Monday, December 17, 2007

Almost human again

Things have eased off slightly since my last moany post. I think I'd taken on too much stuff, in retrospect... I succumbed to the flu bug which was going round at work and was off sick for a while. That meant I had to re-jig various teaching things and dreamt about them while I was ill. Feverish hallucinations and an over-attachment to the job are not great for one's recovery really.

Now all the final dissertation tutorials are finished, the essays are marked and the students have gone for the holidays. I've developed an extreme aversion to slithery transparent A4 plastic wallets. It's really difficult to get the essays back in once you've read them and when there's loads of them... a staple in the corner would do the job quite nicely.

We've had the annual staff meeting, listened to tales about different types of concrete (for the new college building) and heard how Sir Norman Foster got the lettering very wrong in the British Museum (wrong typeface and bad letter spacing, though I don't suppose he thought so). We've had the Christmas party, thankfully devoid of novelty flashing antlers and bursts of song. Small mercies.

I had a meeting with my PhD supervisors about the year ahead. The workload is rather daunting from now on, until the end of August. We discussed examiners - I need an extra one, as I'm staff. Every PhD in this country is assessed by a panel of experts in that field, who read the thesis and cross-examine the student verbally in a viva, before they decide whether a doctorate can be awarded or not. Apparently some students enjoy this (!!) as it's a rare opportunity to discuss their work with experts. The enjoyment factor sounds a bit dubious to me at the moment, but I'm glad the people we've selected have already heard about me and like my work. Assuming there are no unforeseen deaths or disasters ahead, the whole thing should be out of the way by this time next year....!!!!!!!!

I'm a bit nervous about what happens after that, as it's horrendously competitive out there and academic qualifications alone don't guarantee marvellous jobs. A colleague who is at the same point in her PhD has been questioning everything in her life as well recently, so I guess it's normal, though definitely not pleasant. An old schoolfriend has just finished hers and said it was an ordeal at the end, so that makes me feel better too... sort of. My mum thinks we must be masochistic weirdos for putting ourselves through it on purpose, and I'm starting to think she has a point.

It was my dad's 70th birthday do yesterday, which was surprisingly nice (I'm afraid I hadn't been looking forward to it). But it felt like the first time I'd done something totally unrelated to work for ages, it gets the other stuff into perspective, so I'm having a blissful pottering-about day today and intend to have a good rest for now, mixed up with doing non-work things and some writing. I think I'll sort my blog out too... a change of look would be good, but I'm not sure what I want yet. I've been watching quite few old Doctor Who episodes, hence the Family of Blood pic - that was a good one, and scary scarecrows too. I've also been shopping, for new shoes and a selection of cosmetics and bath stuff I'd run out of - there doesn't seem any point in working if you can't squander a bit of money on yourself occasionally. Now I just 'need' a new MAC lipstick and a new lip brush, as my current one is nearly bald (the hairs keep coming out and sticking to my lips) then I think I'll feel almost human again. Phew.

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