Wednesday, December 06, 2006

End of semester joy (sorta)

Back when I used to identify as a straight girl--well, not really identify, but at least live as one--back in undergrad, I had a ritual at the end of the semester. I would go home to see the 'rents, watch their HBO (a luxury unknown to undergrads at the time), and read trashy women's magazines (loved the Cosmo quizzes).

Life has changed a little as I have aged, come out, and gotten partnered, the PhD, and the professional job... but I still have the same urge to kick back and chill out over break. My papers are graded (all but one who got an extension), the end-of-semester grades are figured and ready to enter, and all I want to do is catch some holiday movie fare and watch old episodes of "The Closer." Over the last several years, I went with family and friends to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It doesn't get any better than that for escapist semester-break fare.

And yet... this year, as with every year as a professor and now administrator, there is so much work to be done. I have several chapters/articles that need attention--one with a deadline, and I know I should use this time to work. And I have administrative tasks I am ignoring on a back burner where they may be scalding in the pan...

And I deeply resent it. I miss the feeling of "nothing to do." (As you can probably understand, the gf--who works in the real 12-month world--has little patience with this frustration.)

Sometimes, I pretend that I still can recapture that feeling, but something (my Outlook task list, a panicked phone call or email from a staff member, a stack of student requests for grad school recommendations on my desk) reminds me, as my mother said on days where I was bored, that there is **always** something to do. During the year, if I actually ignore these tasks too long, guilt starts to set in. When that happens, I try to do the basics (read: student recommendations) and the activities with deadlines (read: the chapter) and see if inspiration hits for the others.

But at the end of the semester, in early December and late-April, I just rebel. F*ck the expectations, requirements, requests, suggestions, and desires of others... I just wanna kick back, watch some bad TV, re-read Harry Potter, and get my groove on.

How about you?

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