Now that that's off my chest...
Let me just say a few words about what I had actually planned to post about today.
Which is a reflection on Week One of the new academic year in this here new position. Classes started yesterday.
- I was surprised to find relatively not nervous I was. I guess two years of full-time teaching has really increased my confidence. Hooray for that - I think back to my first year of teaching, two years ago, and I was eaten alive by classroom-nervousness, for the first couple of months. I think last year, because it went so well, helped to banish that. Not that it's completely gone - I got some nerves just as my big class was about to begin. It's the largest I've taught. But I talked through them and felt comfortable and had them very engaged, by the end. So that's great.
- I have to say that I'm amazed, even after three days of being on campus and in the fray of the year, by how different things feel on the tenure track than they did when I was on full-time contract, those last two years. I was pretty immersed in the departments, in both years. But here, I really feel as if I'm inhabiting a different plane. This is not surprising, logically, of course. But I wouldn't have expected it to be so glaringly apparent. So yeah, it's the usual TT things, but they make a huge difference: there are grad students wanting me on committees, people pulling me into their offices as I walk by to have talks about "the long-term future of the program," a nearly unmanageable volume of emails about administrative/service things, etc. Of course, I also already tangibly feel the change in status - I feel more respected (which is problematic). It amazes me how incredibly quickly and intensely I felt the shift.
- It is also very clear to me how much it could overtake MY WHOLE LIFE. I could drown in it all, so for the first time I am making really very conscious efforts to block off time - like, essentially, the whole evening every night this week - in which I will not touch work. I came home so freaking mentally exhausted I couldn't have done anything even if I wanted to. Which is the product, of course, of the body's readjusting to the rhythms, and I know it will not always feel so taxing. But I think it's good/important to institute and guard my down time, where I can. To build that into the rhythms, too.
And today I'm getting back to my SSHRC application. I haven't really touched it in two weeks, and I am surprised to find that I am actually approaching it with relish!!? I think it's because it is making me seriously map out my project, its significance - and that feels great. I'm hoping to have a draft of the grant application by the end of the weekend, and am going to circulate it to a few people for feedback.