Day: April 19, 2020

Shit Valley

Warning: Whining ahead. 

Since the beginning of the quarantine, which is now five weeks in over here, the university administration has sent between seven and eight million emails emphasizing how we need to be flexible and understanding with our undergraduates and graduate students, how we need to check in on their mental health, and that we definitely positively should not be pressing for normal-times productivity.

This is all perfectly fine and I fully support it. But I’d like the same courtesy to be applied to us, faculty/PIs, by both the administration and students.

I am not teaching this semester, but my husband is. I have witnessed things quickly — within a week or two — going from “Put your courses online in any way you can, we don’t expect perfection” to “Students want this and that, want more synchronous teaching, more videos, want to chat in person, make it all happen, stat.”

My graduate students definitely expect (and receive) lenience from my side, but want me to keep going as usual. They’re impatient about feedback on their papers and re-submissions, even though I have service in addition to research and kids at home and kids’ school work and tons of daily cooking and haven’s had a moment alone in five weeks.

I know, I know, that’s what being a grownup means, and I have a good, well-paying, secure job, and most people are in much worse conditions now, so I should really shut up, but within this privileged life of mine, I occasionally get tired of being stuck in Shit Valley, located at the foot of multiple hills down which all the shit rolls. Kids’ and students’ shit, because they’re young and need protection and I’m supposed to be able to take it all. Admins’ shit, because somehow we faculty work in the service of them and their grand (by which I mean increasingly corporate) visions, instead of them working for us and the students.

I, too, am human, and some days (or years) I don’t wanna cook or read crappy drafts or parse adminspeak-filled emails devoid of content, and instead I want to be left alone to watch Hart of Dixie for the seventeenth time because the fictional town of Bluebell, Alabama, and its wacky inhabitants soothe my soul.

Blogosphere, what do you do to unwind? Any go-to activities, books, movies, shows?