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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life versus work

On my way back to my office after the M&D class today, I encountered the very bright young woman from my 101 class: she'd just picked up the mechanics rubric I'd left for her--and she was very upset about having missed another class. We stood on the stairs for some time until I finally suggested we head into my office. She felt it was important to tell me about the health problems she's been encountering--which sound pretty upsetting--but she also wanted to talk to me about whether she could use an article she'd found, even though it didn't provide conclusive proof about her point.

We ended up talking for almost an hour. Part of the time was figuring out how to correctly place and format a header using the word-processing software on a Mac, but we did also talk about her paper, about her ideas, about her health--and about the need for her to prioritize her health and not add worries about school as a stressor to an already stressed system.

And suddenly I find myself in somewhat the same position. My health concern is minor, but I found myself thinking, "I can't see the doctor at this time because of Advisement, and I can't see her at that time because of class..." when what I really need to do is just see the doctor as soon as I can so I can stop worrying about it. Everything else can be figured out: I should know by now that I'm infinitely capable of improvisation, figuring out how to make various kinds of purses out of all sorts of ears (silk/sow, mesh/moose, whatever).

My guess yesterday about how the classes would go today was correct: the students had tons to say about the ending of Oryx and Crake, and we didn't start with Blade Runner. As planned, I'll show them the beginning of it on Thursday, and we'll finish it--or not, their choice--next Tuesday. M&D was occupied almost entirely with watching Gossford Park. I'd forgotten how long it takes to get to the actual murder: well over an hour into the film. In fact, that's where I stopped--to a universal sound of protest from the students. (Cliff-hanger: gotta love it.) So of course they want to see the rest of the movie: now they want to find out who did it and why. We may or may not get around to talking about The Big Sleep--but that's OK. We can talk about it next week.

I do keep forgetting that I'm going to be away: not only do I forget to tell the students, I've forgotten as I've scheduled other things in my life. (This seems to be a motif: forgetting what's on my calendar.) I was going to spend tonight after class writing up the one observation I already conducted and getting all the materials ready for the subs--but meeting with my student, then talking with Paul, then taking care of a little P&B business has made it late enough that I need to decamp: I have to go to the grocery store, for one thing, and I want to get home before too late. I have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will be like. I had a blissful hour or so today in which I had absolutely nothing in my hands that required marking, but now that the papers are rolling in, I know part of tomorrow will be spent trying to stay ahead of a potential tsunami of work. But that's tomorrow, which is another day. And today is stick-a-fork-in-it done, as far as work is concerned.

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