On Over-Committing

This year, 2013, my last full year as a graduate student, hopefully for all of eternity, I deemed “The Year of Showing Up.” In an effort to—I don’t know, make myself miserable? Destroy my family and my marriage? Increase my output of tears?, I decided to do it all, apply for it all, BE IT ALL this year. Again, why? Will all of this get me a better job? (I doubt). Does all of this make me significantly more happy? (This is debatable). So: why?

Many blogs and articles frequently discuss the difficulty of finding balance in graduate school, especially when you have a family and outside commitments:

http://www.gradhacker.org/2013/01/30/a-personal-experiment-in-happiness/ – I especially love this quote: “I realized I didn’t want to keep living like this, spending all of my energy working and thinking that it was ok because someday I’d be able to enjoy myself. I realized that I wanted to enjoy life now.” Amen, Katy!

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/mama-phd – this blog, one of my favorites, even posts as its byline “Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.”

http://www.gradhacker.org/2012/03/26/grad-school-guilt/ – favorite quote here: “It’s not a particularly healthy way to go through life, and it places a great deal of stress on every moment of the day, since even when I’m trying to relax, I know I could be working.” This is my life, in a nutshell.

One blog post even argues that the whole point of graduate school is a long journey to teach you how to say no:


And for added effect:


The short version for me is, it’s summertime. I have always bragged that I am the kind of academic who truly takes summer off. I know this practice isn’t always feasible, and this is a special year: one isn’t always finishing up a six-year PhD program. But yes, back to that short version: I need to slow down a bit, say “no” to a few more things, guard my time more jealously, be a bit more wise (read: sparing) with my commitments.

I may put this blog on hiatus all summer, and make it more of an academic school-year thing, much like the brilliant folks at GradHacker do: http://www.gradhacker.org/2013/06/18/gradhacker-summer-hiatus/.

I may slow down and post once a month, or only when I have something very important to say.

I will most likely post when my course for Le Cordon Bleu is up and running (it begins July 8th) and I find myself teaching a combined three online courses for two different institutions at the same time, for the first time.

I will definitely post when I attend COLTT, the Colorado Learning and Teaching with Technology conference, held every year in Boulder: https://www.cusys.edu/coltt/2013/index.html. I’m presenting for the second time this year, a workshop called “The Digital Dossier: Combining Effective Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship,” that I need to put together from scratch next month. I’m looking forward to tweeting from this conference for the first time.

I am very interested in the animal that is the academic blog, and I am not giving up. I am just stepping back a little. Not even that; I am just taking a much needed breath. The crunch of writing that last dissertation chapter, revising previous chapters and preparing them for publication, anticipating three conference presentations at two upcoming conferences, teaching a combined three courses online (one of them brand new to me: new platform, new institution, new rules, new pedagogy, new everything), and trying to show up in my own life and be a good mother, wife, sister, member of my church and community, etc., has all proved to be more than even I can handle. Can you see how shredded the syntax of this blog post is? As shredded as my mind, my friend; as frayed as my wee shuddering brain cells.

Pray for me. And, God bless you, GradHacker.


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