Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Silly Season

With finals just about to start, nearly everybody on campus is on her worst behavior. The students are jumpy, what with legitimate pressures (final exams, papers, and projects) and self-imposed ones (missed deadlines have a way of catching up to you). The faculty are visibly strained, with grading pressure combining with student begging combining with end-of-year events. The administrators are exhausted, since we do all of the end-of-year events, and we deal with the conflicts that don't get resolved at the departmental level. (I'll admit to giving thanks that I don't work at Dartmouth. The idea of a professor suing her students for not liking her is so headache-inducing that I can't even work up a full post on it without a serious blood-pressure spike.) The plagiarism board is doing land-office business, dealing with students who haven't figured out yet that faculty know how to use Google.

Those are relatively normal, if draining. After going through the same cycle enough times, most of us come to expect that two periods per year – roughly “Thanksgiving to Christmas” and “tax day to graduation” -- will just plain suck. I try to keep my bride apprised of which nights I'll have to stay late in any given week, but it's actually reached the point where I start to lose track. Like Rocky, I pretty much give up on the idea of 'winning' this month, instead hoping just to go the distance. And this is the time of year when I honestly wonder just how the hell single parents do it. I couldn't do this job and raise kids by myself. The events alone would do me in.

I'm too spent even to work up a decent blog post.

So a question for my wise and worldly readers: how do you stay sane during silly season?