Sunday, October 9, 2011

Getting a Grip

It's the week before fall break here, and everyone is stressed, or has a right to be. Students are buried under the weight of all the papers they have to write; professors are buried under the weight of all the papers they have to grade. And when my students tell me all that they are doing in addition to writing midterm papers and taking midterm exams, I feel exhausted just listening: one student is playing the bass in the pit orchestra for the musical Urinetown AND spending two hours a day in Ethics Bowl practice; another is on DePauw's swim team; another is plowing through an enormous book for one of the Prindle reading groups in addition to the enormous books she's reading for class, and much much more.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about the significant revisions I need to make on my longest-ever novel, the paper I need to submit for the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics conference, the paper I need to write for a Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO) volume, soon-due student recommendation letters. Plus the enormous books I'm plowing through for the FIVE Prindle reading groups I signed up for at the start of the semester when I really thought I'd have time here in my new life for EVERYTHING.

So we all need to get a grip. Here's how I'm doing it today.

Step one: get a good night's sleep - DONE!
Step two: get up and do at least an hour's work on the book revisions - DONE!
Step three: go to the Blue Door Cafe and spend an hour drinking hot chocolate, eating French toast, and reading the Sunday New York Times - DONE!
Step four: church - coming up next!
Step five: spend the afternoon at my peaceful Prindle office dealing with those recommendation letters and finishing the final chapter of one of the reading group books
Step six: attend the Prindle second-Sunday-of-the-month film series - today's film is a documentary called Deliver Us from Evil
Step seven: Ethics Bowl practice from 6:30-8:30
Step eight: home to get in bed and read a book I need to review
Step nine: go to sleep!

Will this make a dent in all I have to do? Yes, but only a dent. But a dent is still something. It is still so much better than no dent! I'll be able to cross at least a few things off my master list: the recommendation letters, that Prindle book, and most of all, the hardest thing on my list, "face those book revisions." And I got to have French toast, too!

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