I have been such a lazy bum this weekend. Everytime I sit down on the couch I fall asleep. I think in another life I was a hibernating bear.
Posts Tagged ‘lazy’
So last Thursday I had a complete mental breakdown. I was severely depressed and my anxiety was back in full swing.
I’ve been having anxiety attacks for about two months now, and the only thing that gets my heart rate down and my breathing caught up is yoga. I needed to relax and it was really good timing that I was going to D.C. for the Rally to Restore Sanity this past weekend. I needed to get the hell out of town and forget my adjuncting woes. Funny how a Rally to Restore Sanity was actually able to help me restore mine. Thanks Jon Stewart.
The Boyfriend was worried about me and admitted to me that I was driving him crazy with all my complaining. I still feel really bad about this. He told me I had been complaining for a while–like two months–and he couldn’t take it any more. I don’t ever want to drive anyone crazy, especially not someone who loves and cares about me. He’s a great listener and completely understands that I need to vent my frustrations.
We were sitting in his car and he asked me about what was bothering me and I told him about how I felt like my students were depleting my nutrients. I wasn’t getting anything back from them–no stimulating conversations, no laughing, no good quality writing. I was getting apathetic, glossy looks and mediocre work. I felt like they were taking everything I had and giving me nothing in return.
While teaching is one of those jobs, I found myself thinking I might need to find another career choice. I actually thought, “maybe teaching isn’t for me.” My whole life I’ve been so sure that I was born to teach. Yes, I thought it was going to music at first but teach nevertheless. This is my fourth year as a teacher, and I can’t believe I may actually be burning out. I’m not happy about this. Because the Boyfriend is very action oriented he helped talk me through what I needed to do change my situation. This last sentence makes it sounds like he was dictating to me what I needed to do, but it was more of a “what steps do you need to take to get where you want to be?” and “how are you going to take them?” and “what do you think your next move should be?” It wasn’t like, “Hey One Mean MFA, you should be doing this and this.” Neither of us do well with orders.
Anyway, after many tears and used up tissues, I decided that I needed to stop with the super teacher bull. Being a super teacher is NOT going to get me a tenure track position. Instead, it will suck my time away from what is most important–my writing. So, I’m done getting papers back to them immediately. I’m done with all the caring, and going out of my way for them. Done. Done. Done.
I know this may sound incredibly selfish, and when I left for D.C. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually be able to pull it off when I came back. I have a tendency to say I’m going to do something (i.e. exercise) and then not. Although lately I’ve been good about actually doing what I’m saying. It’s the yoga, I think. It has seriously changed my life ( a yoga post to follow?).
It might be my first week back, but you want to know what people? For the first time in months–can you hear me out there?–months I actually sat down and did some writing. It felt great. Yes, I’m rusty. I’m hoping that maybe tomorrow I’ll even be sore. When I got back from work I got caught up in non-writing stuff and when I left for yoga I thought to myself, “you haven’t written one sentence.” Then I came back and took a pen to paper, which I later typed out since I do everything by hand–or at least start off by hand.
Also, the Boyfriend and I decided that I’m not going to talk about work, because the adjuncting thing is a side job. The writing is the real job. I haven’t really been talking about work. Usually I’m all–today my students did this or we were discussing that. Nope. No more. Maybe next week I’ll write even more. Regardless, it feels really good to have my f@$!ing priorities straight.
All of you out there? Have you done some writing today? If not, it’s cool, but what is holding you back?
In One Mean MFA fashion I’m writing a blog post instead of just banging out the last ten–really 8 pages of my thesis essay. The essay is a discussion of my influences, my process, and why I write. As with everything related to my thesis, I’ve waited until the last minute to complete it. I know what I want to write, but as is the case with any of the writing I do, it’s not the conception, or the characters, or plot, or whatever that troubles me, it’s simply sitting down to do it.
