Friday, May 4, 2012

Are we there yet?

I don't usually complain about my life or my work. I have an amazing life, full of love and joy from those around me every day. My job is meaningful, my students are astounding, and my colleagues have so much to teach me.

But I've had a crummy week for a lot of reasons, and I'm ready for it to be over.

First, for exam week when classes aren't meeting and only grading is left to do, I've been incredibly busy. There have been meetings and presentations to attend. My students' projects generated stacks of data that I had to design receptacles for, and once those spreadsheets were prepped it was less work to do the entry myself than to train someone else to do it. I expect my pace to ease up a bit during exam week, especially given the exceptional grind I've undergone throughout April, but it seems like I'm still working flat out.

Second, I've been engaged in a knock-down, drag-out, slow-motion struggle over multiple e-mail threads with various segments of a group to which I belong. It's about process and principle, personalities and priorities. It's been ugly and frightening at times, frustrating and angry-making most of the time. I get sucked into composing extremely carefully worded messages, trying to say exactly what I mean and no more, expressing a dissenting point of view to keep it alive in the face of efforts to declare premature consensus, and then an hour later have to come back and do it all over again. It has left me exhausted, day after day. But it's trench warfare; I'm fighting as hard as I can just to stand my ground. It's hard to know whether any progress is being made.

And yesterday I was entrusted with a confidence I'd rather not have been given. It's a burden. I've done what I had to do with it, but every time it crosses my mind, I feel the heaviness. The world is sadder and more complicated than it was before I knew it.

I was looking forward to my first date night in months with my husband tomorrow night, and then I got the news that I was working all three commencements tomorrow instead of the one I had been previously scheduled for. I drew the line at working two and spending my whole day lining up and sitting in a gym, rather than my whole day and part of my evening, which would have entailed canceling my long-awaited dinner and a movie. Such a simple thing that I have wanted for so long, but for a moment it seemed the universe was telling me it was too much to ask for. An appropriate cap to a week that has piled on the stress. I'm still waiting for the payoff for what feels like some of the hardest work I've done in years.


StephanieV said...

I'm sorry you had what sounds like such a truly crappy week! If it makes you feel any better (it probably won't) I had one of my worst semesters ever for a lot of the same reasons you listed. Maybe there's something in the air.
But thank God for my students; they have always been the bright spot and they still are. I hope that during these three graduations (arghh!) you can at least reflect on the difference you've made in the lives of these wonderful young people about to go out to conquer the world. And I hope you get a date night VERY soon!

Pilgrim said...

This too shall pass.

It will all work out.

Maybe I read these wise sayings somewhere, but maybe not.