January, January January. This is my third one on the tenure track and every year there’s been something that just makes it extra special. My first year it was my first term teaching (I had course buyouts in the fall) so I was figuring all that out. Along with teaching we started Ellie in daycare (for a week until deciding on the whole stay at home dad thing). Ellie and I both got really sick, she had her first ear infection and I ended up getting walking pneumonia. My second year our cats got fleas and we spent all of January (and Feb) getting rid of them, constant vacuuming and washing of any fabrics in the house. This year, we’re not sick (knock on wood) and there are no blood sucking parasites currently living in our house (that we know of), so it’s definitely an improvement, but I am putting in way too many hours in front of my computer and in meetings. Most weeks this month I’ve had 2, maybe 3 days to do all the behind the scenes work that goes along with an academic job, before heading off to teach, or to meetings, or to travel.
Ellie has also been going through something developmentally. She’s so much more articulate than she was even a few weeks ago. She’s been insisting on dressing herself and using the bathroom without our help, which is awesome! However, it means that she’s so much quicker to get frustrated when she can’t do something independently. Her tantrums have been kind of intense (she’s never been a hitter, but she’s started hitting and kicking us if we’re in reach)… all I can say is that I hope 3 doesn’t bring more intensity! She’s also been waking up crying in the middle of the night, last night she yelled out that there was a big orange octopus sitting on the edge of her crib (granted she does have a big purple octopus stuffed animal, which she loves, but it’s not in her room). Luckily she got herself back down but it does interrupt all of our sleep. All that to say, we’re all at capacity when it comes to patience and empathy.
With all the toddler and work fun (ha!), I’ve been so focused on all the things that I’m not doing and not giving myself credit for the long list of things that I am able to do in the midst of chaos. As a new week begins, I’m trying to shift my mindset to hone in on all the things I am able to do.
Research? What is research? It feels like so long since I’ve actually done anything to move any of my projects forward. Granted, I did talk to a student this week about a possible project idea, so there’s that, and I met with a colleague about a paper we’re writing together… so there were a few research related things that happened, even if I didn’t set specific goals around them.
Course prep (condensed research course): My goals for the week were to finalize class 2 materials, lots of little administrative things (e.g., printing, confirming a guest speaker, updating the course page), and grade their first assignment (~13 1-2 page papers). Goal met? Yes. Taught all day Friday, always a good motivator for getting stuff done.
Course prep (online research course): My goals for the week were to create/finalize/upload week 5 videos, do a final review of week 4 content before it went live, finalize week 5 content, post an update in the class announcements section, review and respond to discussion posts, review and grade the first assignment (~15 1-2 page papers). Goal met? For the most part (although it did unfortunately require working over the weekend and in the evenings). I didn’t get around to responding to discussion posts in favor of grading their first assignment, and the TA for the course responded to his discussion groups, so at least some people got something constructive! I definitely need to rethink the flow of assignments/activities that require feedback for next year.
Course prep (condensed stats class and online human dev class): My goal for the week was to do one piece of course prep for spring term for both of these classes. Goal met? Nope, it wasn’t 100% necessary so I dropped it.
Advising: Had a few administrative things planned but did not get around to doing them.
service + admin
Applications: My goal for the week was to review 5 applicants. Goal met? Nope. I’m pushing this off until after I submit my 3rd year review
3rd year review: My goal for the week was to spend 30 minutes (minimum) updating my narrative. Goal met? Nope… It’s due on 2/4, so it will have to get done this week.
Planning: My goal for the week was to plan for the upcoming week. Goal met? Yes. I actually took time on Sunday to plan given that Monday/Tuesday are jam packed with campus visit related meetings.
Random admin stuff: All the little random administrative stuff has been piling up, and continued to do so this week because I didn’t do it! I feel like I need a personal assistant to handle things like travel planning or meeting scheduling or email responding.
Meetings: ✓online office hours, ✓faculty meetings (x2), ✓research instructors meeting, ✓TA check in, ✗preschool prep night (Mike and Ellie went to check out some preschools but I stayed home and did work, ✓colloquium, ✓research meeting, ✓teach
Too many meetings for a holiday week coming off of a conference trip!
Workouts: Goal: 3 workouts Goal met: Ha! Did not do a damn thing… my fingers got a workout at the keyboard.
Toddler on the Tenure Track: Goal: Get 2 posts up on the blog. Goal met? Nope, just one.
Meditation: Goal: 5 minutes every other day Goal met? Nope, not once.
Budget: ✓Update budget