Bring it on, but be gentle

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….

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