Saturday, September 3, 2011

motivation

As the horrible blogger that I am, I've left this place empty for almost a month. I was off on a variety of adventures sans internet for part of that time, but for the rest all I can say is that I also haven't finished my grant proposal, my manuscript, or my syllabi, and all of this is going to be very bad for me this week.

This summer was probably the best stretch of down time that I've had since coming to SLAC, even with summer students and lab organization and everything else. But, I still fell into the "I wouldn't be doing this work if I was in the field, so why should I do it now?" trap early on, slacking off far more than I should have. I did get a lot accomplished, but much of it remains incomplete, as noted above.

This fall promises insanity and insomnia, as well as far too many conferences. On the list:

- three grant proposals, although one of them will be written primarily over the winter break
- three conferences, with three posters, one talk and one panel between them
- one book chapter and one manuscript; the chapter can be finished in the early spring, but the paper really needs to go in by Nov.
- taking on a more significant leadership role in a professional organization
- taking on primary responsibility for student applications for the field school I work with
- teaching an extra half-credit course plus mentoring a serious independent study student, not to mention seniors doing their research projects. The variability here is something I worry about, since I know the technology-heavy independent study will take a lot of time, but I'm not sure how much the other students will need until they get started.
- teaching the writing-heavy freshman course as one of my regular classes, which I find to be a lot of grading/editing/evaluating if I want to actually help them improve their writing

The extra teaching load this fall will leave me with a lower one in the spring, which is a plus, and the class is something I've taught enough now that it shouldn't be too bad. Still, going over the normal teaching load is always rough. Plus, I'm on research leave for a few months in 2012, and I need to prep for that.

I'm also up for my fourth-year review, which promises a fair assessment of my progress toward tenure, but also means I have to write up materials at some point in the fall. The fall that is already so full of stuff to do that I don't know when I will ever sleep. I am also concerned that I have this nagging sense that I've forgotten about something I'm supposed to be doing this term - I'm sure that will bite me in the ass at some point soon.

Which means I really should have gotten more accomplished over the summer.

On the plus side, I'm getting some data back from my summer efforts, I'm still enjoying the tomato harvest from my garden, and I'm excited about the term now that I've met with some of my incoming students. I love first years, they're so adorable and eager. I wish more of them would keep that excitement past the first term!

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