Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And miles to go before I... something... something... good night, folks.

Some bullet points conveying my current status:

--Sweet llama of the Bahamas, I'm tired. This one's important, because it flavors what follows. In preparation for the class I start teaching next week, I'm taking steps this week to slowly adjust my sleeping schedule. The first two days went tolerably, but right now, I'm somewhere between "dozing while awake" and "near comatose." The only thing that's granting me any satisfaction is the knowledge that doing this next week would be much, much worse.

--Happy Birthday, Mom! Well, actually, yesterday was my mother's birthday. I phoned her up and we chatted for a bit. Without getting into details, it reminded me how lucky I am to have the family I do and how I should talk to them more.

--No, student, YOU are it! I was torn on what to do for my first class next week. I like to do some sort of meeting exercise in the first class, but I also wanted to relate it to the course's actual subject, digital media studies. I think I stumbled on a way today. I've been reading Richard Coyne's book, The Tuning of Place, which, among other things, joins spatiality with pervasive media using the metaphor of tuning. I'm going to borrow his discussion of tagging to get the students to create "tags" for each other. The details need a little hammering out, but I feel like the core idea is here now.

--Here comes the new group, same as the old group.Sometimes, in all the hustle of undergraduate Frosh Week, we forget that it's Frosh Week for graduate students too. Specifically, after orientation today, the new grad students in our department are herded into a bar with the promise of bonding and social mixing. I went briefly today to get to know them, met a few, and went home. I meant to stay till the end, but honestly, I am so exhausted I couldn't do it. It's strange; this is my fourth "orientation" point, and I remember them being anxiety-ridden. The first time around, it was the "stranger in a strange land" thing, where I didn't know anybody. The next time, it was the awkwardness of how to present myself after I'd just spent a year getting comfortable with the people I knew. This time--it was just something I did. I met a bunch of people who seem perfectly nice, I may or may not get to know them better, and I left with a tired but pleasant glow. Maybe I've become jaded, and no longer put forth the same effort to get to know the newbies. Maybe I've become more socially broadened, and grown more efficient at breaking the ice and subsequent small talk. Or maybe I was just too tired to care one way or other.

Actually, it's probably that last one. They still seem like good people, though.

Later Days!

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