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Where Do You Hide?
December 22, 2010 - 9:15pm

A couple of weeks ago, Lee pitched an idea for bringing several of us at UVenus together around a single question and Meg and I thought it would be a great way to end 2010 as we take a break for the holidays in the USA. We'd like to make this a monthly feature at University of Venus and we want our readers to participate! If you tweet your answer, one of us will post it on the blog for you.

Lee: I love how University of Venus brings voices from across academia and around the world, but I had always wished there was a way to bring our voices together in a more informal discussion about, well, whatever. The catalyst for me was reading Bitch Media's Grand Rounds blogger discussion about TV's Grey's Anatomy. The discussion was insightful, funny, and it felt like people I would want to talk to about my (guilty) pleasure. This, I thought, would be a perfect format for us at UVenus. I feel like I am a part of a family at the University of Venus. I think it's about time we get to know each other a little better and geek out and share that with the rest of our readers.

Where do you hide on your campus when you need to get work done?

Lee: I hide in my office. It's in a converted house just on the edge of campus and doesn't appear on any campus maps. My students can't find me, and the way the house has been partitioned, there is nowhere for the professors and instructors to congregate, thus we just huddle up in our offices. It even has a (fake) fireplace.

Denise: I'd like to say I have a place to hide on campus, but I really don't. The student center coffee shop? "Oh hi professor Horn! Can I talk to you while you try to eat that really messy sandwich?" The library? "Oh Professor Horn! I was just researching that paper--are you busy?" My office? "Hey Professor Horn, I know your door is closed, but do you have a minute for 12 of us?" So....yeah. I hide at home.

Afshan: The only place where I actually get anything done is at home—after the kids go to sleep! If I do work on campus, it’s limited to grading or preparing for class, and I do that in my office. ALL my other work happens at home . . . often in the wee hours of the night.

Deanna: I don't! Since I spend all day "working" on campus, I tend to do my "scholarly" work at home. Or I come in to my office on weekends in my socks and pj's and get twice as much done in half the time!

Meg: Recently, I have been working on drawing boundaries as part of my professional development. My favorite hiding spot is in my office, door closed, with a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. I have everything I need in my homey office.

Elizabeth: Despite Northwestern's notoriously poor relationship with Evanston, the university and the city create a fairly seamless community. As a result, I can't hide. Somebody finds me. Always. My husband calls it a small English village of 80,000. To make escape even less possible, I grew up here. If I don't run into someone from work, neighborhood or both, I will run into a friend of my parents. In truth, I love it and wouldn't change a thing.

Rosalie: Nowhere. If it’s reading or writing an article/book, I can’t do do this in our campus. We have a common faculty room where silence is impossible. The library’s serials section is the only air-conditioned room with the desired quietude, but the library being a hill away, it’s not worth the trouble hiking across searing heat or a downpour.

Mary: I like to hide in plain sight. Campuses are often unofficially divided into distinct faculty/student and administrative areas. As an administrator on a wireless campus, I can get a lot of work done in a comfortable chair in the corner of a student lounge. When I do run into other administrators, they are usually co-conspirators and they nod or give me a wink and move on.

Itır: I also do not, cannot hide on campus. Actually I am generally so busy that there is no time to hide. When I need the quality time on my own to do work at most is when I need to grade and when I need to write a paper. For both I need uninterrupted time which is a luxury to get on campus. So I also hide off-campus.

Anamaria: The offices at my various workplaces (I have a total of three) are spaces for interaction with my colleagues and students. The space for creative work, like writing, is my retreat at home. I have the luxury of a room of my own where I can just close the door and separate myself from the world. Sometimes I like to have another silent working person in the same room though, it works like a preventive means against procrastination, he he! I wish I could work in cafés, but I cannot concentrate (not even on reading, even less on writing)...

Heather: I currently work in an open area, near the main entrance to the building, so I greet a lot of foot traffic and visitors asking directions. When I need to focus, or when I need to hide out, I go to the dining hall. It is spacious, bright, and looks out onto the courtyard with beautiful stained glass windows. Between meals, the hum of students working and talking provides a cafe-like atmosphere.

Ana: I live in Berlin and my institution is in Romania. I am always hidden and have to work to make myself seen. I do this mostly by writing. I can send an article or a review or make a comment online. Sometimes, I make myself seen by attending a conference.

Happy Holidays from the writers at University of Venus!

Let us know, where do you hide to get work done?


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