I’ve been pretty productive today – I have applied for one job, and marked 8 essays. I had this on in the background while I was marking, and I have to say I’m really quite impressed with myself that I managed to follow it and pick up the bulk of what was going on, given that it’s been 4 years now since I was in the country.
I reckon I can manage another 4 essays this evening, and leave the remaining handful for tomorrow. I’m going to apply for another job as well (both these 2 have closing dates this week). They are both part-time, so could work out perfectly for the research and practice together side of things and give me more time to write and do OU work. Everything crossed. I have a full-time job to apply for too, which would be brilliant but make life complicated, and another OU course (which I could manage if I get the part-time ones). What I haven’t done today is any packing. Somehow I suspect next weekend (last weekend before the move) might be a bit fraught, especially as I have another lot of essays coming in! No rest for the wicked (though I am very grateful for the work I have. I just reserve the right to moan occasionally).
I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks as last week (as many of my usual handful of readers are already aware) we were on holiday in Venice for the week. I took about 400 pictures which will take a while to get sorted and online (not all of them!), ate too much, walked all over the place (Venice being that kind of a place), read more than usual, relaxed, enjoyed spending an entire week with HD (that was the best bit!), chilled, usual holiday stuff really. Now I’m back I’m trying not to think about going to w*rk tomorrow morning, and that I have to mark OU essays in the next couple of days and submit another chapter revision as well (the chapter should be OK, it’s the methodology chapter which was my favourite to write – it was very therapeutic as a lot of it was All About Me :D). I have just spent the last hour and a half sorting out a problem with my OU students who are doing some online group-work (which I have to say is on the whole infinitely preferable to the real-life equivalent!) – nothing serious serious but awkward and couldn’t be left. So now my (admittedly red wine-related) headache is showing no signs of disappearing, so I think I might be off to bed in a minute. Photos and holiday musings (of which there are a fair few) will have to wait a few days, I think.
* marking OU essays, and
* writing a thesis chapter, and
* working full time, while
* trying not to cough up any more of my lungs (a fine image for a professional health promoter, no?).
No wonder I’m knackered.
But, excitingly, today HD and I booked our first proper holiday since our honeymoon almost 2 years ago. We are off adventuring in February, I can’t wait!
I have some essays to mark (still!).
I don’t want to.
Maybe I’m not cut out for academia.
I don’t intend writing much about my new job, as it wouldn’t be appropriate and would be boring. But I did want to note that today was my first day, and I have survived and don’t hate the thought of going back tomorrow. Which is a good start!
I had a nightmare this morning though. I got a letter last week asking me to go to a different place from my base, and I had planned on spending yesterday evening sorting out everything I needed – letters, proof of qualifications etc – so I wouldn’t have to rush around this morning. However, yesterday turned out to be much longer than we had originally planned – HD has got a room in a shared house for the duration of his job, but as it was an unfurnished room we planned to drive down with our spare bed, with me then driving back in time to have a leisurely evening. Unfortunately the combination of roadworks and inept navigating by me meant that it took us nearly 8 hours just to get Down South, and then I still had to drive back, and I didn’t get home till 11. Never mind I thought, I’ll get up early so I’ll have lots of time to sort everything out before I leave for work.
Could I find the letter telling me where I had to be? Well, no. The flat now looks like a bomb has hit it as I (almost literally) turned it upside-down. One good thing is that I found my driving licence, which I lost ages ago, and I did eventually find the letter. But it meant that when I got there and met what felt like a hundred people I felt like I could say very little other than “wibble”. One of the nurse development people told me she could tell I was new because I looked so keen. I was so frazzled I didn’t even have the energy to laugh out loud – I’ve spent the last 2 months (since I got the job) really not particularly wanting it, so to be told I looked keen was hilarious!
Anyway. My new colleagues seem nice, I have a much smaller caseload than I did in London (but have no duobt they’ll keep me on my toes), and it will certainly do me for now.
In the meantime I really need to get my act together and mark the OU essays. Even though there is only a fraction of the essays I had to mark last year, it feels like a giant mountain to climb. I need a motivation transplant.
I’m going to blog a bit about London in a minute, but this news merits its own blog entry. Today I did my last ever tutorial (well, last ever for this course – with any luck I’ll get a proper job so will have to do tutorials again – but I don’t have to do this one ever again).
I feel really pooped. They’re handing the essays in in a couple of days, so I’ve still got stuff to moan about no doubt. But it does feel good too.
I knew there was a resolution I’d forgotten! But as I faced temptation today I remembered I’d better list it too!
* No non-work related internet during work hours.
I managed to procrastinate today by tidying up my bookshelves in the office and putting them into some kind of order (in my defence, it’s needed doing for ages!). But apart from a large pile of articles that need filing, I think that will be the end of that particular procrastinatory exercise, and then I’m going to have to get down to some work as I’ll have no more excuses. I can’t even mark any more essays, as no more late ones have come in (this is unheard of, and probably why it is snowing throughout much of the UK – though not here (yet), ironically).
This week I shall mostly be doing some reading and preparation for a study day we are hosting on Friday for one of the special interest groups of the Association of People Who Study My Sort of Thing – I am co-facilitating one of the sessions and am feeling woefully underprepared. With good reason, I really am woefully underprepared. I shall also be making a start on turning my paper from last month’s conference in Helsinki into an article as they are wanting to publish a selection of papers from the conference and I think it would do me good to get into the habit of writing for publication. I think that’s the main reason why I’m tidying the office though – I’ll be fine once I start, but it’s just the starting that’s so traumatic!
I have now marked all the essays, and just need to finish typing up my comments. I really should, after the first year, have designed some macros to save repetitive typing, as there are certain phrases that I repeat Every Single Damn Time. “Please do not use non-academic websites” being one of the most common, though Hallelujah (by anyone but Alexandra Burke) there has not been a single wikipedia reference this time. I am just happy that I don’t ever have to mark an essay about Stalin ever ever ever* again.
* If anyone mentions the word “extensions” I shall have to kill you. Extensions make the baby Jesus cry. Except if they’re for my own work. Obviously.
45 down, 19 to go. Am losing the will to live, but at least (for the first time ever) they’ll be done before the New Year so I can go away and have fun without having a black essay-shaped cloud hanging over me.
For the last 3 years the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) has done a thing at Christmas of having multiple showings of the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas, finishing on Christmas Eve. Last year I went to get tickets but had left it till the last minute (now, what on earth was going on this time last year?!) and it was all sold out. This year I was a bit more organised, so HD and I went up to town today for the 1 o’clock showing.
I’d never seen the film before, and can’t believe that I’d left it this long before seeing it. It was fantastic! They don’t make them like that any more, that’s for sure. I cried like a baby, especially at the end but also in the middle (even HD confessed to not being entirely unmoved), but wasn’t embarrassed as I could hear sniffing all over the cinema so I know I wasn’t the only one! It was a really lovely way to get into the Christmas mood.
Since being home I’ve marked a few essays, and am now probably about half way through. I’m so bored with them – only one or two As so far (usually I give quite a few), no Epic Fails and, disappointingly, only one comedy typo so far (which is a really common one – talking about Stalin liquidising the kulaks rather than liquidating them, someone does it every year). I have also noticed an interesting phenomenon – this is totally unscientifically-based, but over the 4 years that I’ve been doing this, it seems that essays written in Arial font are loads more likely to not be very good. I wonder why that is?
I think I’ve got time to mark a few more before we head out to midnight mass (at 11.30, go figure). So I shall sign off wishing you a very happy Christmas, and whether this is a difficult or joyful time for you that you know the peace of Christ this Christmas.