This semester, which began in late August, I taught five college courses — one at Central Connecticut State University, and four as a full-time faculty member at University of New Haven. I counted up once, and that meant that — unless there was a rare holiday — I stepped into a class prepared to lecture, cajole, and learn eight times a week. Multiply that by 15 or so weeks, and you get 120.
One hundred and twenty times I showed up dressed like a professional. Some classes were better than others (I haven’t gotten back my teacher evaluations yet, but I assume my students would say the same). Some I left giving myself a mental high five, and some I left to go to my office and put my head on my desk.
Add to that 20 or so columns I wrote for C-HIT and the Hartford Courant, and five magazine pieces I wrote for WNPR, with occasional on-air appearances. I helped plan a big event on Thursday night at CCSU, and add to that a few speeches and panels and moderating of panels, though I started saying no to that kind of thing pretty early on. I’d say add to that the research I’ve done on my book on Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood, but let’s be honest: I’ve done very little research, and have reserved the next few weeks and months to make up for that.
I’m putting it all down here to show you how ridiculous I’ve been about managing my time. In fact, I haven’t managed my time. I’ve played Whac-a-Mole with my days, lost my voice twice, and gone on 4-5 hours of sleep (as I did last night when I woke up at 2 a.m. and turned on “That Touch of Mink” for no good reason) for two and three days at a time. Since the semester started, I’ve visited the gym 10 times (I meant to go more), sucked down an average of 1 can of soda a day, and picked fights I had no business picking more times than I can count (sorry, Frank).
But I’m done. Last night, I taught my last class at CCSU. Earlier that day, I taught my last one at UNH. I have written my finals, and now we start the slow slide down the glitter pole to Christmas.
I’m done. I did it. I’m not sure what it was I did, but I did it. Next semester I’ll be minus one class (my two-year appointment at CCSU ends this month, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity). I will take deep breaths. I will get enough sleep. I’ll cut back on the soda.
And thank you for your patience through all of this.