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August 22, 2010

Let the fall semester anxiety begin!

It's been a busy couple of months - we visited the Maughans in Utah, rented a cabin in Greer with the Perrys, Chris decided to start his own business, and now the fall semester is underway. All in all, it was a lovely summer.

On the downside, I spent the summer in an unfocused fog at work.  I'm working on a paper that I find really interesting, but feel that I'm a little out of my league.  My abstract was not accepted for a paper proposal at a non-library conference this fall. We got some great feedback, but I can't help but feel that I could have better directed my efforts over the summer, and maybe I need to revise my focus for the paper.  Since the semester has begun, I now find myself a little overwhelmed by my list of things to do this fall.  Of course, that happens every year!

Here's my list so far:

  • Set up and administer a survey on the Library Minute in 1 week.
    • Prepare a poster session that includes the survey results for the EDUCAUSE conference in October.
    • Hopefully also turn poster & survey results into a paper I can manage to get published this year.
  • Teach 2 instruction sessions for UNI 110
  • Serve as a mentor to a freshman, and coordinate about 20 other mentors for the Obama Scholars program
  • Co-chair a new workgroup (I named it TOAD).
  • Plan some activities for Open Access Week (also in October).
  • Plan out and submit a poster proposal for the ACRL conference next spring (due in Nov. 1).
  • Continue writing this other paper
  • Continue planning the AzLA Annual Conference in November, of which I'm a co-chair
  • Continue working on my packet for promotion and continuing appointment, due next summer. It's just the sort of thing you don't want to save for the last minute.
All of this is while our reorganization is still vague, uncertain and unannounced, so I'm still trying to feel out where my place is, what my focus should be, and what, exactly, my job really is. I'm disappointed that even after 4 years (starting my 5th!) of being an academic professional, I still struggle with not having clear duties to accomplish each day. I go through flurries of being busy (see above), but most my deadlines are self-imposed and it's entirely too easy to give myself an extra day or week or month! I keep thinking that it would be easier for me if I had a new job description with a clearer focus and expectations, but I wonder if it really would help. I think part of it is that I feel like I'm flailing around in too many different, only tangentially related directions. It's hard to keep focused and get really good at anything.

Despite the mopey paragraph above, things are going pretty good and I'm happy most of the time. Everything on that list is interesting and challenging for me, and I really love doing that stuff. I'm hopeful that the reorganization will be resolved sometime this fall, which would alleviate a good deal of my frustration. 

Outside of work, I'm working on getting the Crusader title for Saffran, getting used to not doing housework on Sundays, and getting back into blogging.

2 comments:

  1. Woah, changes afoot in the Maughan/Perry household.My first thought was that Chris had opened his own deli or grocer as he served that function in the office.

    And by the by, the vaguery of the academic professional seems to be somewhat par for the course. Which doesn't negate your issues. Just saying you're not the sole person who has this. Doesn't necessarily make it better. And I clearly have no good advice on how to change it because if I did, I'd be having maybe a diff. live. Or not. Way to overshare on a comment. And anyone would expect any less of me?

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  2. And you changed the color of your blog. Says the person who's done nothing with hers since about March. In my defense, there's a lot going on here. Had to buy a new book journal since my red, pink one with kitties was filled. Sounds more cheesy than it is. Think quasi German stuff.

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