Towards a moment of relaxation

Three weeks ago, I was in a bit of a panic. Classes ended, and I was faced with an imminent future of four days of student meetings, followed by the submission of 59 (8-page) papers to grade. On top of that, I had a list of things I needed to accomplish in May, including two 3,000-word encyclopedia entries, a 1,500-word encyclopedia entry, and three 800-word encyclopedia entries. (At the very least, the 3,000-worders had to be done by 31 May, but I wanted to get the rest done.) And did I mention I was about to support the May 2010 workshops on Using Technology in Your Research, was drafting a blog post about that workshop series with a colleague, and at the same time trying to pull together the first incarnation of my teaching philosophy statement for a consultation with our campus teaching center?

I wasn’t quite overwhelmed, but I felt the pressures of so many things approaching. I knew – realistically – that once I did all the meetings and functions required in the first two weeks of the month, things would be better. I devoted a weekend to grading. And in the day and a half of personal work time available to me in those two weeks, I drafted the first long encyclopedia entry and made progress on sources for the second.

Finally, there was this week. With the other responsibilities over, I looked forward to this week – it offered three days in which I could do nothing but my own work, which is always a fantastic find after about of crazy-schedules-of-obligations. And here I am at the end of it, sitting on my couch at 10 o’clock in the morning, realizing that I accomplished my goals. The encyclopedia articles have all been submitted. I did a phone oral history interview with a wonderful woman yesterday, and this afternoon I’m off to meet with another veteran.

I still have things in the week to come, of course. This is what happens when you set aside nearly a whole month for an event like the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History – but the things for next week are less pressing. There are some interview transcriptions to do, and another interview Thursday. I plan to revamp my CV entirely – in terms of design – and make sure it’s updated.  I hope to make this site more robust (finally, I know). And I hope to do some reorganization of my files and some routine backups.

But all of that? That’s easy. That’s minor, and allows plenty of time for a little fun. Like a trip to the movie theater. And some TV. Or like today’s plans – the mall. I can practically taste that Chick-Fil-A already.


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