It’s me, the dustbiter. You haven’t heard from me in a while. I’m not sure why. Writing here was feeling a little hard for a while there. But I’m still around, and still reading other post-academic blogs. I’m not sure what the future holds for this one, but I thought I’d at least check in and give an update.
I’m living in a weird limbo land of being an academic quitter in an academic’s clothing these days. You may recall that the Flying Buttress (as flying and buttressy as ever) got a job in a fairly rural location. I was happy to move with him but the lack of non-academic opportunities put a little kink in my career plans. And the U, it turns out, has been very very generous to me in an effort to keep F.B. around, since they frequently lose young faculty to more exciting (or at least less boring) places. So here I am, having finished one semester of teaching 4 sections of Intro Comp, getting settled into a semester teaching 2 sections of Comp 2 and one section of something that’s actually kind of fun, and frequently still looking around me and thinking, “My god there are so many churches here. What have I done?”
In some ways, the situation is frustrating. I never was all that interested in comp, so while I don’t hate teaching these classes, it’s not very exciting to me either. And since I have a renewable contract situation, I’ve been very choosy about to whom I have revealed my non-academic dreams. Luckily I have the good excuse of a tenure-track partner when people ask about the job market, which everyone else with my job is trying to squeeze in on top of their massive teaching loads. But I still feel like I have to pretend to really want this, lest they replace me with someone more deserving and I have to become a bible-belt house”wife” (perish the thought).
So I don’t know. Sometimes it’s all fine. I got my evals from last quarter and they were fantastic – many of my students said that it seemed like teaching is my dream. So I guess I’m putting on a good act. And I am happy to feel like lots of students appreciate what I can teach them. But teaching is freaking exhausting for me. I teach two days a week and at the end of the first day I feel totally spent and after the second days I need a day and a half to recover from the week. And of course there is the hell that is grading 70 composition papers. At first, I was just so glad to have any job after my horrible, no-good, very-bad year of unemployment. And in general I am much happier now than I was then. But that is a pretty low standard to meet. And lately I feel antsy to move on to the next thing – hopefully an MSW program. But in our current location that would almost definitely mean moving away and I am not even remotely ready to do the long distance relationship thing again.
So I think I’m in a bit of a holding pattern, which is not the end of the world. One thing that has changed a lot since I gave up on academia as a career is this: I was so freaked out when I made that decision that I was 32 and had no idea what to do with my life. Now I’m 34 and could care less. I’ve really managed to let go of the feeling that I fucked up some arbitrary schedule for my life. And it’s a huge relief.