It’s been a busy few weeks here. I spent my birthday weekend at the end of November in Birmingham and was running to keep up as soon as I got back. I’ve been lesson planning for my regular classes as well as some additional critical theory tutoring I was asked to do. It’s been quite handy getting back to grips with some of the theory I haven’t touched since I got thoroughly engrossed with my thesis, especially as I’ll be teaching it next term.
I spent the weekend after with a lovely literary mate that I met at a conference earlier this year. We went on a pilgrimage to see Sylvia Plath’s grave. It’s in the village of Heptonstall, which is sneakily hiding along some very windy and remote country lanes. We battled the weather and the satnav and eventually made our way down a tiny cobbled road. The village boasts two pubs, about fifty houses and a really amazing graveyard. We had a brilliant Sunday lunch at The Cross Inn before making our way through the wind and rain to the newer part of the graveyard.
Since then I’ve been teaching and have only in the last two days had time to get back to my chapter. Getting back into the swing of things has been hard. I’ve mostly just been editing what I wrote before. I’ve officially reached a point where I just need to get it done and hand it in though, so there might be a couple of late nights in my immediate future.
This week we were talking about the work/life balance of PhD students, particularly those of us who are teaching as well. We have to fit in lesson planning, teaching, marking, reading for class, reading for the thesis, research, writing, editing, and remembering to leave the house and shower. The lecturer we were speaking to suggested that our research productivity might become something that’s relatively seasonal, fitting in around teaching. I personally can’t work like that – my memory is so terrible I’d basically be starting over every time, but I can see how that might be the case in the long term should I end up with a career in academia.
I’m struggling to get the balance right – my teaching prep has to come first, as it has very strict deadlines, but the thesis/life part is tricky. Teaching takes up most of my week, so my thesis stuff gets done over the weekend. This means that if I lose a weekend to socialising I’m essentially losing two weeks between one chunk of thesis time and the next. It’s difficult. Not sure what I’m going to do over Christmas when there will be lots of stuff drawing on my attention.
Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted.