Monday, March 27, 2006

Annoyances, Disappointments, and Joys

I've been waiting in my office all morning for the TA to bring me the grades for my students' exam, which was Thursday. Now the delay in the grading being accomplished is partly my fault because I switched the exam day to coincide with the TA's trip to a conference. He said he was going to grade them Sunday night when he got back and send me the stuff asap. Clearly at 4:30pm on Monday, I've received nothing. I checked at his office and he wasn't around. I just threw a quick post on the class website apologizing for the delay in grades, but if it is much longer, I'm going to start getting angry emails from students. And I don't feel like dealing with those.

I'm disappointed because I won an award, but I can't go to the award ceremony. It is a teaching award which gives me an honorarium and a chance to develop and teach my own class on a topic of my choice. But the ceremony is the same day that I teach and starts a mere half an hour before my class. I toyed with cancelling class, but then thought that's not very teacherly-like. It is also the last class of the semester. Oh well, I still get the award, just not the public "praise and thanks" that the invitation promised.

Despite these annoyances and disappointment, I am feeling very happy today. I talked with another grad student today about dissertation stuff. She's preparing her proposal and asked to see mine as an example. We'll both be finishing next May and it was helpful to talk to her because I think we both did a good job of encouraging the other and reaching the conclusion of "we can do this, it isn't impossible."

The thing that really made the day great was a brief encounter with one of my favorite professors. This prof was on my qualifying exams committee and is currently on my dissertation committee. I had a fabulous class with him a few semesters ago and I'm fairly confident that he likes me. He is older and acts very curmudgeon, but underneath is a sweetheart. Anyway, out of nowhere he comes down to my office and pops his head in. He asks me if I know where Yoda is (how he likes to refer to the prof in the office next to mine). He then mentions that he got an email from a professor friend of his at big mid-western university looking for post-doc candidates and that he thought it would be a great position for me if only it wasn't for starting in Sept. He said he would email me the information so I could take a look at it. Not only did he email me the stuff, but he emailed his prof friend and said "I have the great student who fortuantely for us will be here next year, which is unfortunate for you and your program." The prof friend wrote back (which was forwarded to me) that I should contact him in early '07 if I'm still interested. How awesome is that! 1) Confirmation that this prof does really like me. 2) He's looking out for possible positions for me after I finish here. 3) Oh god, job/post-doc life is looming and I really should be starting to look/compile documents. Crap, I just went from happy to terrified!

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