succumbing to peer pressure

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Timing is everything

I find myself in the fortunate position of having a few too many opportunities this fall. I notoriously over-schedule myself and am overly optimistic about just how much time I'll have to accomplish everything that interests me. So here's the list and coinciding dilemma - my friend Paul needs me to TA for his sampling class (I'm pretty much already committed to this one, probably about 8-10 hours a week, on average), the intro classes also need a grader for all the labs (I'm pretty much already committed to this one too, though it's a big question mark as to how time consuming it will be - at first glance it's a big job (a couple hundred homeworks a week) but they're changing things up this year and doing some fancy-schmancy online grading thing and my job will actually be to create answer keys and post them to blackboard and make the online technology do the grading. not really sure how it's supposed to work yet, could easily become a technological nightmare and time suckage. on the plus side, I don't have to hold office hours. on the minus side, I'll be the one everyone hates.). Ok, so those are the commitments. Well, plus I'll probably (almost certainly) be taking one class (to wrap up my human rights certificate, so no math, but heavy on the reading and writing) and then there's that whole dissertation thing. Then there's the gymnastics thing - Karen definitely wants me to keep coaching in the fall, and given how much fun I'm having right now, I'd really like to too. Then there are the endless other varying TA jobs that need to be covered and random consulting projects, big and small...currently my funding is still up in the air (eek!) so my impulse is to make sure I have enough hourly wage jobs lined up to piece together at least as much money as my stipend currently pays (which runs out in either August or September, I forget). But I'm afraid of getting myself into the same position as last year when I really felt like I was so tied up in teaching and coursework that I wasn't spending nearly enough time doing research. And although I'd like to be more laid back about my timeline to graduation, I know that if I look back and feel like I 'used up' a lot of research time doing random odd jobs (most of which will, admittedly, hopefully, help me to get employed, someday) I'm going to regret that. I also know that no matter how much I'd like to believe that having less money to go out means that I will spend more time doing research, all it really means is that I spend more time being stressed out and trying to come up with ways to make more money. Sigh. In reality I know that I do not yet have enough information to make any decisions, but having just come out of a meeting with my advisor during which we were discussing all these things I needed to get them out of my head and onto the page. Now if only I could convince myself not to think about them until a few more things get nailed down...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you get out of the grading? And how many hours/week (including driving time) is gymnastics? Do you need either of those jobs for monetary reasons?

2:51 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I could get out of the grading, but I'd feel pretty guilty (classic case of my dept needing me and me not being able to say no; really, there's no way to know much about this particular job and whether or not/how much it will suck).

The gymnastics is totally up to me. Karen just sent me the fall schedule and basically was like, we'd love to have you, let me know which classes you're interested in. The commute sucks a bit (about 30 minutes).

As for money, my funding situation could end up on either end of the spectrum. In one scenario I may need every single hourly wage job I can find. In another (obviously preferable) scenario any hourly wage may just be spending money on top of living expenses being covered from another source. Which is why I know that I don't have enough information to decide anything right now. Which is sort of what's driving me nuts (the funding thing has been up in the air for a few months already, so I'm really, really hoping it gets resolved soon, though I suppose I should be careful what I wish for as I'm living in perpetual fear of jinxing myself and causing scenario #1 to happen rather than #2).

3:06 PM  
Blogger Cor said...

If you love the gymnastics, do it. Can you just commit to one class a week? With all your work/school related commitments I think you need something fun other than boozing it with your chums. :)

Also, don't feel guilty if you need to ditch something. I'm the same way, but I'm sure if you say you just can't do it they'll find someone else. They should understand that your research comes first. That's why you're there, right?

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Human rights certificate? This you should expand upon.

Also, if money is a concern, a 'you're a decent person' grant could be worked out with a representative of the oil industry. It'd be workable to come up with a few extra grand, methinks. Or if a grant insults the pride, perhaps a loan? You could pay it back with your first-born child or something...


3:48 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

The Human Rights Certificate is just an extra little piece of paper that will be attached (perhaps not literally) to my diploma and basically just means that I took some extra classes/electives (health and human rights, health as social justice, and this interdisciplinary catch-all that I plan to take in the fall) and participated in some sort of 'practicum' (in my case, volunteered with a conference and helped author a paper). It doesn't really count for anything and likely will have minimal (if any) affect on future job prospects. It's just for me.

As for the grant, I really, really appreciate that dear. Right now things are ok (I actually put money *into* my savings account for the first time since Christmas. it was very exciting), it's more that a form of steady income in the future is somewhat up in the air. Like I said above, it may come through seamlessly, it may mean hustling a bit and piecing together several part-time jobs to make a 'regular' income. It's actually more the not knowing than the possible realities that stresses me out. Rationally, I should be ok in either scenario, I'd just like to know already which scenario I'm facing so that I can plan accordingly.

4:15 PM  

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