A good friend who went on to get a PhD after she finished her military career made a remark that I found quite interesting. In her opinion, being organized for school was not all that difficult since being in the military and accomplishing anything requires a fair amount of self generated structure and discipline. It was her opinion that one continued in professional, organized mode and everything was not as much of a crisis as it would be for a younger person who only had experience being in academics.
At least for some people. Others I think depended on the military itself to provide structure complete with schedules, goals, objectives and organizational structure. The same might be said for being a student at various levels with professors and instructors who can manage to present a syllabus at the beginning of the course, have planned lessons, assigned readings and presentations. If it is all laid out for you, then the onus falls upon the student to plan appropriately.
I really don’t mean to whine, but lawyers simply don’t think the way the rest of us do. Since that is the case, and most certainly no one is going to change the entire US legal system of teaching just to make my life more sunny, I am going to have to get over it. Get over being irritated at every sentence needing a citation. What is wrong with footnotes, I ask you? What is wrong with clear English (or German, Norwegian or whatever particular language you are drafting said document in…)?
Perhaps the key to my frustration is not that I can not be organized nor is it that life happens while I have deadlines. Nothing about that has changed in the last 50 years. I think my frustration comes from the disconnect between what this course of study is requiring and my basic skill set. I didn’t spend most of my military career with a set organized schedule and clinics full of patients. Rather, my best jobs were those where I was the trouble shooter – sent in to fix a problem, an organization, find a solution or investigate an incident. Those are not regularly scheduled programing. Maintenance was not me. Something that is clearly working and organized is totally and completely boring.
So here I am, fighting I think against rules and regulations for exactly no point except that they exist. Deadlines exist. I have to write these papers, briefs and summaries. Lawyers are anal. I am not. When you are a fixer – no one ever expects the 100% perfect solution. What is needed is a major correction from the current course and someone else will spend weeks, months or years fine tuning whatever it is until they break it and the cycle starts over.
Meanwhile, I get to summarize cases, write a couple of memos and deal with the basics of life which include food, laundry, transportation and taking out the garbage since George is still in Switzerland and Euclid Pick-up is early on Mondays.