Friday, September 28, 2007

Month 1 Down, 3 Await....

The first month of the first semester of my fourth-year as a PhD student is nearly complete. In fact, I've just taught my last course for September and am now decompressing after a particularly busy past four weeks.

Oh yes, I'm teaching again. Academic reading and writing. It's not what I would have chosen, but it's required time for sessional PhD instructors. My class is keen -- almost all first years, quite young (17 and 18 year olds make me feel aged), pretty ambitious and smart. I don't put much credence in the idea that people are entering uni out of high school barely able to write. If my experience teaching three courses is an yardstick, high school grads are pretty damn capable. Their behavior is sometimes distracting, but overall the class is going well. This week I've been a pretty crap teacher because my sinuses ache interminably and it makes me want to steam my head open, so hopefully they will forgive me and next week -- research methods! -- will be better.

Fall on campus is busy, full of germs (illness run amok), stressful and marked by dodgey, weird weather. I prefer misty coolness, and most days begin that way but the sun burns the fog off by noonish and it gets dry and hot and ick. The uni is still highly allergenic despite the many renovations going on around campus -- my building is, of course, neglected and sad, as humanities doesn't bring in the cash. And chalk is gross, but better than wasting paper, I guess.

I've managed to carve out some dissertation only time on Mondays and Thursdays, and afternoons when I don't have marking to do. The chapter is well on its way, and once it is complete, I get to move on to chapter two, the one I REALLY want to write, on short stories. I'm also thinking about submitting a couple conference proposals based on my dissertation chapters so I have no excuses not to finish writing.

Socially, the department is lively enough, although the cohort feel for PhDs is still in early stages. Aw, the perils of island life -- sometimes, we're just to lazy to really pull together.
doctor T 11:43 AM

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