Archive for November 26th, 2007

Thanksgiving is for giving thanks, and then for panicking

It really was a nice break.  Really.  I spent a lot of time with family and saw a couple of my favorite friends, including going to a movie with Newest Friend and an unexpected but welcome long chat with Friend of Long Standing when I ended up giving her a lift back from the garage where she left her car to be worked on.  And I wrote, and I graded, and I even straightened up the house a bit, although you can’t really tell so much now that there is a fresh pile of laundry on the de facto Laundry Chair in the living room.  It’s just that I had a major attack of the Sunday-afternoon blues on Sunday, feeling hugely anxious at the thought of plunging back into another week, and the batch of grading that I didn’t finish, and another Terrible Tuesday coming up, this one with an extra bonus meeting right smack in the middle.  Then I started thinking about my dissertation, and curiously enough, that failed to calm me down.  (Are Sunday anxieties really death anxieties?–because they seem to be all about leaving things unfinished, and the impossibility of finishing everything.)  It is clear to me that I am not performing to my own satisfaction this quarter, and I have convinced myself that, given the amount of work I have taken on for this quarter, I can’t possibly perform to my own satisfaction.  Sometimes I find this a liberating thought, and sometimes it upsets me terribly. 

I will be clinging to this thought on Monday morning: only four more weeks.  All I have to do is hang in there.  In twenty-eight days all the grades will be in.  Twenty more days of showing up in a classroom and trying my best.  Around three hundred more pieces of grading passing through my hands.  112 people (give or take a couple) by whom I’ll do the best I can.

These are the grim thoughts one has on Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend.  I know there will be good classes in those twenty-eight days: joyful moments, things learned, lightbulbs going on, pennies dropping, commas correctly placed, drafts achieving coherence.  Someone always says, at the end of the term, I never really liked English, but I know I write better because of this class.  I will accomplish some things and fall short of accomplishing others.  In many ways it will be very much like other terms.  One foot in front of the other.  Breathe, breathe.

Also, at some point on Monday I will hear from The University That Calls on Wednesday Morning Before Thanksgiving, Then Takes the Rest of the Day Off.  That will at least add interest to the day.