Thursday, January 10, 2008

How Does This Happen?

Every semester... and I mean every semester... I find that on the second or third day, I already feel behind. How does this happen? I work hard. I prepare. I don't lounge around on my "breaks." Where does the time go?

Let me hazard an answer to my own question. I think the academic life, unlike many other professional endeavors, is unique in this way: one is NEVER "off." As much as I hated it when I was doing it, I often find myself longing for a regular 9-5 job, where I could clock in and clock out, and at the very least I knew when I wasn't at work.

Sure, academics have a pretty sweet work schedule. A few hours a week and summers off. Compared to a regular 40-hr. work-week, that seems like a cushy deal. But the trade-off is that the time we're not at work is "work time" as well. There's always prepping to do. There's always something else to read. There's always a paper to finish. Or, if there isn't a paper to finish, there's one to start.

I imagine that the Younger Me is probably puking in her mouth a little bit at all of this whining by the Older Me. But a girl's gotta vent...

5 comments:

Doctor J said...

Meant to add this "PS":

ps- is the "Just Ask Challenge" a bust? I'm not getting any more questions...

petya said...

That's exactly the reason why I decided to leave academia. Academic life requires a very particular type of patience and discipline that I do not seem to have. That's not to say that I don't miss graduate school. I do. In fact, I miss it often. But I've realized that there are ways to carry all those things that I loved about it into my non-academic life.

Also, I think that most smart people like yourself tend to have very high expectations of themselves. You probably feel more unprepared than you actually are. ;)

Booga Face said...

true that

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

This is why I often consider becoming a convenience store employee (or if I didn't have a family, a trucker would be pretty sweet, I agree). At least then your free time is in fact free time and not time spent thinking about what else you need to be doing.

Brooke said...

I have the exact same thoughts about graduate school/academic life as you laid out here with this entry. Being told by your dental hygienist that what you want to do and study sounds "interesting, but will probably make you misunderstood" doesn't help either, which is what happened today at my routine cleaning. As if feeling conflicted already wasn't enough...