As you know I’ve been teaching high school English since March, and while I’ve been surprising more productive despite being busy, I find myself entering my apartment after a long day of teaching teenagers and being unable to do anything intellectual. I would wake up earlier to get some writing done, but my only qualm with this is that I already wake up at 5:30. How much earlier can I wake up? 4:30? I mean I would be able to get a good hour in of writing a day, but I’d have to hit the sack around 9ish and that is not going to happen.
Teaching wears me and while I know it’s going to sound terrible, I refuse to bring home any teacher stuff. All my grading and planning I do at school, at my desk, in my classroom. My first year teaching I used to lug around textbooks, papers, homework, and tests. Back and forth, I’d carry it into my house and work on it at the kitchen table; the same place I did homework in high school. Because I’ve been trying to stay focused on my thesis, I’ve decided that it’s more important to devote my kitchen table space to my work. Not my students’ work.
Still, even though I’m not grading or planning at home I can’t seem to get myself to be motivated enough to do anything when I finish teaching. I know I started teaching in the middle of a semester, but I”m looking forward to summer when I can have my days off to continue looking for an instructor or adjunct position in the area and get some writing done that doesn’t have anything to do with my thesis. Teaching high school again has really helped me decide what my priorities are and writing is definitely on top.
Making money is great; I’m not going to lie, but I can’t honestly say that when I wake up to go teach those high school kids that I’m truly content and satisfied. I found so much more happiness teaching college students how to write papers and got paid peanuts to do it. I got to see them grow as writers and thinkers. At the high school,I mostly witness new cheating techniques and different levels of complaints about how I chose the most horrible literature for them to read. I will say, on a positive note, that they are really enjoying the novel I’ve chosen for them; this is a refreshing change from all the complaining.
While I know everything will work itself out–I’ll get that essay done, finish those last-minute touches, and manage to be super teacher–right now I wish I had a little more motivation to finish the measly 2500 words I have left to write.
I will add, in an effort to be positive, I have been enjoying thinking about my process and what I learned about myself as I wrote my very first novel. It’s also quite awesome that I get to write about myself for 10 pages. Can’t complain about that.
Now that I’m feeling more focused and ready to work, I think I’ll get to it. Who knows I might get it all done tonight.
I can’t quite figure out what the hell is wrong with me. While I am tempted to say a lot of things, I’m really more concerned with one thing. Why the hell did I waste today and not finally just finish revising my last forty pages?
I woke up this morning and thought, “Make some breakfast, have your coffee, then get to work.”
Well, before I knew it I realized I had a hair appointment and then when I got back from that I decided I needed to get a tomato plant and other plants. I then returned from the garden center and got to work repotting some plants and well now it’s late, I’m tired, and I haven’t revised a gosh darn page.
The thing is, these final pages are due on Monday. If don’t turn them I can say good-bye to summer graduation. Shouldn’t that be enough of an incentive to force myself to focus? I mean really, hasn’t this project gone on enough?! Why do I torture myself like this?
Well, I’ve been wondering about this all day, as I worked on things other than my thesis. Instead of enjoying the gardening and hair appointment the whole time I kept thinking, “I should be writing.” This is no way to live. Instead of just getting it done I’m procrastinating. I’m like my students. GAH!
Could it be that I’m afraid to finish? I mean there is something scary about being done with this degree and not having any clue what the future will bring. While I’m well aware that regardless of if I finish I don’t know what my future will be like, it’s like when I finish this novel a large chapter of my own life will be ending and that is always frightening.
As my graduation day approaches, I have been applying for jobs that an MFA is more than qualified for, and as I receive rejection letters up the ying-yang, and my bank account quickly dwindles to nothing, I feel like starting in August life is going to be tough. Real tough. Not grad student budget tough, like I-can’t-get-student-loans-because-I-graduated tough and I can’t find a job because the market sucks. Which is scary because there are no jobs and while NPR reports the economy is getting better I can’t say I’m even close to being able to live comfortably. I basically spend my money on food and gas, both of which are expensive, especially when you love to eat fresh produce.
