Even though it’s well past midterms, I’m definitely feeling the effects of mid-semester crunch.
This is partly due to how my semester is scheduled (two conferences in three weeks will make a girl extremely tired; especially when she’s still dealing with orals, work for various professional committees she’s on, teaching her class, and still trying near-futilely to catch up on sleep/sanity from the summer). But I think there’s also a certain degree of universality to it: suddenly, those piles of grading on your desk have a new urgency. The star-struck wonder and optimistic first few weeks of any fresh start (a semester included) has faded; this is where the real work begins.
With fatigue setting in, I’m having to return to my old “find the energy” axioms. Here are a few that are keeping me going right now; hopefully some of them can also add some inspiration to your day.
1) It’s fall in New England and everything is beautiful. I can barely move without
having to pause for a foliage picture (thanks to a new-found interest in photography apps for my pocket-robot, I have some great tools with which to capture these).
2) Fall also means pumpkin flavored everything. Though by virtue of having discovered a wonderful pumpkin spice flavor syrup recipe I am no longer limited by the calendar as to when I consume my pumpkin coffee, it’s still comforting to know that on days when I just don’t have time to make myself a latte I can rely on good ol’ dunks to provide.
3) Soon it will be winter. Winter is when a break happens. Winter is also when my favorite holiday happens. This also means that, very soon, I will have full social license to blast my Christmas Music for at least a few months before it becomes taboo again to do so until next year. Believe you me, nothing brings a smile to a poor downtrodden graduate student like pop culture icons belting Christmas tunes.
4) While conference season is stressful, it also gives me an excuse to wear my favorite tweed jacket. Though I haven’t had a moment to install the requisite leather elbow patches, that particular upgrade is definitely in the works and I hope to have it in place by the next wave of professional gigs which require professorly clothing.
5) Despite all efforts by nature to kill it, my herb garden is still going strong. As is my aloe plant. For those not in the know, I (until very recently) was self-titled DANIOR MURDERER OF VEGETATION (caps required for proper voice intonation). When my trusty bamboo plant was killed by a tragic fungal infection last year, I thought my days of caring for flora were over. However, convinced by my own tenacity, I managed to overcome my grief and acquire several new plant-friends. I don’t want to say this too loudly for fear that they might overhear and decide that it’s a great time to kick the proverbial bucket, but they may just be long-lasting installments in my life/office.
6) Even though I’m really tired, I know that I’m just one workout away from an endorphin high and a quick battery recharge. It’s not a permanent solution, but it definitely helps me plug along and plow through the multitudes of material on my desk (today’s challenge: several period fencing manuals, most unavailable in modern typesetting… the joys of archival/textual scholarship).
And on that note, perhaps hitting the gym will give me a little pick-me-up and help me through the rest of this afternoon.
I hope you’re having a productive day, and that the mid-semester slump isn’t hitting you too hard!