In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the home stretch. This is the time of the semester when most professors' and students' fuses are the shortest. (In administration, the late April to mid May stretch is the worst.)
It's predictable -- hell, it's annual -- yet somehow, it's always a little surprising. Like pain, it's easy to forget until it returns.
For students, this is when deadlines and reality hit. Since all the classes are on the same cycle, they all culminate at the same time.
For professors, this is when the grading starts to snowball, the student confrontations escalate, and the various end-of-semester deadlines loom. It's also time to prepare for the holidays. And it gets dark early. And cold.
I miss teaching, but this is the time of year I miss it the least. Oddly, it's also the time of year when having a teaching background is most important. This is not the time to go to anybody with a time-consuming request, or to bring up a controversial new topic. It's the time of year to shift to pure 'support' mode. There's enough stress going around without my office adding to it.
So, since I don't say this nearly often enough, let me just send some gratitude to all the faculty, t.a.'s, and staff who are among my wise and worldly readers. Your readership means a lot to me, and your daily work is what makes mine matter.
Hang in there! You can see the finish line from here...