My most recent paycheck didn’t even cover my rent this month and once my bills get paid, I’m done. I don’t have any money. NOTHING. I’m not quite sure how I’ll be gassing up my car to get to a job that doesn’t pay me enough to even get there.
I think about all these things, as I procrastinate and I just hope that when I do finally sit down and focus, that I end up writing something so brilliant that Clint Eastwood decides he wants to turn it into his next masterpiece and I can retire early and just write forever.
While this is a dream, I’m quite sure it will remain a dream and not become a reality. In the meantime, I’ve got forty pages–that’s it just forty sitting next to me that need to revised by Monday.
It’s going to be a long night.
Did I mention I’m moving? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to look through my past posts to check. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it because it’s only been on my mind since I started grad school. I know I’ve mentioned the four-year long distance relationship.
When I started grad school I promised my boyfriend that I would do the program as fast as I could. Immediately I asked my advisor if I could do my thesis hours away. When it was confirmed that I didn’t have to live in town and could write away from my university I was set. I ploughed through my courses and well, here we are at the end of my final semester of course work.
While my program is supposed to be three years, it can definitely be completed in two. With summers and loading up on classes, it’s doable. It’s not easy, but if it was easy then everyone would do it, right? The major issue I’m having this semester isn’t my classes, or teaching, or even the long distance. It’s my thesis.
I stupidly decided I wanted to write my first novel for my thesis. I also decided it would be a good idea to move, and hunt for jobs. My rough draft is due, the latest January 1st. I’m hoping I can bang it out before then, but with everything that is going on, I’m concerned. My goal is to graduate this spring, but I would be okay with myself if I had to push it to summer. Though, I didn’t graduate from undergrad in spring, and there is something magical about graduating in the spring, I think. All my friends graduated in spring and it’s so exciting, and everything is new, the leaves, the flowers, the moon. It’s fantastic. I’d like to participate in a spring graduation. Also, my youngest sister is graduating from high school this spring, and I think it would be so fun to have two spring graduates hanging out the house.
Okay, back to moving. Come mid-December I’ll no longer be in a long distance relationship. It’s crazy.
I was talking to my boyfriend about this recently and he pointed out that he won’t be excited until I’m living there. He reminded me that a few days after I move in I have to drive back home in order to attend a wedding and be with my family for Christmas. Then he’ll be excited because I’ll be back for New Years.
Oh, and he forgot to mention that I’ll hopefully be attending the MLA convention in Philadelphia for an interview. If you want incentive to finish a thesis and graduate apply for a job as a professor that requires a masters, so you have to finish it in order to work. HA!
I have to say the moving aspect of my life has taken over. I’m obsessed. I go on the Rooms to Go website daily and Ikea and Target just to see what furniture sales and options are available. I’m so eager to move I’ve already set up my electricity and have been browsing internet and cable packages.
While decorating is exciting that is not what I’m stoked about. It’s knowing that in roughly a month I’ll be able to see my boyfriend everyday if I want to. That I won’t have to have anymore lengthy phone conversations, that I’ll actually get to cook for him and and and and! go on dates! No more movies alone EVER AGAIN! ooooh we’ll even get to do normal couple things like hang out with friends together, and watch tv together. Hell, we’re just going to be together. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
But I must focus. Thesis first. Excited second.
This upcoming weekend my boyfriend is coming for a visit and it’s the last visit we’re going to have as a long distance couple, and after four years of being apart, and many trips of meeting up in different places, and visiting each other. It feels so good to know it’s the last one. While we’ve had some great times, it’s feels really really really good to know it’s the last visit.
I must remember to focus. Think. Thesis.
Tell me if this has ever happened to you.
The past few months I have had a great idea for a story. At least I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been wanting to write this story for months and haven’t really gotten around to it. I tried a while back to buckle down and write it, but once I got down to it, I just couldn’t. I have a great first sentence which I’m thinking if (I should say WHEN) I ever get to teach creative writing will be a sentence I use to jump start an assignment, kind of like, “Chris can’t win.”
