Thursday, September 18, 2008

To and Fro: An Update on the Balancing Act that is Life

Well, I'm into my third week of school, and I've just about got a handle on my new life. It goes something like this:

Monday: work all day, come home and do readings for Tuesday's class
Tuesday: three hours of class, work on grant proposals, read for Thursday's class & Friday's tutorial
Wednesday: work until noon, transit it to school, three hours of class, back home (this Wednesday also included an English Graduate Student's Association meeting and a GSA pub event that involved free beer. Sweet! Joined a couple EGSA committees, which I promised myself I would do, so that should be fun. I'm now on two social committees!)
Thursday: ditto, and plan for Friday's tutorial
Friday: lecture, lunch, teach for an hour, office hour, teach for an hour, home
Saturday & Sunday: attempt to be normal and spend some time with the hubby/do schoolwork

It's a very varied little life that I've got going on right now. The only parts that I can say I mind about it are not having enough time to sleep, depending on how much reading I've got to do, not having enough time for the gym (I should have a better handle on that next week), and trying to do my job in half the time. My bosses haven't exactly formulated a plan as to how I'm supposed to do my same job in 2 1/2 days a week, but there haven't been any crises so far, so maybe I don't need 5 days to do it in. Come conference season, that might be a different question, but we'll take that as it comes.

The commute I'm actually finding totally fine. I've figured out the best bus routes, and it is actually also really good social time. I had two great chats today with people in my program, one of whom I ran into on the subway and learned lives about 3 blocks from us. She swears that I'm familiar, so I'm sure that I've seen her at the grocery store or somewhere. In these conversations, I seem end up giving a lot of advice and reassurance, as basically everyone in my classes has just started grad school, and they're feeling the same insecurity as I was when I first started. It's an odd position to be in, as it's not as if I don't feel it now! But I have gotten over the hurdle of getting into a PhD program, so that's something, at least. My brain is slowly getting up to speed after a year away from school, so that's going away slowly.

I'm currently preparing a tutorial on Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, which I read over the summer. I think I'll focus on the debate over the tone of the book: most people think that it's a fairly gentle and genial sort of satire about small town life, but Robertson Davies argues that it's really quite harsh, which is why the people of Orillia were so pissed off at Leacock after Sunshine Sketches came out. A good chance to get my kids to figure out how satire depends on the balance of humour and anger, and why people enjoy it. I think I might have to show them the video of Schadenfreude from Avenue Q. A perfect explanation of how we take pleasure in the misery of others! I'll have to get them to do some examining of the allegorical names too; you can't have characters called Dean Drone and Judge Pepperleigh and not take a look at what's going on there.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you finally surfaced from the current of school and work! Boo for busy days! I think I'm starting to get a handle on things too, although I probably have like 150 things to mark this weekend... not to mention a hockey team to organize LOL. When are we going to get together for a bottle of red wine???? <3Mar