Friday, June 8, 2007

Random Bullets of Sociability

  • I got hardly any work done this week. (I never count "showing up for lecture" or "leading section" as work work, and really I didn't get much more than that accomplished. Maybe I should go back to counting that ... that and getting dressed in the morning.) I did get lots of social chatting done this week ---- I must have run into everyone in the whole department in various places as we all finished our classes and did evals, and spent lots of time avoiding my writing or interrupting people who were doing their work. They did not seem to mind.
  • As my sociability --- face-time with other people in my department --- goes up, my overall happiness goes up too. But, my productivity goes down at the same rate. However, if my happiness level gets too low, my productivity also takes a nose dive. I'm sure there's a graph or an equation in all this. If I only knew how to balance short bursts of interaction with living in a cave, all this would be solved.
  • I accidentally had a double shot mocha when I ordered a single, and soon afterwards trapped a fellow grad in the corner of the mailroom/lounge, talking her ear off at a mile a minute. It didn't connect up to me at the time how uncharacteristic that is of me. I wonder if she thinks I was a little spun. Hoo! More rumors about me for the department.
  • I also went to a meeting and now am worried I talked too much in it (caffeine was not involved this time.). But hey, I am a busybody and love to give unsolicited advice (as you should note from this very blog), and if you encourage me to stay for a meeting I will give all sorts of suggestions and caveats about the program's future even though I plan to get a job and get out of here as soon as humanly possible.
  • I've forgotten just how depressing grad school and the job prospects are; while I know all the details of the horrible job market and the treatment of adjuncts, I have worked through the rage and arrived at peace with this. Not that I'm at all ok with the fucked-up state of grad funding and jobs and academia, but I no longer blanch at it in horror and can actually have a very matter-of-fact, not-at-all-depressed or bitchy conversation about it. New grad students cannot, and I keep forgetting this. I think I accidentally gave someone new a heart attack with my comments when I was actually in a quite good mood, and everything I said to make the situation better just terrified the grad student more. Oops. Sorry 'bout that.

I need to chop up my article; I need to grade things. I vow to go do these in the library next week rather than thinking I can go into the comp. lab or lounge and actually do work around other procrastinatory people. I always mock people who think they can get their work done in the same place as Gossip Central and inane questions from undergrads looking for the mailboxes and people doing the 24 Hour Faculty Watch as they lurk for an absentee advisor, and now I have backslid to become one of those people. Hunh. I need to get back to a better schedule and do my work alone, with short sociable breaks in the English building. I need to return to my previous status as one of those names on the mailboxes that makes new grads go "Sisyphus T. Cog"!?!!? Who the fuck is that??? Is this person even still around anymore? I've never seen her!


Earnest English said...

Wow, I'm pretty amazed that your socialiablity factor is so high. I've been avoiding my department like the plague, but perhaps that's because I've decided I'm a professor and they're just not hip to that. People in my department have actually said to TAs-turned-lecturers "you'll always be a grad student to us." OY! So I applaud your happiness-to-socialness quotient. Perhaps make chatting with peeps your reward for good work? (Personally I have rewards for everything -- I definitely deserve a latte if I work - so I get that first -- then I deserve, deserve, deserve -- this is how I gained 20 pounds though -- but got a diss drafted in a couple months.)

A bad week means you're due for a good week.

Sisyphus said...

Well, ee, I'm still a grad student, and one who's been here for a very long time, so I might make people feel _better_ about their own lack of progress than someone who's a new prof.

And most of my sociability went like:
Grad Student: So, what you readin'?
Me: I'm revising this to send it out. Why are you here today?
GS: I pick up student papers in an hour.
Me: Me too! God I hate grading blah blah blah blah...

And so we'd go on and on about nothing. This was definitely not deep and meaningful, nor involving professors. Nor, really, as relaxing and pleasant as lunch or drinks out with these people would be, as we had our work literally on our laps to remind us and make us feel vaguely guilty.