So now in my Word document I have this great first sentence and some other sentence and an outline for where I want the story to go but the prose is weak. It’s not enticing it’s trash. After trying to write this story a while ago I decided to give it a rest and work on something else. Thus was birthed my thesis.
Well, this story has been eating at me. I was doodling in class the other night and I had this great idea for the story, another great sentence, I wrote it down and now the itch to work on this story is back in full swing. So, I have decided that once I publish this post I’m not going to rest until I have at least the beginnings of a decent story. We’re talking a page or so. This has happened a few times to me. A story materializes in brain, but I can’t quite seem to nail it down.
I’m much better with deadlines and I’m thinking this story, which I believe has the potential to be fabulous (I hope I don’t sound arrogant. I will say that when I write something solid, something decent I know it. I have one story and two poems sitting on my computer that need to proofread and sent out because it’s good, I don’t know what’s holding me back. I’m pretty sure it’s laziness. Shame.) I’ve decided to write and share this story at a conference and then send it out in hopes that some literary magazine will find it wonderful.
So, I’m wondering how many of you have great ideas for writing and when you sit down to flesh them out the magic sizzles and fades? It’s been happening to me quite a bit and it’s frustrating. While I would love suggestions for fixing this, I think mostly I needed to get this problem off my chest. Thanks for listening/reading.
p.s. For those of you in MFA programs that are literature heavy do you have any suggestions for getting through say three lit courses and still having time to write. I’m taking three write now and a screenwriting class, so none of these classes are forcing me to work on my fiction and I do believe it’s stressing me out so much that just reading for class makes my heart beat a little too fast. Help?
Today during orientation my classmates and I were talking about, “if I had one more week of vacation” and one of my friends said, “If had one more week I’d just squander it” and I replied with, “that’s exactly what I’d like to do, a week of doing nothing.” This summer has been a whirlwind of classes, teaching, and writing. Unfortunately, I didn’t do as much writing as I planned, but I was very productive.
I noticed that while I was teaching and taking a class the second half of summer, my writing was totally put on the back burner and I now am really behind on my thesis. I know my thesis is mostly a matter of just sitting down and doing it, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to get my schedule in order.
During orientation as we were discussing our syllabi I realized how my “super teacher” attitude has been decimated. The past few semesters when I’ve had to design a course, I’ve always been super excited to pick the readings and write the assignments. That is one the best aspects of teaching, getting that fresh start every few months.
This fall, however, I find myself not really caring about the course I’m designing. I just want to fulfill the minimum requirements and be done by December, holding a rough draft of my novel ready for revision. Have I become a victim of the teaching assistant mentality? I know when I was in undergrad, I had teaching assistants who were clearly busy with their own work and put teaching on the back burner and find myself doing it too.
Since I was kid I’ve always done everything at 110 percent and now I’m getting ready to start teaching and I know I just can’t give 110 percent and do my thesis well; and while I’m a student first, I don’t want to disservice my students by only having them do the bare minimum. I do think that I put too much of myself into my teaching and too little into my writing and it should be the other way around and maybe grad school is the place where I have to learn to balance my needs and wants with others. If that is the case, I say, “bring it on world” because I’ve always put everyone else first and I think it’s time for a little “me” time.
I would love some suggestions on how I can balance teaching, writing and being a student. Maybe I just need someone to tell me that it’s okay for my students to complete the bare minimum as long as we both do it at 110 percent. Motivation please….
Classes and teaching start next week and I have yet to design my course. Thank God for the weekend.
I’m also about to enter my last semester of course work and I’m concerned that my thesis is going to eat up a lot of my time. I’m ready though to get this degree finished with. I will still have one more semester for thesis hours, but I’ve decided to do them away from the university. My decision has been totally vadidated after spending the week with my other half. I’m really excited to be gearing up to move to the same zip code as him. We’ve been long distance for almost 3 and half years.
