Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sabbatical regrets

 Regrets, I've had a few. 

Looking back on my sabbatical so far, there are a few things I wish I had done differently.

Didn't go after a big grant. If I had gotten a big grant, I would have the whole fucking year for the sabbatical. Instead, I only had a semester. **Sigh.**

Didn't go away for an extended working/resting trip. I wish I had rented a beach place for 2-3 weeks in the Fall to work, relax, and sit by the fire. Staying in my regular setting has meant too much contact with work people, and too much awareness of what was happening in my program. On the other hand, I have gotten to be with the gf, who has a job that would not have allowed her to be away for several weeks at a time. I am glad not to be separated from her, though we have had to work out both of us working at home. It has been nice to be with her. That said, I still daydream about weeks at the beach.

Taught a summer class. Yeah, I needed the money, so I taught the summer class. That sucked. It was a wonderful experience, though, because it was a small, specialized class and I got to actually use my own book. I came away thinking the book was actually pretty good. But the weeks of prepping, teaching, and grading were a drag that delayed the start of sabbatical time.

Let summer slip by too quickly. I sort of ignored the summer, and pretended that my sabbatical started in August, but that was a real waste. I have no one to blame but myself, but it took far too long for me to start doing my real research/writing work. I dinked around too much in the summer--reading the Kindle, attending a training, and visiting family and friends--and I didn't set to work in the way I had hoped.

Didn't start the writing group until mid-fall semester. The writing group has been a blessing, and I think I would have been more productive if I had actually had a group to help me set goals and be accountable early on. Of the five articles I wanted to write, I have only submitted one so far, and I am still wrestling with data on the second. I am maintaining a hope that I can finish and submit four before school starts in January.

Agreed to take on a new course prep for spring. Seriously, I am an idiot. Some of my sabbatical time will be taken up prepping this new course, especially because I have NEVER taught anything like this class. Worse yet, this new prep will be my 9th new course in 7 years. Of course, at my last job, I taught 8 different course preps in 2 years...where we had a 2-2 teaching load. I think I have some kind of illness--my behavior is probably diagnosable. Just shoot me.

Planned to start two new research projects when I have too much data already. I have found it difficult to split my focus on getting new research projects started and writing up data from projects I have already conducted. I came into the sabbatical with data for at least 5 articles... I really didn't need two more projects mucking up the works. I am excited about one of the two projects, which is simply an extension of what I have already done, but the second project is just languishing. I hope the latter project will move forward in spring.

Didn't get on a better eating/working out plan. I have been jealous of Dr. Crazy's attentiveness to the healthy living component of sabbatical. I went the other way: indulgence and restfulness. While it has been a lot of fun, I am going to have to pull it together if I would like to fit into all of my winter clothes!

Didn't get the printer networked. It is a little thing, but I kept meaning to call someone to make it so the gf and I could have a wireless connection to our printer, but it still hasn't happened. As a result, I have to send anything I need printed (directions, drafts, code lists, etc.) to our house computer for printing, located in the gf's office. That is a total drag, and it drives me nuts not to be able to print things off easily. I didn't realize how much I do that when I work, but it is clear now.

Well, those are all the regrets I can identify right now. I am sure there will be more before spring semester classes start.

Update:  Wow, reading this post again in the daytime, the tone is much more negative than I actually feel about the sabbatical experience. To put it into perspective, I am not that upset about any of these issues. They are more annoyances than anything else. Now, back to work!!


Anonymous said...

Lesboprof, I feel like you need to force yourself to do a post about your sabbatical accomplishments. It's far too easy to think about all of the things not done, the paths not taken, the grants not applied for, etc. If I have learned anything over this sabbatical, I think I've learned (and hope I continue to remember it!) that being kind to oneself is better for productivity than being mean to oneself, and that being kind to oneself is something that we can do whether we have sabbatical or not, a grant or not, support for our research or not.

Though, I admit, some of my regrets are similar to yours:)

undine said...

"I am excited about one of the two projects, which is simply an extension of what I have already done." That right there is reason enough to have the sabbatical and to call it a success. On the other hand, I know what you mean about regrets after looking back at my sabbatical and wondering what I actually did during that time.

Yaya said...

About that wireless printer business. If you have a wireless router, you can network through that. I was looking to print from my laptop and was aghast at how much the special adapter-thingy was-like $120. There was NO WAY I was paying that! I did some research and figured out how to go through the router for the wireless home network. It's pretty easy, actually.