Monday, 27 February 2006

Still alive

Hey! hey! I'm still here. It might not look like it, but I am. This is the first week of the semester and I have an awful lot to do, such as figure out what kind and combination of carrot + stick might be most efficient in coaxing some already very busy and harried students into slowing down & deferring the expected but very slight gratifications associated with, you know, an easily followable story, for long enough to actually read Such is Life. I tell ye, this is keeping me awake at night. I'm always prey to a certain amount of lying-awake anxiety near the beginning of the semester; it only goes away after first tutorials when I can confirm that the current crop of students are not fearsome Grand Inquisitors. So I'm expecting to sleep well on Thursday night but not until then.
Over the years I have observed this: academics tend to make some token attempt to smarten themselves up before the beginning a new semester - a haircut is the usual thing - coincidentally I fully intended to get my own hair cut, by a real hairdresser no less - but I haven't had time, so will have to bear up for at least one more week under a shameful drooping snaggly crown of snakey split ends that's been brewing since September.
Last night the lying awake stressing became so ridiculous I had to a) get up and check my email, at 2.30am (no new messages, damn! damn!), then b) at 4 o'clock or so I resorted to lying upside-down in the bed, with my feet on my pillow and my head where my feet usually are, in order to get close enough to the cat all curled up down there to hopefully catch some of his extreme sleepfulness. That worked, happily.

Oh no, is that the time. Goodnight, then, and good luck (to me).

14 comments:

mark bahnisch said...

Good luck, Laura!

"Over the years I have observed this: academics tend to make some token attempt to smarten themselves up before the beginning a new semester - a haircut is the usual thing - coincidentally I fully intended to get my own hair cut, by a real hairdresser no less"

Ha! I was thinking today I needed a haircut before the first class - but comforted myself with the thought of the new pants and shoes bought on Friday night in anticipation of Semester...

elaine said...

good luck! (not that you'll need it) The little ducks will be neither smarter nor stupider than last year.

Only possibly more annoying as, after the Summer break, you are used to a quiet academic life on campus and short to non-existent queues during lunch. Campus is so much easier to negotiate when the students aren't there!

Lucy Tartan said...

oh! yes, it'll all be fine. I'm not at all doubting of the students' cleverness, it's more a case of inadequacy anxiety / butterflies before meeting a heap of new people.

There you go, Mark - you know you're a fully fledged egghead when personal appearance refurbishment coincides with the start of the semester. Last night I stopped at Northland on the way home and bought a new pair of trousers but unfortunately the cat went to sleep on them and one third of one leg is coated in fur.

kate said...

Because I don't teach I was somewhat taken by surprise by the student influx last week and had very little time to adopt my 'Christian don't even Think about evangelising near me' face when I walked out of the office at lunch time.

A friend just mentioned that some of her first years were born in 1988. The Bicentenial Babies are at University (and I suspect that makes us, well, not so young)

Grumpy said...

Good luck Lucy. I get the no sleep axiety thing too - like tonight. When I've checked all my mail and read my fav blogs I come and rake about in your archives. Spooky!

katy said...

perhaps you'll need to coax baz to take slumber under the bedclothes with you until thursday.

that way you won't need to spin yourself around to accomodate him.

I find the first week of semester with first years is best met by scaring the bejesus out of them with talk of likely fails if they don't realise that their A's at high school will roughly translate to D's at uni unless they learn how to write actual essays and construct scholarly arguments.

It deflects one's own trauma somewhat ;)

Ampersand Duck said...

Heh. Art school seems to be the complete opposite. Eveyone walks around trying to look more mussed-up and nonchalant than the next person. At least there's no kap dogs in backpacks this year (at least 2 last year).

Love the thought of you sleeping toe-to-nose with Dorian, snuggling up to the cat. My tiny Scottish great-grandparents slept head-to-toe every night of their married life...

Ampersand Duck said...

LAP DOGS

Sheesh. (or rather, 'yhifs')

Lucy Tartan said...

I'm tired enough that kap dogs seemed perfectly reasonable.

I remember some of the more fetching outfits I contrived for myself during my mercifully brief art school student days and am very glad digital cameras weren't around in those days. One involved wearing a knitted patchwork blanket like a sarong; another a pair of painters' overalls cut off above the knee and worn over yellow tights and black Docs.

Lucy Tartan said...

Basil doesn't like being cuddled by a lying-down person. It is the only complaint I have to make of him. He would never get into the bed.

Er, of course I would never allow it even if he was willing.

Anonymous said...

Bazlotto!

Sleeping head to toe.. that is fascinating. Why did they do it? Did they affectionately chew feet in the middle of the night?

I always thought it was about poverty, when you had the whole family in bed and tucked them in like sardines.

- barista

David said...

This was the first first week of teaching when I made no effort at all. In fact, I made a barely registered decision that I would not alter my mode of dress for the sake of the workplace. Four years ago I was wearing ties!

ThirdCat said...

isn't it funny that when in the throes of insomnia a sleeping cat will soothe while a sleeping partner will irritate to the point of low-level violence

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