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? 

6 comments

  1. This: “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.” I will say I think my university has done reasonably well. Mask mandate, vax and booster mandate, etc. But the amount of extra work faculty have done, with pay cuts, etc. It’s pretty astonishing.

    I also had a 2020 covid-screwed sabbatical. I managed to work out an additional course release for fall (long complicated story involving a series of overloads) and I am STOKED. It’s not a true sabbatical–major service responsibilities still– but the semester off from teaching will be divine.

  2. “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.”

    So. Damn. True.

    I have to be on time and get stuff done and figure stuff out. Everyone else gets to ask me for help.

  3. I left academia for starting my own bio tech company 6 years ago. I do not regret one bit and in fact enjoying it very much. I have raised millions since then. It is extremely challenging that satisfies my ambitious and nerd side, while I control where and how I spend my time. I am still doing cutting edge research and publishing and actually moving academic world in my direction :).I still write grants to run the company, but I dictate which direction the company goes and what do we do for the upcoming future. It is satisfying and rewarding. I know it is hard to give up the tenure position but there is a world out there.

  4. Nobody really gives a shit about the students either, but they are customers, and if they aren’t happy then they won’t pay us, and then where will we be?

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