How one woman juggled teaching, law school and motherhood

During the pandemic, Catherine Fink, a longtime high school English teacher, decided she wanted to pursue a career in law. This school year, her first in law school, she was on a schedule that involved being on campus two weekends a month, with the rest of the work done online. She also continued to teach at an 80% course load.

Catherine Fink during her law school orientation. (Courtesy of Fink)

“I think that was the toughest year, I don’t want to say ‘ever’ because when we had three kids under 3, it was really tough too,” Fink said. “But that was definitely the year I felt the most tired, just in terms of basically having to do three full-time jobs, it was like – teaching English in high school, going to college part-time and then have three children. ”

Even with a scholarship covering much of her tuition, Fink took out student loans.

“I probably didn’t get enough out,” she said. “We found ourselves a bit underwater, but part of that was also that things got a lot more expensive this year.”

Fink had considered quitting teaching to focus on law school, but she plans to continue teaching 80% in the next school year for financial reasons.

“I feel like it’s worth it,” Fink said. “It’s very exciting to be challenged intellectually as an adult, especially after the ins and outs of teaching and parenting and the pandemic and the adult being uninspiring from the same way. My own kids are really proud of me, and I think it’s special to have this role in their lives — someone who shows them they can be whoever they want to be. No matter how old they are, they can reinvent themselves.

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Nancy I. Romero