Starting in January I took an evening class, a new experience for me. I'd hoped to take this class at 8 am, but the section was cancelled due to low enrollment, so opted for the evening class when we did the math and realized we'd save several hundred dollars in childcare each month by doing so. None of us were looking forward to it because it would mean I'd be gone Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings for six months.
We'd anticipated some of the problems before the class even started. Through my couple of years back in school, after the kids are in bed has been my go-to time for studying. Taking an evening class meant eliminating two days of studying, on either side of an evening rehearsal. This made tests falling on Thursdays difficult due to a lack of study time in the days immediately preceding the test. We also figured dinner would be more difficult and knew it would mean Ryan would have to go to the gym late at night, which isn't always ideal.
In the end, it wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated. I was concerned about being in class for 3.5 hours in the evening, already tired from the day. I took an evening art history class my first semester of undergrad - Friday night for 3 hours - and that was absolutely miserable. Not that the content wasn't interesting, but by Friday evening I very much didn't want to be in class anymore! Thankfully this class was one with lots of lab work, which helps to keep you awake.
One benefit of the class is that we've spent less money on take-out dinner. At the beginning of both quarters I sat down and planned out dinner for my busy days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), so that at the very least those were taken care of and so those days would get priority for quick and easy meals. Usually I spend some time Friday or Saturday determining the other meals for next week, then go shopping for the coming week. This worked out surprisingly well. On my busy days I put dinner together during lunchtime/early afternoon so that we can be eating by 5 so I can head to class at 5:30. Ideally, Ryan would clean the kitchen while I was gone so that I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning a kitchen the next afternoon. We were both excellent about keeping the kitchen clean the first quarter, but things have been a bit lax this quarter. I wish I could say I'd keep prepping dinner during lunch time when I no longer have to, but despite knowing how nice it can be, I doubt I will do that.
Obviously, the savings on childcare costs have been especially welcome. It's also nice not to worry about how much time is being taken away from the kids. They were at home with Ryan, in bed for most of my class. And to know that when I got home I didn't have to pick anyone up and could just study or go to bed was rather nice as well.
The evening class hasn't seemed to impede my test-taking ability, so I've been doing well in the classes still. I've still got a month to go before the quarter is over, so that could change I suppose. It is quite stressful though when both my classes have tests on the same day and that day happens to be Thursday.
While it's worked out okay, I don't know if I'd go the evening class route again. I really do enjoy having my evenings free to study. I could opt to do microbiology in the evening in the fall (and be done with my prereq classes after just two more quarters rather than three). It's tempting, but I doubt I'll do it. I'm hoping to shadow a dietitian and maybe volunteer at the clinic she works at during the fall, plus will have Mal in co-op and have things I need to do for that. So I'm thinking in those circumstances it'll be best to spread my last classes out over the year and take them all during the day.