I actually think I might be a little wired after consuming what is undoubtedly the best hot chocolate of my life (thank you Babette’s). Also my back is still cold from the rain falling on it while hailing a taxi.
Anyway, tonight’s topic is how I am a supreme geek. Specifically, I am always struck with a certain sense of excitement, anticipation and optimism at the beginning of a new school year. And let’s face it, a person’s second year at an institution is the first real year since all the ritual and repetitive elements of institutional life only become apparent after living in a place for a year. Only now can I begin to tell the difference between the ecological and the geological in the life of the university around me, only now can I begin to differentiate between the truly urgent and the truly silly (though I’ll probably get a couple of those wrong this time around).
So, let’s see. School starts in a couple weeks. That means it’s time to finish off the copy packet for the seminar, order the new shoes and new vests for some new looks in the coming year, clean up my workspaces to install a temporary sense of order in my life, take stock of my various projects so that I’ve got a plan of action for the fall and can delegate to my small fleet of new RAs (thank you SSHRC and FQRSC), make sure plane tickets and hotel rooms are booked for conferences, visiting lecturer gigs and my last defenses in Pittsburgh as advisor, and, oh yes, there’s this director of the grad program thing to figure out too(1).
For all that, I’ve still got that childlike nervous anticipation that comes with the leadup to the first day of school. What will I learn this year? Will my classmates be cool? What new friends will I make? Just as the summer seemed like the time to finish the unrealized dreams of winter term, the fall seems like the time to abandon the unrealized dreams of summer and make some new ones. One of the things I like about this job is the ecological sense of the year, and I guess the fact that I am sentimentally optimistic about everybody coming back and “getting back to it” is a sign I’m in the right line of work.
Okay, time to chill out. Tomorrow, maybe, I’ll force myself to make those final choices for the syllabus.
Or not. There’s still two weeks of summer left.
1. Right now, it’s the little things about that job are confusing me. Like how to manage the onslaught of email that comes with it. For instance, is it more efficient to reply to all emails as I find them, or is it more efficient to set aside one or two times a week to reply to GPD email? And how do I keep track of it since it comes to the same account as all my other email?