I’m an assistant professor at a small teaching-focused university. We’re on the quarter system, so I started my second year at the end of September. Just right after my last post on here.

I imagine you can infer then why it has taken so long for me to get back to writing something.

It went like this:

I started my first year. Things were overwhelming, of course. All new course preps all year long. My last term I had 4 (counting a lab) and it was ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. And then I had a summer break.

And I worked. I did. We all do. But. I also breaked. Broke? I took some time off! You know, to buy a house and travel (in a car) with my family (many miles) and so while it wasn’t work. Well. It wasn’t work.

Not that I didn’t have work to do. I needed to work on my tenure review file (you have to turn one in every year here – I think that’s standard?). While called a “file” it’s actually a giant binder full of papers that prove I’m a good professor. But it’s on me to find these papers and put them in a semblance of order and its one of those projects that just takes time.

Of course I put it off.

I was supposed to get a paper revised and sent back out to be published before classes started.

I didn’t manage that.

I was supposed to finish my summer research project with another entity on campus – only they didn’t get me the data until the start of August, which incidentally is when I went on my trip and then we were setting up our house and, you know. But that shit had to get done, so I did that.

And then classes started. And now I’m revising everything I did last year, because, wow, I definitely am better at this job now than I was then, but goddammit now I have to re-do everything. So that takes time.

And we have to choose benefits (it’s open enrollment) and my son started kindergarten and I am on a search committee and interviews start tomorrow and I started advising an undergraduate in research and I am meeting to set up a second student with a different research project (because why do just one?) and my paper STILL isn’t revised and that tenure file is due Friday (tomorrow?) and because I am DUMB new I signed up to present a poster at a conference next week and so now I have to set my classes to run online while I’m gone and I still haven’t made my poster.

I leave Sunday.

So. That…in a nut shell, is how life is. And what it’s like to be a 2nd year assistant professor on the tenure track at a small teaching university. I’m pretty sure I forgot some key items – say, my daughter and husbands birthdays and visits to the dentist and doctors, but, you get the idea.

It feels like the year started at the top of a very tall roller coaster and I’m still sliding down, down, down the initial drop. Exhilarating, I’m sure. I’ll let you know when I catch my breath and the next up.



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