I'm keeping panic at bay today, fretting about how much work I have to do this week. There's nothing to be done for it except to keep breathing, do one task at a time, keep making progress, and remain confident that everything will get done by the deadline.
Thus, a list:
- Grade 29 one-page mini-essays on Huckleberry Finn. [Done]
- Grade 30 13 personal essays from my sophomores
- Grade 30 short creative writings on Act 2 of Othello [Done]
- Prep Act 3 of Othello [Done]
- update a software thingy for one of my non-teaching responsibilities [Done]
- Grade 28 in-class essays that my juniors are writing on Tuesday [here's where I broke down; something had to give, and I'll just have to wait to grade these until this weekend]
- Help lead a student leadership workshop on Monday evening [Canceled because of weather; hallelujah!]
- Prep a Huckleberry Finn discussion [Done]
- Finish revamping this year's version of my dangerous words research assignment [Done]
- Reread Chapter 1 of Randall Kennedy's Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word and prep for class conversation [Done]
- Write formal mid-year update letters home for all eight of my advisees, by Thursday at noon [Done for the five juniors, still have the three seniors' letters left to write]
- Department meeting on Monday, faculty meeting on Tuesday, faculty compensation committee meeting on Wednesday
- Literary magazine meeting and Friday night event
- Figure out remaining due dates, etc. in juniors' syllabus/assignment sheet through the end of the term [did some work; more to do]
None of these is a big deal in and of itself; it's just the accumulation of them. But in fact it's very helpful to see them all listed out like this, and now I have things to cross off one at a time, which will help me stay calm.
Plus there's various "real life" tasks that must be dealt with, not least the fact that the door locks on my car door have been working less and less consistently, such that as of this weekend I'm keeping the car unlocked so that I don't get locked out of it altogether. D. is going to take the car to the shop tomorrow, so I don't even really have to deal with it, but it's still adding a dollop of stress.
So what am I doing right now, when I should be working? Um, watching the first episode of the PBS American Experience program on "The Abolitionists." I was eager for a break, and D. and I finally saw Lincoln last night (and found it as amazing as we'd heard), and I've got abolition on the brain.
The good news is that if I can get all of this done this week, next week should really be easier, and I should be able to get back to working on the FGS history book, which is relegated to the back burner this week.
The other thing that has totally been on the back burner is health and well being. This morning I said to myself, "Well, I'll just exercise and eat healthily next week; I don't have time for it this week." And then I heard myself saying that, and thought "good heavens, what does it say about me and my priorities if work always gets a higher priority than taking care of myself?!" So I promptly put on my coat and went out and walked for half an hour; it was very cold, but the sunshine was good for me, and I'm determined to at least do a little self-care each day in the midst of this otherwise hectic pace.