As the air chills and the days grow short, the semester chugs along

Boston Common, October 2015

Boston Common, October 2015

As I made tracks to my weekly singing class on Tuesday evening at around 6 p.m., both the chilly air and dusk were part of my brisk walk. I did stop to snap the photo above; I liked the way the lights were playing off the fountain. By the time I got to the adult education center where my singing class is held, it was fairly dark.

At work, the end of October means that the semester is now in full swing. I’ve got a stack of paper drafts and outlines to go through this week, and I’m taking a closer look at my course plans to get a sense of whether I’m on schedule in terms of subject matter coverage.

Many of you took your leave of school calendars some time ago, but those of us still in the business as an educator, administrator, or student know how the rhythms of the semester or quarter define our experience of time. I’ve probably said something along these lines before here, but being an academic is as much a lifestyle as it is a career.

For folks like me, whose lines between work, avocations, and civic involvement easily get blurred, it means that work-life balance is something of an irrelevant concept. A lot of stuff just gets jumbled together. Furthermore, although I work a lot, I am not the most self-disciplined person, which means that something another person might get done during a standard Monday through Friday work week might get pushed into the weekend in my case.

Such is the blessing and curse of a vocation that offers great flexibility in scheduling outside of classes and meetings. I offer this as an observation, not a complaint! I think I am wired to live like an undergraduate, so it’s good that I’ve found a way to earn a living that facilitates this personal quality.

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