Saturday, December 21, 2002


It's Saturday night. I spent last night in the house, and it looks as if I will spend tonight the same way. Tomorrow is all about laundry and packing, as I leave early Monday morning for CA. A whole week away from Eric and the kitties. I get bored when I go to L.A. these days - I have a few friends left, but not many. OK, really I have only 2, and one of them will be out of town while I'm there. SO I'll have plenty of free time to spend with Dad and Grandma, which, no offense to my dear relatives, sounds less than thrilling. I am glad I have a paper to revise, two projects to work on, and a few books I want to read.

I hate the period immediately followng the end of the semester. After a nutty fifteen weeks in which every day seems to pile more work onto an already overflowing plate full of important tasks that need to be accomplished immediately, all of a sudden *poof* the plate is dramatically dumped, finals week and the handing in of seminar papers leaving it scraped impossibly clean. Nothing to do. This is not exactly true, as I do need to do laundry, wash some dishes, and tidy up the chaotic piles of books that always spontaneously grow around my primary work spaces during the end of the semester. But there's also this sense of empty void. I have been in school for so long now that not being in school is like being adrift, untied from the moorings of class schedules, syllabi, assigned reading. I'm bad at unstructured time. I get fidgety and lazy, all at once.

I can't believe I have spent the last seven and a half years in school full time. And that I only took one year off between high school and college. And that I have at least another year of classes, probably a year and a half (maybe more, but we'll be optomistic), before I start writing the dissertation. Have I spent way too much of my life in school, or what? It's worth it, though, I think. I like school. I'm relatively good at it. And I hope I'll be as good at being a researcher and a teacher, and at balancing those two roles, as well. Oh, yeah, and I hope I will be able to find a good job when I get the Ph.D.! Every so often another article pronounces that academia as we know it is dying, or already dead, in some cases. Some author somewhere has researched the university of the future, and it doesn't include tenure-track jobs. Sometimes it doens't include very many full-time jobs at all. And often it includes distance education, corporate university settings, and an academic market in which the paying customer is always right - and I have to say, from personal experience, I think this is already happening. I also think that, even if students are paying for their education, or if their parents are, whatever, they're not always right: a tuition bill supporting a professor's salary does not automatically confer an 'A' on anyone.

Well, that's a tangential rant.

If you can't tell, I am in a funk. I think I am going to go grab the Murakami book Eric got me, and officially begin winter break with a jag of non-academic reading.

By the way, for anyone who might be affected by such things, I broke down and bought a replacement cell phone yesterday. Same number. So you can call the cell again. I still hope to find my old one, though: if I find it within the next 30 days, AT&T will let me return the replacement phone and give me a full refund. Oh, and my semi-public thanks to the woman who helped me at the AT&T store last night: she got me a much better price on my replacement phone than I was originally "supposed" to get, and she made sure I got hooked up with all the free stuff and upgrades they were promoing at the time. Love it when people working in customer service take the title seriously!

- posted by laurie @ 12/21/2002 08:08:00 PM
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