Learning Self-Discipline at Saper Lawfirm

Name: Jake

Year: Senior

Major: Political Science / Legal Studies

Minor: Theatre

CFS Program: Field Studies in the Humanities

Recently, I have begun my internship, and honestly, I wasn’t worried if I could handle it. I had worked all summer full time, often much longer hours than would be required for my job at a law firm. However, nothing could prepare me for combining 3 classes with my internship.

It isn’t that I had more work than in my previously employment, in fact I am only working part-time, and my class load is not relatively strenuous compared to previous quarter. But it is the mix of the two that has become a new challenge and learning opportunity. While the majority of my work in my classes is focused at night (homework, papers, studying for exams etc.) with only a few hours actually spent in the classroom, my responsibilities for my job are spread throughout the day with the brunt of the responsibility happening considerably earlier than I am generally functional. Therefore, I am often having to work late at night to complete my homework, while having to wake up considerably earlier than I would traditionally have to for class to take the train into the city for work the next day.

Despite the challenges, this experience provides me with a prime opportunity to get more organized, discover my priorities, and become more efficient, all skills that will prove essential to success in full-time employment next year. The somewhat backloaded nature of my academic experience and focus on evening endeavors has given birth to some rather unfortunate habits of procrastination and “night owl” tendencies.

Exams, papers, and other larger assignments for classes can generally be done at the halfway point and end of the quarter, while the majority can be spent procrastinating. A few sleepless nights at the end of the quarter can allow for much more leisure time. With a job, I no longer have this luxury. It is no longer easy to write a 10-page paper in a night when I have to work an 8-hour shift in the morning. While it may not be the most pleasant transition, this has been a blessing for me. I doubt I would have had the self-discipline to spread my school work throughout the quarter on my own. This has taught me good habits and will hopefully allow me to be more successful as I transition into post-college employment. Because the program has provided me with the impetus to shirk off a lot of the unhealthier habits I have developed from college, I now understand why it is not only helpful but vital to an academic experience at Northwestern. It allows a student to develop the skills necessary for success and look beyond the sometimes-limiting walls of academia to accrue good habits and valuable experiential learning.