Lammas-tide always feels like the hinge of the year to me, more so than New Years, which partly reflects how deeply the northern hemisphere academic system has shaped my working life, but also my lived experience in the UK, where the hot, humid, waiting-for-ripening summer days feel like a slowing down in the pace of the world around me, different in temperament to the depths of winter but not in kind. Now August is underway, North American schools mostly go back this month, here in the UK the university system is gearing up for the unknowns and stresses of exam results* and clearing** which mark the start of the new academic cycle as they determine how many students*** we will actually have in the first year classes, even if those classes don't start until September or October.
However, we still have a couple of weeks left in this session, and therefore a bit of time to pack up from our nice sit on a rock taking a pause in our academic journeys. We already thought about souvenirs to bring along, and about some coping strategies for the inevitable last minute changes the year will bring. This week, let's talk about some practical steps in the areas we do control - how can we set ourselves up for ongoing progress with the projects we worked on in this session, whether those were our own health and needs (e.g. collect some quick recipes in an easy to see place for meal planning, experiment with some new breakfast options for busy days, restock the pantry with term-time staples (e.g. grab and go lunches - a pack of oatcakes, cheese portion, piece of fruit (or portion of dried fruit), and handful of almonds is SO much better for me than a sandwich from the student shop... so I'm adding the components to my shopping list), plan out our schedules to put new habits in the prime position etc.), our social lives (pre-book a once a month get together, put a reminder picture as our desktop photo...) or our research ("parking" current projects by making lists of short, necessary steps which take 30-60 minutes each so that on busy days we can just grab and go in our research time, for example)?
*from the end of high school A level exams; students currently have conditional offers for university places, subject to those results, so UNIVERSITIES only have estimates of student numbers too
** the process whereby once the results are out, students who either didn't apply before or who didn't get the results they wanted can apply for one of the remaining places, or those with unexpectedly good results can try to "trade up". It's becoming an increasingly short window, and it's PAINFUL for everyone involved.
***and therefore how much trouble we are in about our finances... again...
Last week's goals:
- Something fun with kid
- Finish all grant stuff
- Do something else with old paper
- Proofread new paper galleys
- Set up new office computer
- Do something with new local paper
- Draft out one section of collaborative out-of-field paper
Dame Eleanor Hull
- - daily exercise, safe food, bed by midnight
- - Two hours x 3 on research
- - Set up VILE sites for both classes
- - Life Stuff as possible, see friends, enjoy self
- Enjoy the week off.
- Send off the mid-internship evaluation to the requisite folks.
- Swim in my younger daughter’s pool (such luxury!)
- Read and write as the impulse hits.
heu mihi (carried over)
- prepare for trip
- 1) do not work
- 2) do some things on the lists
- 3) replenishment: back to basics - reset. Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.
- 3a) substantial house projects: even the simple stuff like throwing a load of stuff into boxes so its less sprawling all over surfaces, cobweb removal and some hoovering would count.
- 4) pressure reduction: nothing. WEEK OFF.
- 5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D, write another job board game or do other prep/play with watercolours a couple of times.
Karen (carried over)
- - Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
- - Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
- - (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
- - conference paper proposal in
- - 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)