Okay, well, once again, I have found that I have over-committed. This semester was (and is) like a roller coaster that has whisked me on down the track. If I want 30 minutes with my husband on the couch in the evenings, if I want to be able to see my children in any capacity beyond providing for their immediate basic bodily needs, then I have had to jettison “extras” like this blog, like submitting an article for publication, like writing new abstracts for CFPs. I am well aware that academia does not see these activities as “extras” at all and instead finds them integral to a well-rounded candidate. I guess a well-rounded candidate I am not. I have tried, and tried, and I am now reaching the end of my rope. Here’s why.
- I’m teaching three classes right now: one online, and two face-to-face. The grading, prep, commute, lecture, and communication time with my almost 100 students is, quite simply, astronomical.
- I’m serving as a Curator for Lori Emerson’s fabulous Media Archeology Lab: http://mediaarchaeologylab.com/. In this capacity, as often as possible, I need to sort through and properly label museum artifacts. I’m working on computer monitors and TVs now.
- I’m finishing up my dissertation. I have three chapters of revisions waiting on my desk to finish, and I’m awaiting revisions (two rounds of them) on a fourth chapter. I need to draft (and submit for revisions) my Introduction and Coda ASAP.
- I’m on the job market – ha ha! Yes, I thought I’d just add to the chaos and try to find a job amidst all this bustle. I’m extremely ambivalent about the entire process, from application to job and the hours all of this will entail. I hope that I’m not alone, that every job candidate feels this ambivalence. While I’m applying for jobs all around the country and even in Canada, I’m becoming more and more unsure about uprooting the family for a job that will probably be far from any pre-conceived “dream job” of mine. I’m extremely interested in online adjunct work, but the major downside to that is the adjunct part. I’ll be trading in my PhD for a lifetime of low wages and no benefits. The upside to this is a more flexible schedule, being home with my kids for the long-term, and not uprooting the family from the state and community that we love. Anyway, every single weekend is spent searching and applying for jobs.
- I’m scheduled to deliver not one but TWO presentations at the upcoming MLA convention in January. I haven’t even completely read the book that one proposal is based on. I have to completely draft, edit, create visually-appealing presentations, and be ready to roll by January 8th. I was going to do this over Christmas break, but now it appears…
- I may be teaching two separate sections of upper-division online literature classes in the spring, which means I will need to completely design and upload both classes over Christmas break.
This might sound like a typical workload for graduate school, and indeed it is, but don’t forget that I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom to a five-year-old and a two-year-old. Yes, my husband helps out a lot, but I have no nanny, no housekeeper. There is currently a hamster on the loose in my house, and piles of laundry in the basement. I need to get the kids’ Halloween costumes, and go buy candy. My ten year wedding anniversary is coming up next weekend, so no working that weekend.
Suffice it to say that if you want to have a “balanced” life between academia and your family, perhaps see your friends every once in awhile (this I have not been able to do) and go to church (I’m hanging on to God until the bitter end), it all results in a puzzle that is impossible to solve. Impossible.
Just now, my daughter ran into my room and started jabbering at me. I said, “Sylvia!,” sternly, and she responded, “Skedaddle!” and ran out. Yes, my daughter instantly knows to leave me alone. Oh, the parental guilt.
(And yes, I know I need to add a picture to make this blog visually appealing. I just don’t have the time.)