A theme in last week's comments is people working on things that weren't on lists, or dealing with stuff that comes up unexpectedly, or just adapting as necessary. It all counts! These things are useful and necessary. Our lives are better with the files sorted, the garden improved, the opportunity seized. Maybe in a different year, at least some of these things would seem like distractions from the main goal, but this is 2021. We've been dealing with pandemic conditions for over a year. Any forward motion you can make is a good thing.
For a change of pace, this week I offer a view of the schedule kept by Cambridge scholars in the middle of the nineteenth century, taken from An American in Victorian Cambridge: Charles Astor Bristed's 'Five Years at an English University,' ed. Christopher Stray (University of Exeter Press, 2008). I love writers' accounts of how they spend their days, so this is the sort of thing that amuses (and sometimes inspires) me.
The young man is expected to attend Chapel at 7:00 a.m., for about half an hour, so he rises by 6:30 to get ready. After Chapel, he walks in the college grounds for 15 minutes or so, to allow the bed-maker to do her work in his rooms. "By eight, he is seated before his comfortably blazing coal fire, with his kettle boiling merrily, and the materials for his morning meal on a diminutive table near him. These are of the simplest description---rolls, butter, and tea: an excellent preparation for a morning's reading." Lectures (if the young man attends them) take place from nine till noon. "It is generally some time before one, when the student resorts to his private tutor. . . .From two to four is the traditional time for exercise," and dinner in Hall is at four. "After Hall is emphatically lounging time, it being the wise practice of Englishmen to attempt no hard exercise, physical or mental, immediately after a hearty meal. Some stroll in the grounds . . . many . . . glance over the newspapers . . . and many assemble at wine parties to chat over a frugal dessert of oranges, biscuits, and cake, and sip a few glasses of not remarkably good wine." Evening Chapel at 6:00 is not so well attended, and after it "evening reading begins in earnest. Most of the Cantabs are late readers, so that supposing one of them to begin at seven, he will not leave off before half-past eleven, thus clearing more than four hours' consecutive work" (16-22).
Later in this work, Bristed writes of these men's care of their health: "His seven hours of sleep are always the same seven hours of the night. . . . His breakfast is light and simple . . . and while he is at it he does not worry himself about anything else. He is discreet in his position when at work, and knowing that he has to stoop forward in writing at the examinations, does most of his reading leaning back in his arm chair or standing at a high desk where he strengthens his legs and eases his chest at the same time. After he has dined you could not bribe him to engage in any exertion of body or mind for at least two hours. . . . Bur above all, his exercise is as much a daily necessity to him as his food" (291).
Since Bristed endured a serious illness after arriving at Cambridge, he also has some comments on how he lived while recovering, when work had to be limited to under four hours a day (102). I'd like to know more about the lives of the tutors and masters, but he was experiencing Cambridge as an undergraduate, so I can only glean bits about the masters' lives between the lines.
If you feel like it, comment on your schedule, either actual or ideal! Or just get down to reporting and setting new goals. Here are the goals from last week:
1) Do the computer modelling thing for local project
2) Write the report for local project
3) Finish and return marks for undergrad class
4) Check in with all students in program I run about summer and advising
5) Have difficult association conversation with important person
6) Do at least two coffee walks with friends
7) Last day of skiing for the season
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:
Mail off passport application.
Attack the remaining scary box under the desk.
Walk.1 x 5
Make remaining doctor’s appointment.
1) Write 3 hours
2) NOTES ON NunG
3) Read a bunch of Parzival and Equiano
4) Order books for Fall 2021
5) Read journal article
6) Run, yoga, sit, language
1 Submit Boredom conference paper
2 Select and submit creative piece for MV
3 Submit review of smol book
4 Make significant progress on Because (due soon)
5 Make significant progress on Young Ones (due soon)
- finish and publish feedback on AT1
- catch up 2 x weeks of online material, and set up AT2 online
- move offices/flee building works
- make test box
1. 2x 2 hours on famous author
2. 3 journals
3. Record next week's lecture
4. Do the sweaters and blouses in the great closet cleanout
5. Finally fertilize, plant seedlings
6. Have a good Easter.
7. Do things with friends online and in person
8. Keep up with exercise and healthy eating
9. Don't get stressed
Complete the "what I have" outline of book-in-progress.
Dead languages 4x each.
Grade discussion boards.
Daily stretching & cardio, weights x3.
Collect tax documents.
Research new washer & dryer.
Read something scholarly.