New Year’s Return

New Year’s Resolution: Get back on track with regular scholarship, including blog posts. My excuse for letting that slide is that I took a new teaching position on the other side of the country. My promise to myself was that I would take that 1st semester to get used to the new classes, students, system, etc. Semester 2 has begun, so back to the blogosphere and more. I hereby resolve to post at least once a month in 2016.

Part of moving to a new institution means getting used to a new way of researching, particularly learning the new library. I am now at a teaching-focused institution, not a research-based one as I have been in the past. The biggest change for me is the size of the campus library. I am now in the position of having to plan my book needs a lot more thoroughly. No longer is shelf-browsing an option. My library is just not equipped for that at a level beyond basic undergrad needs. The good thing is, that as part of the state university system, the ILL folks can get most anything; it just takes time.

I also have to be more organized about keeping track of what is due when. I was reminded of that the hard way when I figured out that not all external lending libraries would send courtesy reminders. At least I was only 4 days late getting that book back. On a related note, I no longer have access to the kind of scanning equipment and software which could scan a chapter easily if a return deadline was approaching and renewal was not possible. Again, planning and also good note-taking must now become the norm.

Just to be clear, I mean none of this as criticism; it’s just different.

Probably the best change is having my own office with a decent sized book shelf. Now I can keep all of my research books on a shelf and not under my kitchen table. But again, this means being organized. If I plan to do any scholarly work on the weekend, I need to remember on Friday to bring home certain books, and bring them back to the office shelf on Monday.

 Overall, the biggest adjustment is having to set my own schedule for scholarship. As a late career graduate student, that part of your life is dictated by your dissertation and by any conference papers you might have to prepare. While on the job market, it’s nearly impossible to have more than one project in progress (an article or conference paper) while you also write cover letters etc., and teach whatever classes you can get, probably at multiple institutions which is another adventure in itself.

Now I’m in the position, as an assistant professor, where a scholarly program of my own is both expected and necessary. Right now, I’m getting back into a part of my dissertation that I’m turning into a conference paper, trying to finish the research for turning another conference paper into an article, and trying to figure out how to continue with my Gower chapter. All the while, I have classes to prep and teach, grading to do, and institutional business (paperwork deadlines, etc.) to keep track of. I realize how blessed I am to have the job I do, but it’s not easy to manage everything, and still have even a little me time. Right now my social life is basically work, church, and the gym.

Self, welcome to full-time academic life. 🙂