Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Had a bad day

So it started off with getting stung.

And then I had a bunch of e-mails from students with (documentable) problems, some sad, some not so sad, but that mean I have to make some accommodations.

Gave a quiz in my class. The average grade was 50%. This was not a pop quiz; it was pre-announced, promoted as "practice for the exam." A review sheet was given. I was available for questions beforehand. So I don't know. My confidence as a teacher is kind of shaken even as I wonder if maybe it's more that the students aren't preparing hard enough. (A couple people did earn a perfect score, but only about 3% of the class). I did go over it (and post the grades after I graded them) and did a review with the rest of the hour so hopefully people will study more for the exam that's coming up.

And then my grant supplies came, but when I passed the information on to the person with the power to order them, there was a mis-communication and the wrong item was ordered. It's an item I can use on the project and actually kind of need, and shipping it back would eat up an inordinate amount of the remaining funds, so I just re-ordered the thing I need.....which runs $5 over the grant. Which could lead to one of three outcomes:

a. The department or the university "eats" the $5, no biggie
b. The Business Office calls me up and tells me to remit $5 to them to make up the difference. No biggie but a bit of an embarrassment to me
c. I'm in big, big trouble and have broken some rule that is technically insubordination or embezzlement or something....and it could be very, very bad.

Option c is extremely unlikely but I'm enough of a worrier (and enough of a Twilight Sparkle) to dwell on it and to wonder how I'd defend myself if called on the carpet. Could I point to seventeen years of kind-of exemplary service? Could I fall flat on my face and beg mercy?

This is why I never break rules; I'm too afraid of the worst-case scenario. I'm going to have bad dreams about this until I find out (after the first of the month) if I'm in the clear. And yeah, I do kind of worry about "secret rules" where there's something I've not been told about because there HAVE been a few situations where someone changed a rule, didn't notify me, and then I got chewed out for not abiding by the rule I didn't know about. And I dislike being chewed out and I admit I'm sensitive enough that it hurts a lot, even as I am going, "but this isn't my fault because I was going by the rule I knew and no one told me it had been changed!" And it does feel very unfair and hung-out-to-dry when there's a new rule you don't know about, couldn't have known about, but you're reprimanded for not following it...

Then, I read some of the promotion packets of colleagues. Woecakes. How did I ever make full professor? Shoot, how did I ever earn tenure? I've done NOTHING compared to these folks. I'm a lazy bum. So I spent most of the day feeling bad about that. And now worrying about post-tenure review: If they're looking to downsize, I'm the one who'll be getting the piece of paper with the black spot on it.

And yeah, yeah, I'm trying to tell myself:

1. You only see other people's "outsides" and you only ever see your "inside" so other people don't see the giant ball of insecurity and procrastination you are, they only see that you have, in fact, published *a little* (though one of the people whose packet I read has had three papers out *this year*) and that you get decent evals (though I also question those; there's a study suggesting they're worth very little other than as a popularity contest*)

(*And isn't it ironic. I finally gain some measure of long-desired "popularity" when I really need evidence that I am actually *good,* not just *popular*. Don't wish for ANYTHING kids, you might get it when you least need it)

2. I can't even remember what I was going for for 2 here....maybe something about comparing yourself to other people isn't good? But the problem is, it's hard not to... I don't know. I know there will always be people "better" than me, but I wish they weren't so MUCH better.

I tried to work on the talk I'm to give the first part of November (because that will come faster than I can imagine) but am kind of stalled. I have a kind-of, sort-of outline and I sort of know where I need to go for background but right now am feeling stuck and kind of overwhelmed.

And I had to make a long distance call and found my cell phone had somehow got turned on and had almost run out of charge. (And there's no way to do it that I know of from the office phones any more; I think the long-distance codes got taken away from us because someone abused them).

At least the call went through and I am registered for a weekend workshop (Monarch banding, and yes, you can band Monarchs and they do) which will also give me a contact person to talk to for some information about the talk I am to give....

But yeah. I really hate Tuesdays. If one day of the week is going to be a trashfire, it's going to be a Tuesday. Mondays I can handle but it's usually Tuesday that sneaks up behind me and punches me in the kidneys.

And now I need to go home and do the workout I was supposed to do this morning but decided I "needed" another hour of sleep instead of, and try to do some more piano practice. I really kind of want to just crawl under a quilt and hide but being an adult means you keep going even when you don't want to.

Some of this is pre-research stress. I don't like the uncertainty of "new" research because this is me:

Though I don't know. I was mentioning that to a colleague - that I feel like "I have no idea what I'm doing" and another colleague butted in and said, "That's how research is supposed to feel."

Really? The sense I get from watching everyone else is that this is them:

And this is me:

So, I don't know. Maybe everyone feels like that second .gif and everyone else is a champ at hiding it and I am not.

But also, the fear of failure is strong with me and research is prime risk-for-failure territory.

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