Month: September 2009

Monday Morning Magic (oh I just love alliteration in the morning)

As much as people hate Mondays, I have to stay I’m starting to love them. They are the fresh start to the week, the get-up-and-do-it! day. I woke up with minimal snoozing today, and feel ready to kick some serious ass. We’re talking PRO-DUC-TIVE! I wish I could wake up like this every morning.

If you’re down and out because it’s Monday, don’t be. Change your frame of mind, be stoked. I like to think of Monday as the day that determines how your week will go. I’ve decided today is going to a great day filled with productivity which will propel this week into getting part one of my novel/thesis done.

Yes I can!

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The Job Hunt Begins

Okay so I’m currently working on getting job stuff ready for when I graduate. Deadlines to apply for professor positions end around November 1st and that is soon than I think most of us realize. October is about to bang down the door and November is creeping along, getting ready to surprise us with Thanksgiving and the end of fall. Jeez that is stressful to think about. So in an attempt to not miss any deadlines for job applications I’ve started working on my CV (curriculum vitae). Once I finish procrastinating by posting, I’m going to outline a cover letter for a job I saw posted on MLA’s job list–the only one I’m qualified for as of right now.

I’m a bit stressed about this cover letter because here’s the thing, it’s a document that has to be perfect and has to sell you to the department. While that may be easy for some, it also has to show that you are qualified and convince the hiring committee to request an interview with you at MLA.

So because the job I’m applying for seems to be looking more teachers versus scholars (you’ll know when you read the job description they use certain words that indicate one over the other) I’ll be using my cover letter as a means to highlight my love of teaching versus my hatred of grading papers.

When I’m done and hopefully in a few months after I’ve sent it to the school, I’ll let you guys know if I get an interview and of course chronicle that whole process. I don’t know how hopeful I should be at getting called for an interview. I know it’s so competitive and all and I don’t want to get my hopes up because I will then be crushed when nothing manifests.

For now, I’m going to write this thing, have my professors read and reread the revisions of it to be sure that they would hire me. Once that is settled then I’ll try to forget I ever sent it out, and move along on my thesis. Still I know I’ll be thinking about it, daily. I know this because I sent out some work for publication in June and haven’t heard anything and I am going bananas wondering if I am going to published. 

I will also visualize myself being interviewed and eventually visualize myself getting the campus invitation and then visualize getting the job. I can see it now, Professor [insert my name here]. I love it!

Sparknotes and Cliffnotes

Alright people, so I’ve mentioned briefly how many classes I’m enrolled in, I’m taking 3 literature courses and 1 workshop where I’ll be writing a screenplay, which is seperate from my thesis. Well, I have to have a book by Conrad read by Thursday and frankly I don’t think I have it in me. I will someday write about my utter hatred for Joseph Conrad, but not now.

Is it unethical? Wrong of me to spark notes this one book? I feel bad, but I have so much other stuff to do.

So you want to be a racist?

So, I was grading papers this evening, and for the first time in my teaching life I came across a paper that I’m going to label as “racist.” It is important to note that the students had to read an article suggesting that American colleges and universities have issues with diversity and community. The students were asked to propose a solution to this or prove that the author was incorrect and that there was no issue. Overall the papers were not that great, but when I came across the “racist” one I was forced to stop in my tracks.

First of all, the paper was not a good one. The quality of writing was not up to the level that I expect my students to write at. It was choppy and needed a lot of work with argument, thesis, and organization. That being said, the student then had a paragraph that had some pretty racist comments. The student was discussing segregation and how it wasn’t something society accepted, but it made sense for people to stick with their own kind. This was always qualified by the student suggesting that some groups made white people uncomfortable because of how they were different.  The student also wrote how people in one race only exposed to their own race would be uncomfortable around people different from them and would only communicate with their own race because of their comfort level. I’m paraphrasing of course but I think you get the picture. I would love to post the paragraph up here but I like my job, and would like to keep it.

I do not by any means want to make excuses for this student, but is it possible that maybe this student trying to say that people mingle with people they feel they already have a connection to, a similar background? Is it possible that the student is just using this paragraph as an example of that? 

To be honest, I don’t think the student realizes what they are doing. Or maybe I want to believe they don’t realize it. Think about it. This is this student’s first college English paper. If this student isn’t the great communicator, isn’t it possible that this is a mistake or should I say miscommunication, that happened late at night after trying to pump pages out?  

I’m trying to decide if I should use this paragraph as example when I’m teaching. I’m concerned, first and foremost, the student will be highly offended. I’m also worried that it will lead to a blowout in the classroom where students start spouting off and possibly over reacting.

Currently, I’m at quite a loss for words. Paper grading really takes it out of me.

