Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Oh yay, more bitching about the quarter system.

I second LQ's emotion. With a quarter system, when classes are four (or five) days a week...and nearly all classes meet every day, it is unrealistic to expect students to read 60-80 pages a night (the last three nights the Admin Law homework by itself has taken me 5+ hours) in each class. That is upwards of 200 pages a night (and 15 hours?). If we only had each class twice a week, that would be one thing, or if we only had one or two classes per day...but we don't. It's the third day of class and I'm already burned out and behind.

When I was in the Air Force I got an opportunity to speak to a 3-star General once about my job (I was briefing him on a program I ran). He told me I should never be afraid to close my door and put my feet up on my desk and just *think*. In fact, he told me it was part of my job to think about things, because being a good leader means understanding what is going on around you and being able to have a comprehensive view of the issues involved in your job and the people you manage.

And you know, it worked for me in the Air Force. I was a good officer and I think, for the most part, I did a good job with the resources that I had. I *know* that I had a solid grasp on an amount of information that was positively voluminous (if you've ever seen military regulations you know this is true). I won't bore you with the details of my job, but I was in charge of a LOT of programs, including substantive legal work, for nearly 6,000 people worldwide. So, I don't suppose there is an argument that what I'm learning in law school is too complex for me or that I am not used to stress. Believe me, having a full Colonel screaming at you in a staff meeting because HE messed something up and calling you incompetent in front of 25 people is pretty stressful.

The quarter system is so intense that there is no time for rumination. No time to discuss, think, synthesize, assimilate, or comprehend on any but the most basic level. Do some people manage to do it? Apparently yes. Maybe they don't spend an hour a day blogging, or are just more organized or smarter than me. There is an argument here though, I think, that having most all of your classes four (or five) days a week, three or four or five classes a quarter, and having to read 50+ pages for each class each night, does not allow students the time to process the information properly. Is it really any wonder I am so overwhelmed all the time? I feel like my life is about reading a huge number of pages each night so I can say "Yes professor, I read X,Y, and Z"...but most of the time I have no idea what the deeper thread of meaning is underlying the very basic details gleaned from one hurried read-through.

I have to quit bitching now though because I still have eighteen million pages to read for tomorrow.
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