Sunday, October 23, 2011


After following the various Occupy Wall Street movements via Twitter this weekend, and then seeing The Ides of March (not to mention the 1995 Richard III film adaptation), I'm currently feeling more jaded than normal regarding politics in this country. My students are going to love me this week as we move into material that has some political connections. I'm that professor.

A recent discussion with my TA has revealed that I have reputation for being Hard. I'm not sure that this is a bad thing. I try to be difficult but fair and open to questions/tutoring/office hour help. This generally favors those who try over those who are apathetic, which is ok with me. But maybe I need to take it back a step? I am conflicted about my own opinion on this issue.

In any case, this past weekend was a nice domestic break, as I did a lot of cleaning, laundry, raking, and cooking, and only a little bit of work. The next two weeks will be work all the time every day, so it's a good thing I had some time for basic home maintenance. But, two more weeks, and then I'll basically be home free in terms of 7-day weeks. No more of them for months! I'm not even sure what I will do with myself with all those days "off". Yikes. Next thing you'll be telling me I'll be working 8-hour days as well (hah!).

And so, the mid-term doldrums, but I'll be free of them soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Back from conferencing, with students, which was fun. My first undergrad presented a poster, which was good. Ze was really nervous at first and very worried about remembering everything, but by the end ze was happily asking people if they had any questions and giving a great overview of both ze's poster and mine, since they went together to some extent. It was nice to see that growth in self-confidence over the course of an afternoon!

This conference generally gives me a boost in research motivation, but this year I'm a little bit more depressed than excited. I think this is partially because the scheduling of things left me postering during most of the talks I wanted to see, which was lame, but the fact that I didn't have that much exciting data to present was also a downer. I keep telling myself that I'm three years into a teaching position, my most recent field seasons have been cancelled, and I'm still without significant external funding, so of course I don't have a lot of exciting new data to present, and that's ok. Especially since I still had something to show for the past year and students are getting something out of their time in my lab.

But, I'm taking on some professional service things this year, and it seems like a strange time to find myself in a dissemination lull. I'm starting to worry about stalling out just as I need my research community to value me as a member, not least so that they can write me some decent tenure letters in a few years. Those of us who are younger seem to be the only active members of our subfield who are at small colleges; I can't help but wonder whether those who are more senior will consider that particular aspect of our jobs when considering our research output.

So, there's more stress for the next few months. Now, back to grading and all the work I didn't do this week. I should probably not end up being the only one in class who has not finished the 300 pages I assigned last week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


A student just left my office after telling me that she really likes Intro to Discipline but is worried that she isn't smart enough to do science. This after I finished telling her how well she did on the first big assignment.

I hope I talked her out of that idea. What I wanted to say was:

You're killing me, student. I think I might cry.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Today appears to be Abortion Protest Day in Small Town, which always makes me angry. At least this group was using text-only signs; no pictures of dead babies that may or may not have been aborted. I'm just trying to go buy some liquor on my Sunday afternoon, crazy people, so back off.

Also, I am mostly annoyed that they have little kids out there holding signs. If you think so highly of a particular ideal that you want to hold signs, fine, but I don't think your 6-year-old is really capable of deciding that for herself.

So now that I've spent 12 full hours of my weekend on work, and still haven't gotten to my grading, it is time to procrastinate with some decent exercise. If I'm feeling so sore tomorrow that I can't climb stairs, I will feel much less guilty about the fact that I will have no time to work out.