Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last Day of October

.... and here it is the last day of October!  How in the heck did that happen?

This means that I have roughly about 6-7 weeks to finish up the major writing in my dissertation.  A possible feat but one that keeps getting harder in the face of work problems and personal issues.  One thing I need to work (we will call this goal #1) on is keeping the work "problems" at work, not to let them to continue to linger in my head far into the night.  In particular, I am not doing a very good job this semester at connecting with students who have a bone to pick with me (maybe they don't like certain policies or don't follow directions but then complain, or .... well, you get the picture).  I used to think I was pretty good at being patient.  Yeah, not so much anymore.  As much as I would like to blame the accumulating number being added to my age, I think sometimes I am just grouchy because, well, I am just grouchy.  It probably doesn't help that I am stressed pretty much all the time about the dissertation.  And  my research is directly connected to what (and how) I teach.  So it's hard for me to go home and separate "grad school Dianna" and "teacher Dianna." I know so many super good teachers (and I am not putting myself in this group, mind you!) who dedicate themselves 110% (or more!) to the fabulous art of teaching but then are blindsided by students who express only apathy and boredom.  Perhaps as a part of our job in teaching writing, we rhetoric/ composition people need to work on way(s) of encouraging our students to better see writing and rhetoric as important "concerns," perhaps even more important than Facebook and Jersey Shore.

So goal number one:  Try to keep work stuff at work because it's going to drive you crazy if you don't do this!

What about goal number two?  Try to remember that revising (and playing with text) is fun.  I know that sometimes I am so overwhelmed by all the things I don't know that even something that I usually love to do -- revising and playing with language -- becomes a hard task indeed.  And truth be told, all of a sudden a marathon of Jersey Shore sounds like a good idea!  (I think this is called "evading responsibilities!  And no fears -- I haven't gone that route quite yet!)

If I could just manage these first two goals for the next six weeks or so, I imagine that will release enough energy for me to focus completely on what I need to do in order to get this darn dissertation done.  Of course, I also need to strangle that voice that keeps saying that I am stupid and can't complete this project.  In many ways, I think that voice has always been there (why o why is validation still so darn important to me?) but she needs to shut the fuck up.  Seriously.  Walk the plank babe!

So perhaps this is, indeed, the third goal -- pay attention to the small beauties in my life.  I have the best cheerleader a person could ask for in Jim (who loves me no matter how grouchy and mean I can sometimes be!). I have some fabulous students and co-workers.  Witty friends in real life and Facebook make me laugh and value human connections!  I still love going to the gym and doing yoga (the few times a week I can fit it in!).  I believe in the research I am trying to write up.  And tomorrow starts the post-Halloween chocolate sales.  Life is good.

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