begin again on Monday, and I have so much to do between now and then, it’s a little overwhelming. I’d like to have a draft of the dissertation chapter I am currently writing finished and ready to be reviewed by my committee — which reminds me, I still have to officially add my “outside member” (dirty) to the school paperwork. I also want to have a list of jobs picked out and be ready to apply for them on my end, just leaving things like letters of recommendation to be completed, but oh, the thought of that makes my insides want to
shrivel up and die. Transcripts, vitae, statements of teaching philosophy, plans for further research, course evaluations, OHMYGOD. But, of course, I have to get this all together; I simply have to. Le sigh.
I also have to get ready to teach (oh, the bright little whippersnappers!), have a syllabus and plans for the first week’s worth of meetings, read whatever novel I decided to assign. (Note to self: go find course readings list and see what novel that was.) (Another note to self: try to teach something with shorter readings next time, like poetry or short stories or film, good lord, self, why did you decide to specialize in novels?)
The madness won’t end once classes start, though: I will have to keep up the usual pace with teaching, plus work in as many extra hours as possible for writing (finishing the dissertation in time to defend it this Spring term) and the horrid, horrid job search (please let us not speak of it…much).
Luckily I have been trying to keep pace with the regular onslaught of quotidian duties, like keeping my apartment relatively free of chaos, stocking up on groceries, washing some clothes so I don’t have to actually live the “I showed up to school naked” nightmare come Monday, and so on.
In the frenzy of pre-school-term organization, I bought a new wall calendar for my office (the first year in forever that I have picked out my own calendar, and it is a series of mid-century modern chairs; yes I am a dork). Sitting at my desk and looking at the new calendar, I had the suddenly disturbing (and yet obvious, in a forehead-smacking kind of way) realization that by the time I get to the end of that calendar, I’ll be…I’ll be…somewhere. Doing something. I have no clue where or what, though. For the first time in my life, I won’t be a student any more (and I have been a student for the past 24 years, so, that’s a big thing for me).
If everything goes ideally, I will still be involved in academic life (i.e., teaching at a university) pretty much forever, but I don’t know how realistic it is for me to expect a job offer from The Academe this year. It’s not a pleasant feeling, not knowing where I may be in six months’ time, but at the very least I can hope it will be somewhere different from here, maybe even somewhere with four seasons (instead of just two, The Good One and The Bad One, the latter of which lasts three times as long as the former) or tall buildings or beaches or maybe just a fenced-in yard to facilitate further canine acquisitions. A lot of great things could happen this year, and I need to keep them in mind during the paperwork frenzy that is about to erupt in my normally peaceful little world.