Month: April 2022

Fifteen-minute stream-of-consciousness post

Inspired by gwinne, I give you a 15-min stream-of-consciousness post.

  • One more week left in the semester (after this week). I can’t wait. I am completely exhausted. Huge undergrad class plus grad class as overload.
  • I could spend 40+ hours per week doing nothing but teaching and service and meeting with students and collaborators. Teaching and associated grading and office hours have taken a ton of time this semester. I am on a bunch of personnel-related committees, including one search that was moderately dramatic but ultimately successful. I am an associate editor for two journals, one of which keeps me very busy. I write letters for people’s tenure, promotions, awards.  I review papers and proposals. I spend hours in meetings of various kinds. This has been a persistent issue with this job — the fact that you have to fight hard to find the time to do the one aspect of your job that you trained hard for and are uniquely positioned to do. I will never get used to it.
  • I had grand plans for the summer but have since been roped into department-benefitting activities. I have mixed feelings about it. There will be extra payment, and now I have a good excuse not to travel overseas. But still, mixed feelings. In addition to pushing out papers and proposals, I was going to spend some time on the second installment of Academaze (I have a cool cover already done and all) and on my novel, but I think those will have to wait.
  • It’s been two years since my 2020 sabbatical (which was supposed to be restorative, but instead got eaten by the pandemic) ended, and I am ready for the next one. Although, after the pandemic, isn’t everyone?
  • My group is supposed to move labs in a couple of weeks. I feel exhausted just thinking about it.
  • I feel exhausted thinking about summer vacation. I just wanna be left alone to read and watch shows.
  • Still in grant limbo for like a million grants. I could be broke or flush next year. Everything is still up in the air.
  • We (academia) have spent a lot of time and energy making sure the students are supported through the pandemic etc. Nobody gives a shit about faculty or staff. Although I don’t actually know who it is who’s supposed to give a shit, to be honest. My own experience of being an adult is that others always lean on me, and I never have anyone to lean on. It’s exhausting always having to have one’s shit together. On the one hand, I remind myself that I am an adult and should cut the whining; of course I should always have my shit together. On the other hand, I don’t so much need someone to lean on as much as I wish others wouldn’t lean on me quite so much, you know? Like, I can hold myself up fine, but it gets to be too much to always have to prop a bunch of other people and all their issues, too.
  • Required flexibility and accommodations for students during instruction and testing have become insane. For the second midterm in the giant undergraduate class, I had to administer four separate tests. The main test, then one for the people with documented accommodations (in a separate building that helps with that), then another one the week after for traveling athletes and students who were ill (wrote a new test for this), and then yet another one two weeks later for those who were ill even longer. I don’t know who I’m expecting to help with all this, tbh, I just wish there were someone  to do it all who’s not me. I am resentful of all the time and effort I have to spend on coordinating all this, none of which requires a PhD.
  • Today was my dedicated day for research. ROFL. Of course I have to grade a bunch of grad-student assignments, since I’ve neglected that class in favor of the huge undergrad one, and I have to catch up on reviewing papers.
  • Sometimes I think academic jobs are pure insanity. Other times, I feel there is no place I’d rather be. Most of the time, it’s both.
  • Among other things, being a grownup means wanting/needing validation and reassurance as much as ever, but knowing that it’s never coming. Knowing you’re supposed to be a source of perpetual drive, ideas, and positivity not just for yourself but for your research group and your family. Being able to have it all drained endlessly and still somehow always keep going. Cue novels and TV shows, my escapist attempts at replenishing what is constantly siphoned away.

How’ve you been, academic blogosphere? 

Hagventures in Teaching

I’ve been having a few very disappointing days at work. Or was it weeks?

The most dispiriting aspect is that, regardless of how senior I am, there will always, always, be crap that I wouldn’t have to deal with if I were a dude. And it’s all young men dishing out the bullshit.

A former student being extremely disrespectful over one of the papers that were left unfinished when he graduated and left. All papers but one have been published in the interim; this is the last one left. Former student has issues with the speed of these papers getting out sans his involvement (god forbid I slow down for COVID or burnout or any normal human condition) and the involvement of the students who are still in the group. The email I received was beyond hurtful, especially because I know I have done my absolute best to champion and support this former student. I guess now I know how he really views me.

A kid who is taking a sophomore-level required class as a senior, needs to graduate this semester, but isn’t doing well in the class at all. Takes passive-aggressive jabs at me in class, which I have to ignore or laugh away because nothing good comes out of having a blow-up in a huge lecture hall. He is all aggrieved because he’s doing poorly, which stems from his shockingly bad preparion in both physics and math, but it’s apparently all my fault and I’m supposed to just absorb the nonsense.

A kid who demands more and more explanations in class of why this one quantity exists, because this quantity sure is pissing him off. After I’ve offered him half a dozen different explanations, including why this quantity is important and where it is found and what intuitive information it carries and how it connects to the rest of the course and to the material in other courses, he says, “That’s not what I want.” Like he’s a customer and I am an idiot customer service rep, and he wants his money back.

Hubs says it’s 100% because I’m a woman and that they would never act like this with a similarly aged dude.

I hoped I’d be done with this shit by now — the aggrieved entitlement, alongside a complete lack of self-reflection —  but no, it never ends. There are always new cocky boys ready to take on the uppity old hag.

Granted, not the whole class is like this. It’s just a few individuals with chips on their shoulders, while the rest are really nice.

But the few, oh those few.

And I am so, so tired of it.