Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to school with #GRFPproblems

Since I don't have a real job or a postdoc yet, I'm still technically a graduate student and we're staying here for the fall. I am a teaching assistant again for the first time in years, and in addition I'm teaching a class with Sam at his university as an adjunct. I'm starting to worry about what I've gotten myself into!

For the past few years, I've had the great fortune to be supported by a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. My whole responsibility was to do my awesome science. I was my own boss. I worked hard, but I had relatively few times when other people regularly needed my attention. I had huge blocks of uninterrupted time. I've been really spoiled, I know.

This fall, I'll have about 80 students between the two jobs. I've scheduled nearly all of my teaching on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the hopes of having bigger chunks of time on the other days. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I need to be applying for jobs & fellowships and trying to get my chapters published. I could fill a semester with those tasks alone.

And I have a baby. My husband will be the primary caregiver, but I'll still be doing more work from home than I otherwise would. And when he does get called to work (it's erratic), we'll pay a couple of graduate school friends to watch her either at home or at school. My time will be even more fractured by childcare.

I also still need to pay attention to healing. More than 3 months after childbirth, I still can't lift heavy things (i.e. baby in car seat) or walk at a normal person's pace for very long. I am back in physical therapy and I need to do major pelvic floor and core work to be able to resume the level of activity that I had up until mid-pregnancy. It is very important to me that I get back to 100% and I don't think it's just going to happen without trying.

I'm sort of worried that perhaps I've jumped in too far-- maybe I shouldn't have signed on as an adjunct, too, but I think my CV and I could really use the teaching experience. After years of not paying much attention to the school calendar because it didn't change my schedule much, I find myself anxious about the start of the semester and worried about how I'll manage everything I need and want to do. I'm trying to be smart and prioritize and figure out which things to let slide. Here's hoping I've got a job and am still sane at the end of the semester.


Anonymous said...

Its not your fault, just bad timing

penn said...

I wish you luck this fall! Remember that you are skilled, intelligent, and have a lot to share with your students. And getting back into the teaching arena will definitely help beef up your CV!

African Fieldworker said...

as someone who has taught a lot while trying to do other things, one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to do good enough at teaching. Teaching can expand to fill all the time you give it; your powerpoints don't have to be perfect, let them watch a movie once in a while, have a debate so they run the class, etc.

Good luck!

Karina said...

Thanks Penn and AF for the tips and encouragement!