Late April


in Daily updates, Rants

I am feeling a bit burdened with worries right now. The Massey term is coming to an end, so people are heading off. Some of them won’t be returning in the fall. There is also coursework and grading for me to wrap up (the latter keeps seeming like it will end, only to yield a new complication like plagiarism to investigate, student queries and complaints, and incompatible approaches used by the various teaching assistants in evaluation). Giving people bad grades is quite uncomfortable for me, even when they are well-deserved. It naturally makes me wonder if the quality of my instruction should have been better, or if I could have found more effective means of motivation.

Things are a bit up in the air with the fossil fuel divestment campaign, as we wait to see who will end up on this committee and try to decide what we can and should do in the interim. There are also big discussions ongoing about the future of, which involve both risks and opportunities for the group. I am worried about us getting tied up with complicated organizational changes or unmanageable new financial obligations, losing our focus on practical and strategic campaigns carried forward by volunteers. Tomorrow night there is a poorly-timed three-hour meeting (five with travel time) where preliminary decisions are being taken on these issues.

There is personal financial stress too. I am still dealing with a seriously consequential re-evaluation of my 2012 taxes, where I have no idea what the final bill will be. I also need to deal with a conflict between the schedule of payments for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the fee deadline for the University of Toronto. Somehow, I managed to lose the pair of boots I wear nearly every day, leaving me with only hiking boots as practical footwear. A lot of my clothes are falling apart.

The comp is naturally also looming – both in the more distant sense of actually writing it and in the more immediate sense of constant outlines and readings due for my preparation group, where I have been consistently falling behind. I have done far too little reading, and am dramatically less familiar with the material than my groupmates. Starting in May, I will have weekend porter work obligations and summer residence bookings to help with, also.

The next couple of days require a big push: getting my last coursework essay done, coming up with something for my comp group, finalizing grading and invigilating the exam, and dealing with the important 350 meeting tomorrow. Lately, it has been hard to find motivation to try to knock items off a daunting list. That has become even more true as the likelihood of another ruined summer keeps rising. I keep feeling like I am about to move into a span where the headaches will clear and I will be able to commit solid work toward long-term projects, only to find that old headaches persist while being joined by new ones. It feels like a very long time since I have had a real break, as opposed to a guilty period of ignoring work.

[Update: 6 May 2014] Clara and Kristina found my boots! (Located mysteriously between the recycling and a woodpile)

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