Monday, September 10, 2007

... After Labor Day

Labor Day is the only fall holiday in our academic school calendar until Thanksgiving; after the newness of the first week of school fades, a three-day weekend arrives. Freshman are often discouraged from going home, fear they will not return lurking in the background, everyone else on campus celebrates the last glorious weekend of summer. Everything is still fresh and new and pretty and fun. But before we can settle into the humdrum rhythm of the fall semester it is necessary to survive the week after Labor Day, the longest four-day week on record.

I used to think it was just me ... but on Friday three of my student workers mentioned the week felt more like three weeks; homework was abominable, the weather too nice to be indoors, and expectations for the term were overwhelming in their early intensity. Reading, actually re-reading, Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie over the weekend, I found a quote that sums things up nicely. Even taken out of the context of the book, it fits:

"It's all in that expectation. Everybody wants to live in a Norman Rockwell painting, and everybody's really living in The Scream" (Fast Women, p. 193).

My week ended with two new hires, bringing the total to four and a graduate assistant, four resource center tours, three for the WebCT course and one for resource center information and database handouts, and a mad dash to finish my conference report/article submission.

The queen of procrastination, I feel the tiniest bit hypocritical when beating the "start early" drum for the course. There is no doubt in my mind I would be the student starting this project the week before Thanksgiving break. After the three classes, sixty plus students, left the resource center I was relatively sure they would at least start this week. Really. The children's literature class touring the resource center got the quick fifteen-minute overview and had opportunity to peruse the available curriculum materials. Many of them were familiar faces and they are the same group who will return next week to do the Mock Caldecott exercise. A few glassy eyes looked back at me after looking at the database information. Luckily since they were familiar faces I know they will come to me with questions regarding their assignment.

Finishing my article was another story. I wrote, printed, re-wrote, printed again, and finally put it aside for an evening. The morning it was due I edited it for the last time, checked my usage of Harvard style for web page endnotes and resource page, and begged the boss to do a final read before I submitted it via email to the journal editor/assistant editor. Why? The more I edited and rewrote, the more I was convinced the work was drivel. I knew my boss would tell me if it was drivel, politely but tell me nonetheless, and I would have a last chance to change glaring errors. He said it wasn't, drivel that is, and I sent it along before the deadline. I received confirmation of the submission this morning (praise be). An invitation to submit is not a guarantee of publication, but it is better than not getting the invitation at all. When finished I was glad it read well, even if it was not brilliant I did not embarrass myself. A fine goal.

Today was the first day of the humdrum remainder of the semester. It is still exciting, new, and fun.

Before I forget, this blathering entry is post number 400! Another blog milestone celebrated by hypothetical musings about one topic or another. Blog on ...

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