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