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I stayed up well past my bedtime last night to finish the last of my marking for this batch*. It made it difficult to wake up early, but it was entirely worth it. I find it much easier to Get Stuff Done late at night. I find the silence of late nights quite different from daytime silences. (Perhaps it's the absence of the hum of cars outside, or perhaps it's just the quality of night.)

I felt so light, and it felt so very wonderful to have time to work on projects that have no particular deadlines and no supervisors except me. I made some little presents for J's birthday, and worked a bit on my Smallest Art project. I talked to people about activism and how to fit into the world and projects and enthusiasm. I wrote some veryverysmall storypoems, and enjoyed it tremendously.

I want all of my life to be like this.

To achieve that, I have to stop thinking of marking as a painful and out-of-the-ordinary event. With the amount of teaching I'm doing at the moment, I will have at least some marking happening most of the time. And I don't want to feel weighed down and fretful most of the time.

So, I need to remember that:
* Marking is part of teaching. An important part, as things are structured now.
* It's nice to give students feedback, especially since there are always a few students who take the advice offered, and even appreciate it.
* Marking can happen in pleasant spaces. I can drink tea on my verandah and mark, or visit a friend, or find a cafe with wifi. Marking can be surrounded by explorations of new places.
* Marking will be much more enjoyable and efficient if I do it in focused batches, without too many distractions. I should remember that if I procrastinate by doing things that I don't love, it is taking away time from the projects that I do love.

* Well, okay. The last of my marking until more students emailed me late assignments today.
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I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. When I start to panic, I listen to this song by Mirah, and take deep breaths. It is from an album that is all about insects!

So, I have my whole thesis draft back from my supervisors now, and I oscillate between thinking "not much to do, nearly finished", and "eep! so much to do!" I am working hard not to panic, and to just make my way through the changes. When the bigger changes seem too hard (as they have for the last week) I've tried to find something small that doesn't seem to daunting, rather than hiding under my desk.

My teaching has been going well. The politics unit I'm teaching had a role play exercise this week, and I feel like it went well. I also got my students to give me some mid-semester feedback, and most of it was very positive. I've also just started my Internet teaching, which I'm looking forward to very much. It will be interesting to get to focus on that side of my research for a while!

In other work-news, I have two lectures coming up in a fortnight, but hopefully will be able to mostly work off last year's notes. My aim for this round of lectures is not to be daunted. I've also sent off my paper for APSA, and have been having some discussions with other members of the panel I'll be on about how to recontextualise my research so that we have a common theme: fun! And I've also been working with Ms S to try to put together our next event for Bluestocking, which hopefully we can start publicising soon.

Also, I have been trying hard to eat well and get lots of exercise. I've been enjoying all my cycling-adventures immensely. It's fun cycling to new places, especially when they're further than I am used to going. I'm also finding that the places I usually cycle seem like less of a commute, which is in a way disappointing. I have been thinking of maybe putting more of my cooking experiments up on our recipe blog, but maybe I will just keep reading other recipe blogs lustfully?
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I am feeling rather the opposite of 'on top of things'.

* I did a section of last year's Greek exam last night in class. It was a comprehension exercise in which one had to fill in blanks in a letter with words from a list. I got 8 out of 13, which is good, but I couldn't really work out what the letter was about, which is bad. I am pretty sure, at this stage, that if I pass it will be a) only just, and b) a very baffling experience for me. My vocabulary is just too small. Still, I have two weeks until the test, so I guess I can still do a little more catching up.

* My thesis is going, but always more slowly than I would like. I am trying to write the last section of my first chapter at the moment, because I deleted the previous version of it (for good reasons). But then the rewrite I attempted over the last couple of days also had to be deleted. And... *sigh*

* Teaching is somewhat painful at the moment. The area I'm teaching is not my specialty, and I'm trying to restrict the time spent preparing to a sensible amount, which means I spend much of the class saying 'that's a good question, I don't know. Why don't you guys look it up?' I have no fundamental problem with this approach, but it gets a little discouraging for me at times.

* There are many people who I am not seeing nearly as often as I'd like. Right now, my weekday evenings are full from Monday to Thursday, I do greek homework every morning, and I have teaching prep and greek homework to do on the weekends. Trying to see everyone that I want to see is hard!

* Other bits and pieces: bluestocking has been somewhat neglected as I don't have internet at home right now. Kate put up a good entry on creating community cohesion on the blog, and Shae's also been doing a bit here and there, so I don't feel too bad. A couple of my articles have come up on ActNow, one on facebook stuff and one on online communities.

Overall, despite feeling a bit overwhelmed, I am not feeling too stressed. I am reminding myself that things sometimes take longer than you would like, and that not everything can be done brilliantly, and that's okay.


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July 2012

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