Telewhatevering

As I said, I’m running a drabble contest on my fiction site, so the entries have been cheering me up. Btw, I have the submissions set up through Google Forms, which is free and super convenient to collect submissions.

Today was a grumpy day for me, not sure why, but I battled the mood with one of the two ways I know. The first is mindless entertainment, which I was too antsy for, and the other is rolling up my sleeves and getting something useful done. I cleared out my associate-editor backlog and investigated the teleconferencing options available through the university, so tomorrow I get to see my grad students again after more than a week. I hope they’re all in good spirits.

I received a positive report on one of my own papers, so in the near future I have that and a book chapter to revise, then about five papers in various draft stages. Honestly, if I could just do some research and tend to the family, life would be fantastic. Actually, I don’t mind teaching. So why are the academic years so insane? We are all like headless chickens, and it’s mostly self-imposed. And by self, I mean self-governance.

For instance, I received hundreds of emails in the last few days from various levels of administration in regard to the virus alone. From the chair; from the dean, then regurgitated by deanlets, then chair; from the chancellor and/or provost, vice chancellors, dean, deanlets, chair. Whom do they think they’re fooling? Or is it a lack of understanding how mailing lists work? These emails have very little substance, or have whatever substance they have endlessly wrapped in adminspeak and then re-forwarded ad nauseam. They are all just covering their butts (“Look, I’m proactive!”) and maybe transmitting some of their own anxieties onto us. But mostly covering their butts in front of students’ parents, alumni, and the general public.

Not sure where I’m going with this, other than I feel this quarantine is reconnecting me with the parts of the job I love, parts where I can be genuine, which is interacting with my graduate students and doing research. I know this sounds selfish, but I can’t think about all the sick people 24/7. Sometimes I have to focus really hard on the silver lining.

How are you doing, blogosphere? How has the COVID-19 response been at your institution? Your city and state? Your country, if you’re not in the US?

2 comments

  1. Greetings. I moved to Hong Kong to join one of its universities in January 2020. It has been a surreal experience; we have migrated to online teaching since the Chinese New Year break, in view of COVID-19. For my undergrad classes, I have only met them in a face to face setting once this semester before Chinese New Year. Since then, we have been doing online teaching, and will be doing so for the rest of the semester. A week ago, we were hoping that things are slowly getting back to normal but it does not seem likely in view of the second wave of imported COVID-19 cases. During this period, we always have had meetings with grad students and colleagues, but all held online using Zoom. Several conferences were held online. In the rare face to face meetings on campus, all of us have to wear masks. Labs are closed but some colleagues made arrangements for the grad students to go back to do experiments (in controlled manner e.g. staggered). The biggest bummer is the schooling arrangement – my kid has been off school since late Jan and the teaching arrangement at that level is less than ideal. On the plus side, my research productivity has increased because I have a lot less admin now. Also I do not need to ferry the kid for the activities since all the activities are suspended.

  2. Wow, so you’ve been at this for months. I’m sorry, HK academic. So it looks like we’re in this for the long haul. Like, many months. It will be a different world once this blows over.

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