January 17, 2005
Restating the Obvious
Yes it is true that I have had my nose to an academic grindstone for a long time. As an undergrad at Maryland, I took summer and winter courses each year in addition to a full courseload during the semester (except for the first, when I was terribly unsure how much I could handle and I took 12 credits—still full time—instead of 15).
I had Spring and Summer 2002 off, but I sold a house, bought another one, and moved. Hardly relaxing. I took a week off last summer, after finishing up a summer class in German. Then came my boss' departure, the new boss' arrival, and less time than I had expected to prepare for my prelim. Then Mookie died. It was a pretty horrific semester, all told.
I have taken three courses each semester since I began grad school. I was told that this was a normal load, but I am beginning to realize that most grad students do not take this many courses each semester. Of course, it is hard to finish all the requirements in time to finish both prelims inside three years, as is required in order to guarantee funding. So far, I have not heard of anyone being denied funding as a result of failure to complete exams in a timely manner.
The big question remains: Is it fair to me expect that the nature of the stress or the amount of it will differ in any significant degree as a junior faculty member? Granted, not all colleges are not Research-1 universities, and the need to publish is not so great. But still, I will be expected to publish occasionally at least and to teach. And the stress of another large uncompleted project will inevitably loom ahead. Will I be happier then? THAT is the question.
Posted by webs0080 at January 17, 2005 11:32 AM
Did I understand correctly? Guarentee doesn't mean that they neccesarily withdraw funding if you don't complete the studies in their time frame? Surely there exists someone at the University who can answer that...
Beyond roof over head and daily bowls of rice with contorni,'Happiness' is pretty idiosynchratic. YOUR happiness, of course, can only be determined by you, which doesn't mean it is irrelevent to others. When I care about people, I care also about their happiness, despite recognizing the need for individuals to create and follow their own self determination.
You've been an extremely diligent, hardworking and focused young man, and maybe in this period you are not feeling gratified about where this has brought you. The fears of failing or continually being behind some ideal aren't very inspiring prospects...
The Eric I know, has always been multifaceted.
Who isn't, right? What I mean to say is I've always seen you as an individual particularly requiring and expressing various interests simultaneously, love, cultures, languages, vehicles, nature, music, art, psychology, film, humor, philosophy,finance,dictionaries, teletubbies, management, friendship, food, business, animals and where they shit (practically anything and everything besides geneology)hairdoos, minute details of facial expressions etc...I'm guessing, but I believe this may have something to do with your well being, multifacetedness has always been part of your inner wealth ie. health and happiness.
Unfortunately,the nonlinear and orchestrally harmonic happiness folks don't always get they recognition they deserve from structurally sound academia or it's terms for success(menagia).
Don't let ANYONE mess with your midlife crisis. It's yours and you CAN beat it. Good ole Mr. Rogers ( HIS neighborhood) said, " Be brave, and then be strong."
The English department wants you to take 3 courses per semester when you're on a departmental fellowship (i.e., they aren't making you teach), and two classes per semester when you are teaching.
The "how will I survive as jr. faculty" question is what drove the final nail into the end of tenure-track-career coffin for me. I figured that if I was spending so much time on one class per semester (and being miserable for the whole thing EXCEPT the in-the-classroom portion), how would I survive at a teaching school where a 3 course per semester load would be the minimum I could expect?
Because that's the trade-off. Sure, you could try to find a job at a research-1 institution, maybe get a 2-2 gig, do a lot of writing/research/university-department service/etc. Or, you could find a job at a teaching institution, where 3-3 is probably the lightest load you'll find (and even that's rare), where you're still expected to research and serve the department and university.
Are you sure 34668 of this?!?