I say it quietly, lest some papers sneak up on me that I missed: it is finished! I graded the last paper (of about 540, total, this semester) just after lunch and have been quietly rejoicing since then. Sure, there will be much, much more next semester, but that’s a whole month away.
So that means the end of my first semester as a full-time college professor. And at the end of it, and even in the middle of it, when the hamster wheel kept turning faster and faster and faster, I couldn’t be more grateful.
I was considering this on one of my morning commutes this week. I’ve given up reading, most of the time, on my morning commute, because it’s a fabulous thinking- and people-watching-time. And I got to thinking about this time last year. I had just finished my first semester as an adjunct – teaching the same class I just taught – and was fighting a small amount of despair over the “knowledge” that I loved teaching but it’s impossible to get a job teaching full-time in the humanities these days, especially without a terminal degree. Because I’d just finished and submitted my M.A. thesis and couldn’t see my way forward, I assumed my education was probably finished. I loved my work and was happy in it, but I could see what I was best suited for and sad that it wouldn’t happen.
In the space of the next eight weeks, my life changed so much, through conversations that were supposed to be about one thing but turned out to be about something else, chance encounters, books I read, things I heard. And so: here I am, almost by accident, grateful, tired, and blessed.
Also, hey: I’ve gone back to Tumblr to assemble the strange bits and pieces that come across my desktop.