equipped to celebrate once you’ve submitted that last final on Exam4. Plan an elaborate rain check that will make up for your absence on the actual day. Let your partner know that celebrating him/her is truly important to you, and you don’t want to be distracted by those pesky finals when you’re trying to focus on them.


Dr. Love,

Any advice for law students headed home for Christmas who will be far away from partners?

It’s hard over the holidays when you don’t have anyone to surprise under the mistletoe. If possible, stay in town with your boo-thang for a few days after finals before heading home so the two of you can celebrate stress-free together. See the Nutcracker together! Drink hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps! Once you’re far away, communication is key—I find Snapchat is super useful in LDRs just to keep your SO apprised of what you’re getting up to while you’re far away. Send videos of you and the family doing Christmas-y things and keep in touch via Skype and good old fashioned phone calls.


Dr. Love,

I’m a 1L and my significant other isn’t in law school. They are getting really frustrated with my stressing over finals—any advice?

First of all, you have my permission to be stressed during finals. It also might be time to sit your partner down and explain that if law school is like a job, finals are a performance review in front of your boss that evaluates whether or not you’ll be allowed to continue working. Law school is like a job that you have to pay twenty thousand plus dollars a year to keep, and the degree of attention that you pay to it determines your future livelihood. Tell your SO that finals stress is absolutely normal and you’re headed into the final stretch—if you’ll pardon the pun.


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