I’m 51 today. If you’re keeping track, that means I was born in 1970.
It also means I’ve spent the last few years growing more conscious of my age and the ages of the important people around me, particularly the ones who are significantly older. Strange how we grow more aware of our mortality in middle age.
To go along with that, there’s the idea with deep roots in my head that I need to make the rest of my time in the universe as productive and meaningful as I can. In the neighbourhood of my 50th birthday last year, I significantly overestimated how productive I’d be on the writing side of things. That was partly intentional to give me some loft goals to shoot for, but only partly. Mostly, it was because I didn’t have a clear idea of how much time I’d actually devote to academics once I got back into full time school.
“Common wisdom” is that a university course is worth about 10 hours per week during the term in order to perform adequately. If I’d held myself to that, a full course load makes for a fifty-hour academic week. Since I’d long gotten used to putting in more hours than that merely to bring home a paycheck, I didn’t think much of that level of time commitment.
But I didn’t reckon with the fact that I’ve developed a significant work ethic over time and that “perform adequately” isn’t what I’m looking for. That ten hours per week per course would keep all of my marks above the thresholds necessary to hit the academic marks for Teacher’s College. But just hitting the thresholds isn’t what I’m after. If I’m doing this, I’m going after it as hard as I can. While I want the true university experience (modified by COVID, of course), the academics are the key thing. So that ten hours per course per week was twelve or thirteen. Plus commuting.
And this coming term, I’m taking six courses. But I’m also not commuting. Classes have been shifted to online-only until after Reading Week, though I don’t think anyone is really holding their breath that we’ll go back to in-person this year. With the variants, the overall public health situation is actually worse than it was last year, because even though Omicron has a milder health impact for vaccinated folks, it spreads so much easier.
That was what pushed me over the edge into adding the sixth course, actually. I’d been debating it anyway but getting back the 8-10 hours of driving per week in theory leaves me the same amount of time I’d been spending on academics. If we do go back to live classes after reading week, well, I guess the second half of the term will be a bit stressful.
On the writing side of things, where I was originally going with this post, I’ve taken what I actually accomplished in 2020 and grossed up the raw word count by 20% before working backwards from there. I have some thoughts on keeping myself moving while not giving ground on academics, but still need to flesh them out just a little and will share them on January 1st.
Note that there will be no New Year’s type posts this year. I’m not making any resolutions, not that I usually do, and the majority of my mental efforts will be focused on academics and getting where I want to be for the remainder of my professional life. There are some other things I hope to make progress on this year, but they’re mostly longer-term goals that I just want to show some improvement on or advancement towards. Maybe more on that later.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be well, everyone.by