Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I'm sick, people. My symptoms include lethargy, an inability to focus, difficulty seeing tasks through to completion, and mood swings that seem to correlate with the weather (wild elation and joy when it's 65 degrees and sunny, and irritation when it's cold and rainy). My disease? Sabbaticalitis.

What? You've never heard of this grave malady? Well, it's a lot like Senioritis. Except, of course, I'm a grown lady, and so people don't find it quite so charming when I present with the above symptoms.

So anyway, I've got a day of grading ahead of me, and even though I know I've graded this much before, the mountain of things that I must grade feels entirely overwhelming. And I seriously do blame my upcoming sabbatical for this. This is not at all a complaint about the upcoming sabbatical - for I do realize the awesomeness of it, and I know it's a privilege to get a sabbatical, and I know that lots of people would kill for such a thing, etc. It's just that it's very, very difficult for me to maintain the necessary level of motivation right now with that on the horizon.

What's funny is that I haven't really allowed myself to count down to the sabbatical or to make any but the vaguest plans for it (other than my very detailed research plans). It's like I'm afraid that if I do that then I'll be tempting the Sabbatical Gods and somehow the Sabbatical will disappear. So, instead, as with Senioritis, I'm in this holding pattern where I'm just waiting for the school year to be over and where I have stopped giving a crap about what I'm doing right now.

But you know, maybe this was to be expected. I've been working like a maniac for the past 18 months or so - even more like a maniac than in the years on the tenure-track before that. Maybe I'm just totally burned out, and it's not the Sabbatical that is to blame at all? This could be true. But really, I think what's producing the above symptoms is that I'm seeing that moment when I will be able to leap off the treadmill of maniacal work. I think that if I didn't see that moment in front of me that I would still be burned out, but I would be managing much more efficiently and reasonably.

But so anyway, grading. I'm going to grade. I'm going to finish grading many, many things. I am. For serious. I will be a Sabbaticalitis Survivor, not a Sabbaticalitis Victim.


gwinne said...

I have Sabbaticalitis even though I am not going up for tenure until July. Or maybe I just REALLY need summer. I hope you have some good news on the home front soon.

PhysioProf said...

You're just fucking lazy.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

With all due respect to PhysioProf, I don't think you're lazy. There is something about the prospect of time to spend on something other than the usual grind that induces such feelings. Going back is similar: little things you used to be accustomed to now stand out as major irritants. But I won't tell you about that now.

Kris Peleg said...

hmmm, I am approaching the end of my sabbatical and I still have a pile of papers to grade before I leave on spring break tomorrow! yes, my sabbatical is teaching, but at least it's 2-2 and I have a TA which is so different from my home institution. and spring break? Nepal. an hour away.

Lesboprof said...

Doc, I am right there with you! They should announce the sabbatical the week before you get to actually take it. All of this waiting is making me NUTS! I need the break NOW!!

I am not counting down in some real way, but I know my heart is at least constantly thinking ahead to the day when I have no classes and no meetings. Sigh.