Earlier this week, I wrote a short post about loving the beginning of the semester. And it’s true — I love the first week of classes and the excitement and energy that new and returning students bring to campus. I love having people in the Women’s Center again. In particular, I love the opportunity of starting with a clean slate with my classes — getting to know a group of students, knowing that any past pedagogical errors will not be held against me.
What I do not like, however, is the week before classes begin. It’s just a miserable time. Despite my good intentions, I still haven’t finished my syllabi, which is making me a tad nervous (this happens every year and every year I swear I will change next year). It’s no longer possible to think that I really will get through my overly-ambitious summer to-do list, the house is a mess, and I can barely recall what my husband looks like. The list of events at which my presence is expected seems to grow every year — and while I can appreciate the institutional needs driving those expectations, multiple 12-hour days make me exhausted and cranky. The most difficult thing, though, is that my normal methods of self-care (baths, novel-reading on Sunday afternoons, eating well, trying to get to the gym at least a few times per week, relaxing with a glass of wine with my husband after work) all go out the window this week at there simply is no time available for such things. That is the true source of crankiness, I think. I’m trying hard to find the “zone” that Licinia Barrueco Kaliher referred in her post for the SA Blog, but I’m not there yet. What do y’all do to keep yourselves sane and pleasant this week? Share your tips! My staff and colleagues will thank you.