Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Other Shoe Should Be Dropping Any Moment Now

Look, I don't want to be some Pollyanna academic blogger who just talks about how great her job is and how great her students are and all that, but I've got to say, the start of this semester has me positively glowing with happiness (though it's kind of a blurry, tired happiness, too, because I've been really busy). Why?

  • Ok, I've got a lot on my plate besides teaching (an admin. gig, taking over advising a student publication, directing an honors thesis, in addition to the usual committee work and such) but I feel totally psyched about all of those things that I'm doing that are not teaching. For the first time in 4+ years, my time feels totally filled by things that I believe are meaningful and that give me some pleasure.
  • I'm feeling totally appreciated by my institution lately. Nothing special is going on, but I've had a few instances where people have expressed excitement about stuff that I'm doing or where they've expressed that they've heard great things about me, and you know, that goes a long way to improving morale.
  • I had a student defect from one class taught by a colleague of mine into BNC, which isn't exactly a hot course here. (Remember how I'd fretted over the enrollment?) It is petty and not very generous, but I was excited that the student chose me over my colleague. In addition, how exciting that this student, who wouldn't seem to be the obvious audience for a course like BNC, would actually have the intellectual curiosity to take the chance and switch courses! Huzzah!
  • I met with my student whose thesis I'm advising, and I'm *so freaking excited* to be doing this. Now, of course part of this is because I'm working with a terribly bright student, whom I really, really like, and who seems really ambitious about what she wants to accomplish. But also, and this is cheesy, the student's topic is not unlike my own undergrad thesis topic, and it's like this whole coming full circle thing where I'm being given the chance to be a great mentor like my own thesis adviser, and really like all of the mentors that I had at my undergrad institution. And speaking of my great mentors at my undergrad institution, one of them came to my MLA panel this year, and that was so freaking cool I could hardly stand it. NO ONE from my grad institution has ever bothered to do that. So why have I been trying so hard to get praise from those people when they don't really give a shit about me? Why have I been trying to meet some standard of acceptability held only by people who don't really support me, when there are so many great people who do (including my colleagues and mentors at my current institution)? Why have I been unwilling to accept that maybe this is exactly where I belong and that I'm really thriving here in terms of work?
  • In other student news, I've got a former student from a couple of years back, a non-major, taking a class with me again, a student who was a total pleasure to have in class the first time around, and he told me yesterday that he has been accepted into med school! Huzzah! And my class is among those he chose to take in his final "fun" semester! Huzzah again!
Now, obviously there are some less good things happening, too, but those seem pretty minor in the context of the overwhelming good feelings that I have about all of the above. So, sure, I've got a student whom I anticipate is going to be a Problem Student in one of my classes, and just the thought of that is exhausting. Sure, I know I'm going to find certain things about the publication advising annoying and time-sucking throughout the course of the semester. Sure, I've got to be really careful about protecting my time when it comes to the admin gig I'm doing this semester, and I do feel some pressure to do exceptionally well at it so that I can legitimately be on the radar for some other potential opportunities that could appear in the next year or two. So yes, the other shoe will probably drop soon, and I'll be back to my usual bitching. But God, I'm feeling so satisfied with myself right now. Satisfied with my job, and satisfied with what I've made of this job for myself. I figured like I should note it while the mood was striking so that when I go back to my regular bitching you can remind me that I'm actually really freaking happy exactly where I am.


Kate said...

It's much, much better to just let yourself be pleased and satisfied at where your life is than wait for that other shoe, anyway. I'm so glad things are going well! I also hope it's obvious to you that these things aren't just "happening" to you, but that you clearly made them all happen.

Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Gotta run with it when it's working, I say. Glad to hear the term's starting out well for ya.

Sisyphus said...

No no no! I _love_ hearing about people being happy and satisfied with their work! Please keep telling us it is possible --- that's so important for those of us who get down in the dumps of grad school and job search stuff.

And I'm glad to hear that all your stuff seems to be coming together nicely.

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for the comments, y'all :)

Kate: You're totally right that it's better to just be pleased and satisfied. I'm just superstitious, which is why I acknowledge the fact that it could all be a mirage :)

Curmudgeon: Agreed, one does have to run with what's working. And indeed, things are going well.

Sis: Point taken about the positives being good for readers in your position. Don't worry: I promise to continue with the positive for as long as I feel it :)

EcoGeoFemme said...

I quite like hearing the happy stuff. :)