A week before a new semester begins, this is what I am thinking. May blurred into LSU in June and CWP prep. July was totally consumed by CWP as was the beginning of August. Then, once it ended, it was time to commit to another year: meetings, conferences, symposiums, and planning. Syllabi are upon me, as are deadlines for completing projects that are creeping up. Time off? Eeks. I do this to myself.
Perhaps I'm growing cynical with 19 years of teaching, but prepping for the class and knowing the routine makes me a little nervous. I want to continue the patterns of the last two decades, but I'm also thinking about saving myself in the patterns I set for myself. Can I do less? Should I do more? Where is any of this going and for what?
When I woke up this morning I held a little 'prep' rally for myself to get myself motivated. I realized that when I get in this funk, it's probably time for a top ten list. So, here it goes:
- Each year presents a new opportunity to interact with individuals I've never met before. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. Share knowledge and don't let the notion of expertise fill your britches.
- Organize and plan. You know that it takes 15 drafts of everything you write before you send it out into the world. You don't work well at the last minute, so don't wait until then (you know you rarely do).
- Keep running. The temperatures are cooling and soon you'll be moving indoors to the gym anxiously waiting the outdoor rendezvous of warmer months.
- Don't break anything or get sick. That always sucks.
- Take breaks. No, seriously. Take breaks. Detach from the routine and do new things with others to keep your mind alive.
- Implement the data plan. You have collected a lot of data and you need to organize it to begin letting it tell you what it all means.
- Be there for others. You know you prefer that than actually working and that, in the long run, all the work hours aren't what's important.
- Read. Put yourself to sleep by reading for pleasure - not just for academic purposes.
- Breathe - that is tremendous advice.
- Finally, stay in the moment. You live a fortunate life in a fortunate country during a fortunate time of history. Yes, there's chaos everywhere, but chaos is what keeps this globe spinning. Everything evolves at exactly the right time. Enjoy the journey.
And with that, I'm going back to work. It's Saturday and if I can get ahead this weekend, I will be able to tackle the tremendous amount that awaits me in my office.