Today was the first real day of school for me (classes started on Thursday, but I have no Tuesday-Thursday classes). For anyone out there who wonders what an academic does all day, here's the blow-by-blow.
8:15 am Arrive at the office after the 10-minute walk from home, during which I realized that the freshmen hadn't been told that their class was meeting in the big auditorium rather than the seminar rooms listed on their class schedules.
8:30 am Hastily create fliers announcing that the class will meet in the auditorium. Deputize the secretary to go across campus to the freshman dorm to put them up on all the outside doors.
8:45 am Armed with a stack of fliers and a roll of Scotch tape, trudge around to the three buildings where the seminar rooms are located and put up a sign on each one. Worry that somehow, someone will miss them.
9:15 am Finally get a chance to sit down and check my e-mail. Realize that, despite all the work done over the past three days to get ready for the first meeting of the freshman class, the notes for my introductory talk have not prepared themselves.
9:55 am Notes in order. Time to take a break and fulfill my Ravelry Welcome Wagon duties.
10:15 am Take stock for the freshman class meeting in less than two hours. Need roll sheets for the students to pass around and sign. Print out roll sheets. Assemble class folder with examples of the four handouts, my seminar group's information sheet to be passed out after class, three copies of the roster, and my notes.
10:45 am Head down to the student center to pick up a quick sandwich before the noon class, since I have a student coming by at one, making this my only chance for lunch. Commiserate about kids growing up with food service working before paying for my Chick-Fil-A sandwich and bag of pita chips.
11:05 am Return to office and eat while reading A.V. Club comments.
11:30 am Pack the 170 copies of each handout into a paper box and lug them out of the building, around the library, and up to the health science center where the auditorium is.
11:40 am Wrangle the eight teaching assistants to help pass out papers as the students file in, greet last semester's students, answer questions from students and instructors about the complexities of the team-taught class.
12:00 noon Welcome back the 150 students, explain the materials, and conduct the first writing exercise of the semester.
12:40 pm Assemble my own group of 18 students and one teaching assistant, pass out information sheet, wish everyone a good weekend.
1:00 pm Walk back to the office with administrative colleague, discuss various issues regarding other colleagues. Concerns, hope expressed.
1:10 pm Check and answer e-mail. Assemble materials to write a letter for the tenure review of a faculty member at another university. Feel thirst.
1:50 pm Stroll to student center for a fountain beverage. On the way back, run into the student who was supposed to come see me at 1:00 pm. Take care of business while chatting on the sidewalk, exchange pleasantries during rest of walk back to the building.
2:00 pm Write three-page letter reviewing books and articles written by the faculty member applying for tenure.
3:15 pm Print letter and envelope, toss completed letter jauntily in secretary's outbox.
3:20 pm On the way out the door, get impromptu update from administrative assistant on student misadventures.
3:30 pm Walk across campus to gym.
3:40 pm All preferred machines full. Improvise on the stair-stepper for thirty minutes.
4:15 pm Walk home trying to fit in a few more pages of The Battle Over The Meaning Of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, And A School Board In Dover, PA.
Not exactly a day spent contemplating my bust of Plato and composing deep thoughts, but not a day in the salt mines, either. For the record, this was a day when I felt I worked pretty hard (the running around to make sure the first class meeting went well, the composing of the tenure review letter). World probably unchanged, yet balls kept spinning confidently in the air and nobody, as far as I know, let down. Not too bad for a Friday.