free at last, free at last!

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Classes are over, grades are submitted, only a few more days of meetings next week. I can feel myself unwinding--it's almost tangible. Physical tension melting away along with the mental. During the school year, there's a constant monkey on my back--the feeling that there's always a little bit more I ought to be doing. More student (or committee, or colleague) mail I should read and respond to. More attention paid to the grading of projects. More effort in the preparation for classes. More time spent answering questions. Falling asleep becomes a nightly battle to banish those "do more" demons.

The June following my first year as a professor, I remember sitting out on my back deck with my husband. As we sat there looking at the newly-planted garden, and the kids on the swingset, I realized that this job bears a strong resemblance to a very, very old joke: "Why are you banging your head against the wall? Because it feels so good when I stop."

Yes, academia is filled with petty politics and outrageous stresses. But there are many joys associated with this job--some of which were reaffirmed yesterday during commencement. Shaking the hand of each student (hundreds of them) after they crossed the stage and received their diploma (well, their diploma case) is a wonderful feeling. Hugging the many of them whose lives I know I've touched--and who have in turn enriched mine--is even better. All my resentment of academia's ills fades away when a student comes up to me during the line-up for the commencement processional and says "I want you to know that your class had the most impact on me here--it made me realize what I wanted to do, and that I could do it." Or when a parent says "He's told me so much about you, and I'm so grateful for all the support you've given him while he was here."

So the school year ends--as it always does for me--on a note of gratitude and hope, and the summer stretches out in front of me...three months of relaxed schedules, time with my family and friends, and intellectual energy freed up to devote to my upcoming grant research (more on that later this weekend). Oh...and blogging, of course.

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Done! from Matthew G. Kirschenbaum on May 26, 2003 10:04 AM

Like any number of others around the blogosphere, I'm done for the semester. Exam booklets are sorted and rubber-banded, grades are in, these and those reports are submitted, and I'm on my own. Incidentally, contrary to what a snotty piece Read More


:) (and Literati of course)

Yes! to all of the above. Happy summer!

And literati (or playsite's version of scrabble), indeed. :)




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on May 25, 2003 10:45 AM.

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