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Welcome to the New Term

I live my life according to the academic year. This means the Fall term, Winter term, then the Summer term are my work cycles. A new term is right around the corner and I am thinking about what I want this term. I am going to refer to a previous post about my want to not glorify busy. Academics love lists. This includes explaining in an exasperated way that we are very busy, and then listing the number of items that we must get to before we go into the sun and sparkle like a Cullen vamp or worse yet, explode like a vamp in True Blood.

I am trying to have better work life balance and hope that I can continue this in the next term. What am I doing? I am taking special care to not check my phone the first thing in the morning, and this is a major coup. I will start with my stretches, coffee, and paper, and then get to the phone (this translates into checking my email accounts and Twitter feed). I do not know about you, but I can go down the social media rabbit hole and suddenly be late for the gym or to take my spawnlette to school. This past Spring, I was better at leaving emails and Twitter for last, and no one complained about email response times, and I bet my Twitter followers gave a sigh of relief to see fewer tweets.

By not glorifying busy, I might post/share that I got something done, but I am done with listing and trying to prove that I am busy. I know that I am and I know that you are also busy. I also am not engaging those conversations where it feels like a colleague online or in real life is glorifying busy. For Petra’s sake, those of us on the tenure track have: great job flexibility, a job, and yes, we have to teach and publish in order to keep our jobs. But, overall, we get paid to think and talk. I am not competing in the Busy Olympics and if you feel that you have to, you might want to re-think that. How do I model this, though? I have to tell myself to not respond so quickly to emails and not email colleagues during the weekend. I am trying to have better boundaries. I explain to my Teaching Assistants that emails over the weekend are meant to be thought of as a Monday morning email. I also schedule emails so that they are sent Monday-Friday during the workday. These smart devices keep us connected, but also do not allow us to have time off without feeling guilty.

The new term is starting and I am not going to feel guilty that my to-do list is long, as I chip away at it. But, my job’s priority is teaching and I promise to not phone that in, as students do not appreciate that. When they come to class, ready to discuss the readings, they want me there ready to teach and facilitate. I am ready. Oh, and I am not a Cylon. I am human and have to remember this…I am not a machine. Well, my daughter says, “How do you know? You could be a sleeper agent.” I am going to assume that I am not a Cylon.

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I took the above photo at the EMP in Seattle, Washington. It was part of a Battlestar Galactica exhibit. So say we all!

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