While I’m not refreshed, I’m still really excited to get started with school. Part of this is because I’m taking some great classes this Fall and I’m ready to dig into some new books and write my ass off. The other part of me is excited because I just love being a student. Even though I bitch about how much work I have to do, I love a lot of it. I am not a fan of the stress.
I’m loading up on classes; I’m taking four, when the norm is three. I did this so that going away for my thesis hours would be possible. This Fall is going to be one of change. I’m going to be job hunting, thesis writing, and apartment hunting at the same time. I’m excited but not sure if I’m ready to work as hard as I’m going to have to.
The thing is, I either do the work or don’t graduate. I’ m ready to not be a student for a while; to start the next chapter of my life. Ben Folds has song called “Free Coffee” and there is a line in the song that says, “We all get new selves every seven years” and that is so true. I’m going to be writing on this blog seeking motivation and probably doing a lot of procrastination.
Well guys, I’m done with all my work. My silly school work and my paper grading. I’ve even averaged out their grades, just waiting on some lazy bone students to hand in late work (don’t worry, I am really just checking my mailbox, if they dont’ have their late work in F F F) and then inputting the grades into the computer. I am stoked. It is finally summer for me.
While, it’s been a super busy summer, in the midst of it I’ve learned some valuable lessons.
1) I can focus, if I put my mind to it. For years, as a pre-med student it seemed I was unable to sit down and do work. Maybe that’s because I have a deep seeded hatred for chemistry. I learned this summer if I really want to get it done, chances are I can do it in one sitting.
2) The focus doesn’t come unless you’re work space is clean.
3) Even though you have a ton of work to do, reward yourself if you’ve gotten a lot done. Maybe go to the $1 movie box at the grocery store and take a good two hour break. You’ve earned it. I have found that if I don’t get lazy every once in a while my brain is not as efficient and my work suffers because of it.
4) Your school work and work you WANT to do comes first. While I love my students to death ( I had a great group this summer session) my work comes before theirs. I know they want their grades as fast as I can produce them, but it’s important that I don’t neglect my work. After all I am student first, GTA second.
5) Organization is key. This final summer class I was taking, I was a bit lazy and didn’t get my binder organized and my shit together until the end. It wasn’t until the deadlines were listed in my planner and the dividers were labeled in my binder that I really was ready to focus. I noticed this also with my teaching stuff. I started off really organized, with “To be Graded” folders, “Graded” and “Teaching Materials” and because of this I managed to get my student’s stuff in order (Can you tell I’m so left brained?)
6) If an idea comes to you in the middle the night and you have to be up 7, who cares, write your idea down. I figure I’ll sleep when I’m dead (or on vacation, which is right now!). I can’t tell you how many great ideas I’ve had right before falling asleep that I have neglected to write down. Not any more. I don’t care if turning on the lamp is going to burn a whole in my eyeballs, it’s worth it.
7) It’s important to be social, even if you’re busy. I know when I don’t have human interaction I get a little nutty. Friends are a wonderful support to have, take advantage of the network you are a part of. Don’t, however, take advantage of your friends.
Well, that’s just some of what I’ve learned these past two months.
I think that’s enough Pollyanna for today.
I’ll be on vacation for two weeks, but I’ll definitely be posting while I’m away, especially since I have time to write now.
I am one annotated bibliography away from being on summer vacation and you know what? I can’t seem to buckle down and do it. On Monday after I finished grading student papers I went to the park to relax and read. Then yesterday, I spent an inordinate amount of time working out. I’m talking two and half hours. This morning I could barely walk, but I’m hoping in a month or two my tushy responds to the obsessive exercise that I have been doing. Today, I finished a silly assignment I knew wasn’t going to take any time on and went for a nice long jog. I then cleaned like a fiend and now I’m blogging.
Why in Haydes can’t I just finish this bibliography? Who knows? I’m hoping I get focused enough to get it done tomorrow so I can hand it in early. If I turn it in early I’ll skip class next week and get an early start to summer.
Wish me luck.