Monday, October 22, 2012

A Mantra for Midterms

They feel even more overwhelmed and behind than we do
They feel even more overwhelmed and behind than we do
They feel even more overwhelmed and behind than we do
They feel even more overwhelmed and behind than we do

Keeping this in mind won't work with every student (it doesn't do much good, for instance, with those who are inclined to project their insecurities outward into accusations, e.g.  Bella's Amber or Greta's shrill little one-note bird).   But when I'm feeling horribly behind, and fearing that every class, conversation, and/or email will carry a complaint that I'm taking an unreasonable amount of time to grade things (a complaint with which, at this point in the semester, I often at least half-agree), it helps to remember that chances are good that the approaching student may well be feeling at least as overwhelmed and apologetic as I am.

This has been a public service announcement. You may now resume your regularly scheduled grading, prep, committee work and/or drinking.


  1. I'd agree.

    I'd also point out that this is probably why they say they cheat/plagiarize. They're overwhelmed.
    To which I say "Yes, welcome to adulthood."

    And as my OH always points out to me when I am freaking out about how much grading I have yet to do: "You'll get it done. You always do."

    So: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

    /Chrome out

  2. Thanks to whoever did the graphic. It portrays a little too well how students sometimes appear in the dark corners of my mind at this time of year. Hopefully the weird light-aqua-colored mob above will not show up in my dreams tonight.

  3. I disagree.

    I felt overwhelmed in college, but it was nothing like now. No where close. I got to each 3 meals a day. I had time with my loved one. I just made a to do list for tomorrow that includes 13 hours of work. Above that, I have to commute, go shopping, and spend an hour at the dentist.

    I have no idea how I will get through tomorrow. So I've decided to go to bed now and get up at 5am.

    I never had to do that as an undergrad.

    1. I'm not sure we really disagree, Monkey. I'm not convinced that they actually *are* more overwhelmed and behind, just that they feel that way (in part because they don't have the kind of perspective BurntChrome's OH offered, and which we all develop to some extent with time and learning that the world doesn't end even if we do drop a ball now and then).

      I think I, too, am actually busier now (and not always doing a very good job of the basics, such as feeding myself half-decently and making sure I have clean clothes and exercising now and then). But I've developed somewhat better coping mechanisms (including the go-to-bed-and-get-up-early technique, which became the best approach for me sometime soon after I hit 30; before that, staying up worked better. Now, pushing 50, I seem to be falling back into stay-up-late, but any short night takes a greater and longer-lasting toll than it used to). That may make things about even.

      I hope you get at least a short breather soon. Your schedule sounds brutal.

    2. You're right; I hadn't thought of it that way.

      I have two journal articles and 6 applications due in the coming week. Actually, they are all due Nov 1, but I have a conference paper to give this weekend so I have had to get it all done early. I have no idea how this happened to be due on the very same day. And now (predictably) I can't sleep.

      On Nov 2, I'm going to have a margarita at 2pm. Just because.

    3. Oy! At least the journal articles and the conference presentations are good news, and the applications might lead to it. But reading your list, I'm reminded of why I haven't been on the market for a while: it feels like the applications might well be the straw that broke the camel's back (or at least that keeping up with them would preclude keeping up with research, which would make me an even less plausible candidate, and so on. . . .)

      Enjoy the margarita when you get to it!

  4. Thank you, Cassandra. This is one reason I lurve CM. Academic Monkey, I grok you and at times would raise you two kids.


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