academic rhythms

I never left school, not really.  I went off to Winchester Elementary in Memphis in 1975, passed through ten schools in two states over the next 12 years, and followed that up with college, graduate school, postdoc, and now third tenure-track job.  For me, new year's day is in late August.  Late December/early January is a time to relax the mind and recharge. As a member of the regular faculty for all those years, I became used to staying at home once exams and grading were done.  Any work that needed doing could be accomplished just as well at home in my pajamas (note: I don't really wear pajamas; I was just going for a good cliche/metaphor).  The quiet, lonely corridors of the math department are no place to be this time of year.

Now as exams are winding down, students are leaving, and faculty are disappearing, I'm at the office.  I like my role as an administrator, but this week is making me nostalgic for my old life.  Next week will be worse, I'm sure, as the university will still be open.  I've never been a fan of the 9 to 5, an opinion reinforced by those summer jobs I endured in high school and college.  That's one of the reasons I went into academia (not the main one, but it is nice not to be chained to a desk).

Old habits are hard to break.  Stopping nail-biting is one thing, but convincing yourself that decades-old behavior patterns are no longer to be followed is tricky business.  Thirty-five years of the same rhythm makes for a very nice comfortable rut, and it's not easy to get the wagon out of it. So I guess I'll just have to develop new routines.

Barring some earth-shattering topic coming up that compels me to blog, this is likely the last entry for this year.  Thanks for reading, happy holidays, and I'll see you in the new year.