October 21, 2010 § 1 Comment
I’m stunned that my last post was over a month ago! I’ve been fairly busy–October has essentially killed me. Maybe that’s hyperbole, but you get my meaning. This month has been chockfull of financial woes, dissertation woes, conference paper woes, grading woes, traveling woes, health woes, and fitness woes.
But maybe I’m not being fair. I might be coming at this from the wrong angle. My life this past month hasn’t been all bad. In fact, most of my life has been quite good. Although October has been uncommonly busy, and although I have had my fair share of stressors, I can say that generally I’m in good spirits. One of my favorite October stressors (eustress, mind) was that my very good friend A.Mo came to visit us at the beginning of the month! Why is her visit considered a stressor at all (eustress or not?), well, because I got to have a lot of fun running around with her as her photography assistant throughout her visit. And, if you’ve never served that role before, it’s definitely a fun sort of stress. I enjoyed carrying around her ridonculously expensive camera equipment (I was an extremely careful walker during those hours…I knew that if I should but trip…cringe), wrangling adorable dogs into unlikely positions by way of a cookie, and scouting out locations like treasures. We had such fun with her in town, and I can’t wait for her next visit!
Another highlight of the month, albeit a generally stressful one (and only sometimes eustress-ful), was the conference I was fortunate enough to attend last weekend. I presented a portion of my dissertation chapter (a much, much shortened, much, much condensed version of my current chapter) at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference in Montreal. I enjoyed the panel I served with, and I had a great time fielding compelling and thought-provoking questions from our audience. I felt a resurgence of energy and passion for my topic, which couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. I also picked up a book to review in the Sixteenth Century Journal, which counts as a publication if it gets in. This is good for me because publications combined with job experience can only make a candidate that much more appealing to the market in general.
Despite my brief shining moment at the conference, I did fall disastrously ill while in Montreal. On our flight up, a woman carrying what I am convinced to be the Bubonic plague, attempted the entire trip to hack up her lungs either through her mouth or her nose. She was disgusting, at best; and she was tremendously infectious, at worst. Yes, yes, even upon boarding the plane, the woman chose me to speak to–and of course she would choose me since I had had a compromised immune system for two weeks already. (Hence the medical woes I previously mentioned–this is the end of my third week of illness. First, I had upper respiratory issues; second, I had laryngitis, which hurt like the devil; and now, I have a virus that really wants to be a sinus infection and might have been on Saturday.) Perhaps that has been the worst part of October and what has colored it as generally unappealing to me: I have been sick nearly the entire month. I’m sick of being sick!
Fortunately for me, though, I am feeling better by the hour, so I’m hopeful that next week will be perfectly fine.
November still requires a great deal of responsibilities, but most of them are not related to teaching. I may be the only one, but I feel more in control of my responsibilities as a student (dissertation, reading, research) than I am of my responsibilities as a teacher. Or maybe it’s this particular semester…one of my classes is a bit unpredictable. I look forward to November because it brings with it a strong promise of progress and forward momentum.
If October has brought me anything, it has brought me a motivation to graduate so that I can move on with my professional life. And, as one who has so desperately lacked that professional drive in these past several months, I will take my motivation where I can get it.