No Pressure

The fall semester before graduating with a masters is a bitch. Not only do you need to bang out a thesis (in my case I’ve decided to work on a novel) but you’ve got to start applying for jobs.  Jobs that aren’t available until the following fall. That is how long it takes to get a job in this elite world of Academia.

Working on my CV: a document I’m told can have not one error on it. We’re talking the commas, the fonts, everything has to be perfect, is beginning to stress me out. According to my employed professors, CV’s must be perfect because getting jobs at universities is so competitive that Departments hiring are looking to get rid of any applicants. So if your doesn’t stand out, guess what you’re done, they put you in the reject pile and it’s over. That means even if you’re awesome, if you picked the wrong paper, the wrong font, and put a wrong comma somewhere you can forget a job. NO PRESSURE.

Because of my short time as a writer my publications section (the section that is supposed to be the most important) is lacking. I’ve got one solid, impressive publication and one other that is okay. Still I have to hope that the jobs that I can apply for will like what little they see and say yeah we’ll go out on a limb with this chick.

I’m also a bit nervous because the CV is one of those documents where the longer the better, well mine is currently at two pages. That is so sad. I guess working on this document is a reminder to send my writing out there. Rejection letters, here we come.

I will say, having been on the job hunt before, that succeeding, getting the job happens when you’re confident. And guess what? I am. I’m great teacher and any university would be lucky to have me on staff as a professor. This will be my mantra as I hunt for a job. Say it with me future professors of America. I’m a great teacher and any university would be lucky to have me on staff as a professor. One more time…

Beware Bulldozer Ahead

In an  attempt to stay anonymous I try not to talk too much of my life outside of teaching, writing, and studenting, but I think all the outside stuff plays a role in who I am as a teacher, writer, and especially as a student. Right now the thing that affects me most is my long distance relationship. My boyfriend lives roughly one thousand miles away from where I live and we’ve been long distance for three and half years this October. We’ve been dating for four years. That’s right. When I finish my course work this semester I’ll be moving to his city.

This past year I’ve become obsessed with calendars. I have a planner, a calendar by my door, and a large desk calendar. It’s like I’m perpetually counting down the days that move me closer to living in the same zip code as my other half. While it has never been easy, I can’t say that it’s gotten easier. Part of me thinks that being apart from someone you love plays a toll on you. There are days, and I’ll venture to say that today is one of them, when knowing I’m not going to him really impacts me.

It’s a good thing I’m a busy bee because if I didn’t have a lot to do, I’d go mental thinking about it all the time. The thing is, I’ve been reading Wuthering Heights. I blame Emily Bronte. It seems crazy but I’m about half way through and there is the scene when Catherine disses Heathcliff, he leaves and Catherine goes totally bananas. Nelly, the narrator, even tells Mr. Lockwood that the doctor had her on a kind of suicide watch. Now, I think it’s important to note, I’m no Catherine Earnshaw/Linton. I’m not totally nuts, and need to be watched for fear I’m going to throw myself in any river, lake, or other major body of water, but. And it’s a big BUT! (and butt, hehehe) I totally understand why Catherine can’t seem to take it anymore.

When I’m away from my other half, especially when I leave or he leaves there is physical pain. And yes, I’m crier, but I’ve learned these past four years, that there is no reason to cry, it’s not going to prevent my having to leave, or his having to leave, but I will admit (and I doubt he’ll read this…he also doesn’t know what I’m about to say, I’ve always been a bit embarrassed to tell him) there have been times when I’ve driven away from his house after a fabulous visit (and they’ve all been great) and cried so hard that I couldn’t see the road in front of me. It’s one of those things where it over takes you. The pressure in your chest is so strong, you either cry or your heart explodes within your chest cavity.

Okay Okay, so why am I tell you all of this sentimental crap? I should have probably reserved this for my journal. I don’t know. I think I need to know someone knows how shitty it is. Mostly, I wanted to talk about Wuthering Heights. It’s my second favorite novel next to Frankenstein. While, my boyfriend is no Heathcliff and by that I don’t mean he isn’t passionate, I more mean he isn’t a vengeful evil nut case. I think too because the semester is wearing me down I’m starting to have trouble seeing the road that leads to being in the same city as him. I guess I needed to make sure that the road isn’t blocked and even if it is, get ready because I’ve got a bulldozer.

Goals in Threes

Goal today: read three books, run three miles, drink three less cups of coffee a day than I do regularly. Although, I should put  a disclaimer in front of the coffee, because I drink espresso which isn’t half as caffinated as regular American coffee. Still my addiction is seemingly getting out of control. It’s bringing back memories of undergrad. I was at least 15 pounds thinner then. Maybe I should keep up with the coffee.

Off to reading land for me.