Right now I don’t even feel like I know what my research is about. God forbid someone ask me. Well, not really. I mean sure, I do know what my research is about. But sometimes I don’t feel like I have a reign on it– I over think it, or I spend some days away from it trying to get prepped for the semester that begins Monday. Monday? Yikes! Since I’ve worked every single day (other than Christmas and New Year’s) since the break started, I’m not even going to count this as a break.
Anyway, here’s what do I need to do to “take back” my research agenda:
- Get back to writing every day. The “break”, visits from friends and family (which was so wonderful and needed), prepping for new classes etc. has gotten me out of the habit.
- Ease into that by finishing up a blog post related to my research.
- Order some books from the library related to my current research and devour them. There’s nothing like a stack of books and a bunch of notes to get me all excited (yes, I’m a dork) and remind me of why I do what I do.
- Review my job application material, and finish my retention essay on my research agenda.
I love starting a new semester. Even if I’m not buying new school supplies anymore, there’s so much newness— new students, new classes, fresh starts, new goals. So far my semester goals are:
- Finish up my retention package and hand that in next week.
- Review new literature and finish a draft of Article #1. I’m trying to fit it into a slightly newish sub-field for me, so I have to figure out what kind of contribution it’s going to make to that sub-field.
- Work on Article #2. Decide which journal it is best suited for. Bring in new data that I started analyzing last semester.
- Write a short piece for the highly accessible magazine-like journal in my field.
- Import my data into Dedoose and learn how to use it. I don’t anticipate much of a learning curve, though. I’m official giving up on NVivo. Good riddance.
And I have a few general teaching goals:
- No paper. I’ve set up my courses in Schoology and will stop accepting paper assignments.
- Not to let grading get the best of me.
- To actually stay a week ahead of my students in terms of readings. Posting discussion questions for each reading will force me to do this.
- To give my students (and myself) a daily sense of where we are in the class, what’s next, and how things fit into the larger picture. Last semester I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants (maybe because I was?), and I don’t like that feeling.
All in all, I think those are reasonable goals. My very astute partner just pointed out that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about the time it takes me to adapt. We’ve done 2 very large moves in 2 years, and I’ve had to adjust to two different jobs, schools, colleagues, students, commutes, grocery stores, etc. And adjusting takes time and energy.
This semester my one goal is that I am going to be deliberate. And afraid of nothing.