Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August. Meh.

I guess this is the downer followup to a spirited cheerful post of May, when I was still young and idealistic and looking forward to the future and all the opportunities it held.

August is like the depressing, soul-sucking Sunday evening of the summer. All of the potential and openness of Friday afternoon (early June) is gone, the time is now wasted, the mistakes have been made. Back in May and June all things were possible. Now it's too late and there's barely enough time to prep for Monday. All those things I was going to finally accomplish when I had a bit of extra time. Where did it go? How did I accomplish so little-- both "constructive" things (reading, writing, publishing, fixing courses; gardening, working on the house, getting my shit together) and "fun" things (travel, getting out, hitting the river, biking, drinking, playing Borderlands 2, etc)? I guess I can pinpoint what extra b.s. absorbed so much of my time, but so disappointing.

Just sharing this low-level angst/ disgruntletude/ mild self-hatred.

Guess I should work on that syllabus and that book review. Feh.



  1. The Sunday evening of the summer! That's perfect. I accomplish more on weekday evenings than I do on Sunday evenings, just due to the existential dread.

  2. August is a rotten month. Just rotten.

  3. The place I used to teach at gave the teaching staff 9 weeks off during the summer, usually returning a week before lectures began for the next term.

    Typically, the first 3 weeks were spent in decompressing from the previous year's teaching.

    The next 3 weeks were spent in living like a human being and, sadly, passed too quickly.

    The last 3 weeks were somewhat depressing as I had to psych myself up for the upcoming term. I had to mentally prepare for all the crap and abuse I was going to have to deal with from not just the students but colleagues and administrators as well.

    Because of that, August 1 was always a dreaded day for me.

  4. I just read a similar thing against August in Slate.

    You guys are insane.

    August is the best of all the months. First, it's part of summer, a time when we can relax more than the rest of the year. It tends to be warm. There is greenery everywhere. My pets and partner and friends are happier than in winter months.

    Fruit is in season. Farmers Markets abound. Block parties, city festivals, vacations, and flowers.

    But more than June or July, I feel totally relaxed. June I am recovering from the school year. July I start to perk up. But by August, it's like the last ten minutes of a massage, when you are completely relaxed and life is looking good. It even makes you start to look forward to school -- the brief moment of optimism when you think "YES! This is the year I'll attend all those extra meetings, write more articles, submit a prospectus, and work out every day!!"

    On the flip side, September gets depressing.

    1. Nah. It's better to start one's depression in August. That way one can start the term without any false hope that things will actually improve.

    2. You're really missing out. As they say... April is the cruelest month.

    3. Maybe while I was a student taking courses, particularly while I was an undergrad. I never enjoyed having to study for my exams.

      During the time I was teaching, the first half of April was difficult because the end of term was in sight and couldn't come fast enough. Exam week, on the other hand, was a relief as lectures had ended and the students would be gone shortly after that.

  5. Are the calgary college any better than the ones in North America

  6. I hate August, too.

    In a couple of weeks a new year will start, with no renewal: same as last year.

    I'll continue to work on writing publishable papers on more or less the same thing, not because it's important, not for tangible benefits like promotions or raises, but because it's the only insurance I have against administrator harassment. (Most people in my cohort and area--my friends in gradschool and postdocs--have stopped doing research).

    The students will be the same: 20% OK, then a large gap, then the rest doesn't want to (probably shouldn't) be there. Teaching a required service course. The semester will go normally: exams, homework, office hours, the usual mindless busy-work. I'll do the acting thing, put on a brave, caring, enthusiastic face. After it's all done, regardless, my evaluations will suck anyway.

    Administrators will continue to harass me for no reason, from the chair to the provost, and I'll throw the faculty handbook at them (by now I know it better than most of them). Maybe this year lawyers will be involved, or even (I dream) the AAUP.

    Again this fall I'll send out applications, for anything under the sun (well, almost). Got three interviews last year (one offer, one still pending), not bad at my age. It's a long shot.

    In other words: terminally burnt out (except for thinking about problems, I still enjoy that), not old enough to retire, nothing new to look forward to. Yes, I know, it's called "lucky middle age" in this country. Thanks for the opportunity to whine.