Six more weeks of classes- the final stretch…

On this final weekend before the end of Spring break, and with just 20 minutes before I leave for my spin class (LOVE!), I’d like to give a quick update on life as of late. Not teaching this semester, for all of the initial annoyingness of it, has in fact been great. I have a lot more time and am a lot less stressed. Don’t get me wrong; I love to teach. I loved my students last semester. It’s just that…. let’s face it; teaching is tough. Grading is time-consuming. Lesson planning is time-consuming. Emaling with students is time-consuming. Do we see a pattern here, folks? Yep!


This added time has given me the ability to do a few productive things and a few unproductive things. Let’s start with the productive ones. I am well into finalizing my dissertation reading lists. This means that I will likely be one semester ahead of the curve in taking my comps. I have them scheduled for the end of August, meaning that I may be able to achieve the holy status of ABD (all-but-dissertation) by September. This means I won’t have to study for them while teaching (see above for possible issues with that), but will study for them all summer. This summer, in fact.  So now you know what I’ll be up to. I’m teaching a class from July to early August and studying for my comps June, July and August.


Secondly, I have been able to turn in an abstract for the MLA (Modern Language Association) conference in Boston, 2013 (the biggest one in our field, so very tough to get into– 2-3 speakers on each panel, most of whom are already professors and experts in their fields). I tried two panels last year, writing two different abstracts and getting two simultaneous rejections emails. Good times! Fingers crossed for 2013! I have also had time to write a paper for a conference I have at the end of March (ACLA- American Comparative Language Association) at Brown. The biggest conference (and the 2nd most important for our field, is LASA- Latin American Studies Association), which I’m attending at the close of May. I’ve had time to think about that paper too. Moral of the story, more time = more time for contemplation and writing. Duh! No wonder it sometimes takes grad student instructors 8-10 years to finish their doctorate (see paragraph one for an explanation).


Now, onto the non-productive (i.e. fun) stuff. My extra time has also led to two vices.


1. Pininterest- basically a site where you pin your favorite pictures of beautiful and interesting things from the internet onto virtual boards to share with others and admire yourself, simultaneously admiring others’ boards and wasting loads of time. It is a fun, addictive and time-sucking site. I can’t believe how much time you can waste. You know what? I love it. I resist the guilty, high-achiever in me by bolding saying that. I love pretty things. A lot.


2. Online shopping- I am part of a DC women’s cooking club, which has led me to become strangely interested in cooking accessories and kitchenware (bring 10 late twenty early thirty something’s together in a big city and I suppose this is bound to happen). I never thought this would happen. Having never been particularly domestic, lately I have been ordering a few here’s- and-there’s for my very tiny kitchen. You know what? Love that too. It’s nice to have some pretty kitchen stuff and if you can get it all very cheap with free shipping, what’s the difference between that and a T.J Maxx run to buy a bunch of crap you don’t need? No difference, my friends. My other online shopping purchases include a chair from World Market to fill out our larger 1-bedroom, which previously only had furniture to fit a studio, a side-table and a lamp. There, I said it. I purchased a few cheap items online and they are fabulous. In grad school we are meant to feel guilty for everything we buy that has an air of decadence to it (i.e. not books or ramen noodles) but come on. We all make the same salary and should be able to distribute it as we please. We stuck around here for Spring Break instead of going someplace fab, like Puerto Rico like some other friends, so I feel very okay with my recent online bargain shopping. Plus, the Swede recently got a new job, so we are fine for a while. See how we tend to calm ourselves down about shopping making a bunch of unnecessary justifications? Here’s to swiping the ol’ Visa without a terrible conscious. As the Swede told me recently– If you are going to buy it, you might as well enjoy it. I hope you all have been enjoying your indulgences without a moment of hesitation.


Okay, girls and boys. The clock says it’s time for spinning. Have a wonderful Saturday!





3 thoughts on “Six more weeks of classes- the final stretch…

  1. OK, you have to give me more information on these conferences – what kind of paper would you present at an MLA conference? How to revise the use of commas? I really thought MLA was just a guide our high school English teachers made us use…

  2. Miss Musings says:

    Elizabeth– that’s precisely what I thought about the MLA until entering academia. Even as an undergrad, where we were still clearly using the trusty MLA handbook, I assumed that’s all they did. It turns out that it is actually a gigantic organization for the humanities. They have a president, an annual conference (as well as advertising other important conferences), and are the most important organization involved in the academic job market. This means that I’ll be going there as I wrap the doctorate and will do interviews at their conferences, in hopes of finding a job. With regard to a paper, I would present something literary: let’s say representations of the female form in post-Colonial texts, to invent a topic. There is a lot more to say, so if you are interested in the more complete version, their website is a great resource.

  3. Never knew that about the MLA either. And I can identify with some of the time-suck of teaching. It’s so much more than my contracted hours. I do love it. But even with 8th graders there is still a lot of grading to be done and emailing with both students and parents. Good luck as you wrap everything up!

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