Wednesday, December 17, 2014

End of semester

For last two weeks or so all senior faculty keep saying: "Almost over! Almost there! A few more days, and it will be all right! Yippee!"

But I cannot share this excitement; not at all. At least by now this whole teaching thing was working somehow; maybe not ideally, but it was functional; it worked! And now time is taking it away from me. Because the very day I grade my last exam this semester, I need to start developing two more courses for the spring, and writing protocols for about 25 new labs (I am not sure of the exact number, but it is something as ridiculous at that). Which obviously scares me enormously.

Mentally, I am aware of the fact that everything will be all right, because it always was in the past, and this challenge is no different. I will just approach it as any other project: break it into pieces, set the priorities, create a plan, and then implement it point by point. But emotionally the sheer amount of work to do, and stuff to learn, makes it rather unsettling.

It's like in mountain hiking: when you are some 1-2 miles from the mountain, it looks almost vertical, it looks like a wall. As you approach it, it "lays down", and becomes flatter, less imposing. That's because we are not that good in estimating 3D depth of objects when they are very large and very far away from us. But knowing that there is an optical illusion does not take the illusion away. Same with this whole teaching preparation thing. In exactly 2 months from now I need to give a lecture about the gut, and I know exactly nothing about the gut, except that it has villi, and can be, with some effort, reworked into traditional baroque lute strings. That's pretty much it.

But it will be fine of course. I've ordered two books about the gut, and they are thick and heavy enough to kill a bear, so it will be fine!

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