Friday, April 4, 2008

I hate you all

It's another whole ten weeks of winter over here. (Ok, we don't have weather here --- but we do have the quarter system.)

All you evil semester people. You are all complaining about having to grade midterms and essays over spring break and having to come back to do a big final push. Well I graded and submitted all my grades over spring break and now I have to go do a whole nuther course from start to finish.

I don't know if it's just me and the final lap or something, but it is really hitting me hard this spring --- going through another two weeks of absolute madness with students wanting to crash or switch, running me down in the halls furious because I dropped them when they didn't show up, no one in the dept. office except a horde of anxious seniors who all need to declare the major right now, another stint of learning a new crop of people's names and no textbooks in the bookstore and these can't be my instructor copies because they have nothing to do with the course topic. I swear, it's a huge hitch --- a two or three week hiccup --- that must make profs' productivity suffer compared to those at semester institutions. Plus the final indignity is that you will all be heading out for summer soon and I will have at least another month to slog. I'll probably hit the piles of midterms about then. I had that with undergrad too --- moving back home to discover all the shit summer jobs had been filled by the local high school students a month before.

There are good sides to starting up a new quarter --- grad students I hadn't seen in at least four years who I had seriously assumed had dropped out show up all of a sudden, and you know you have to find all about this --- but it is eating up all my time in ways I had not put into the plan, people.

Oh, and I've already had to give a lecture for the class I'm TAing ---- this will be a tough class to endure for too many reasons even to begin. Dissertation Buddy told me that if it's gonna be this bad, every time I start to rant about this instructor I have to go take it out on my dissertation, like a swear jar or something. I think that's a good idea.

The other problem with the start of a new quarter is that people start coming out of the woodwork all refreshed and start roping you in to other commitments right and left. When it's your committee members, the chair or high-level profs you want to stay on the good side of, you don't really have the option of saying no.

So I have been running about dealing with lists of teaching errands and bureaucratic errands for my student side and getting distracted by gossip and discussions and this week has been largely a wash from my side of the work. I am beginning to worry. Crunch time has officially begun. If any of you followed other people's blogs when they were desperately finishing up --- like Earnest English --- you will know just how grumpy and miserable it's about to get around here, so be prepared: what posting there will be here will be irked and snarly.

And by the way, what do you do when someone contacts you about a conference paper you're going to give? Do people ... actually circulate them to other people? And not worry about getting scooped or stolen? And how do you reply still keeping yourself in their high esteem if you ... haven't written the paper yet or reread the book? Or, really, not know anything at all about what you're doing?


Anonymous said...

i'm with you on the quarter thing. i hate that they end in may. but i love to start in sept. and re: your paper, i would respond that the paper is still in progress and you can send them a copy once you have concluded your research. then just send it out only after you've submitted it to a journal, or presented it at least, but with a first pager where you say that it cannot be cited w/o the permission of the author.

Belle said...

I hated the quarter system. They kept telling us that it was the same number of hours as two semesters, but it sure felt longer.

Justme has a good plan. I've never found anybody to abuse the info copies, but why risk it?

St. Eph said...

Your quarter pain is my pain. Actually, though, I hate this point far less than I do the late-May/early-June part where everyone else is reading trashy novels and going out to sunny spots, while we're trying to maintain motivation for the last month.

More positively, though, this is your homestretch! Go, Cog, go! Or, rather, complain! But finish!

Dr. Curmudgeon said...

If it helps any, I'll be starting summer school teaching just as the term is finishing.

I liked quarters except for the last half of the third one because everyone felt it so badly. But they were always like sprint. Good luck with your finish.

Bardiac said...

At SAA, and usually Midwest MLA, papers are all pre-circulated, and I've never heard of anyone having a problem. Feel free to write up on top that it's a draft, of course, but unless the scholar has a really horrid reputation, I'd give him/her the benefit of the doubt.

Sisyphus said...

Thanks for the encouragement peeps!

Ok, so I hear what you're saying about not worrying with the paper-scooping thing --- what about the whole "I have neither written nor thought about nor have any expertise on this topic yet and oh yeah I'm a grad student not a prof" part?

I mean, I'm not even going to be thinking about this topic until I have to write it up in a frantic rush right before the conference (which is a long way away). But I suppose I should email this person back much sooner?