Friday, January 23, 2009

Unhappy Post

I was going to keep this to myself, but maybe writing will help me feel better. I'm miserable; here's why:
  1. I'm lonely; I'm feeling isolated (not an adjective I use lightly). I have no friends on Long Island, and not many in the city, so my social life consists of seeing co-workers and classmates at school, and spending time with Chris when he's home, which is not much because his job is demanding as of late. 
  2. I'm fat. (Why mince words?) I think I may have an eating disorder, but I don't know. I actually would like to go to a treatment center, but I don't have any insurance to cover it, and can't pay for it otherwise; and of course I can't afford insurance, although I may have some help with that. What's I'd really like is to go away to a treatment center, but that's impractical, both financially and time-wise, at the moment.
  3. I could be substituting, except I can't afford the train tickets to get me to the schools in the city. Yes, I could ask Chris for money for train tickets but I have trouble consistently asking for help. I can't afford to pay my bills; I can't afford to feed myself.
  4. I don't actually want to be a substitute teacher; to be honest I'm not sure I want to teach high school or middle school but I feel I should try it for a year or two to make sure I don't hate before dismissing it as a career choice. I loved teaching Freshman Comp last semester; I liked that age, that caught-between-high-school-and-college mindset; I liked mentoring the students; I loved reading and responding to their papers and having class discussions that took off. But the younger students are a different kettle of fish, and whereas I find it easy to relate to college kids, I find it difficult to relate to younger students and develop assignments for them - in a way I don't for undergrads.
I write none of this to sound melodramatic or accusatory; I write these thoughts tonight because I am feeling overwhelmed and alone. I need money I don't have; I'm tired of asking for help so I can solve these problems that I feel I should be able to solve on my own, although the logical part of my mind tells me that I should ask for help if I need it. I don't know who to ask for help. I feel I need too much help with too much of my life. And I feel inundated with worry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Last Semester Begins

Today I'm hanging out for a few extra hours at ARC. We had a smallish inauguration party; we set up a small projector hooked up to the Internet to watch the proceedings , but there were so many people trying to watch streaming video (I suspect), that the video kept freezing, so we finally gave up and our little community traipsed on over to the on-campus Quiznos, which has six TVs set up, and watched Obama's swearing in and speech. Nikki and Seymour produced a cake, and I brought brownies and fruitcake, and we had ourselves a nifty little celebration. It was good to spend time with folks before we became scattered again; today is the first day of the semester so we all had business to attend to.

Today is the first day of my (hopefully) last semester at LIU. I've not been blogging during the past couple of weeks because I've been working on a draft of my thesis. I'm pleased that I wrote a complete, 50-page draft in under two weeks, and submitted it to the director of the Writing Program, whom I'd asked to be my primary reader. The thesis isn't a requirement - or it wasn't initially until I switched my concentration. (When I enrolled at LIU, I registered as an English major with a concentration of "the teaching of writing," which was changed over the summer to "writing and rhetoric." The new requirements entail a thesis, which was only an option for the former concentration. I changed officially changed my concentration, which means the thesis was no longer an option but a requirement.) In any case, I wrote the draft; it may be terrible, I don't know, but it's submitted, and I hope the revisions won't be so substantial that I can't graduate in May. My coursework will be done in May no matter what; the worst that will happen is that I need and take the extra time to revise my thesis until it meets the appropriate standards, and that's not really that upsetting at the moment. As the graduate advisor said, the worst that will happen is that I will still be permitted to "walk" in May, and the thesis will be wrapped up over the summer.

The class I was supposed to teach, another section of English 16, the same class I'd taught last semester, I am in fact not teaching again this semester. When asked when I was available, I provided a very limited schedule - essentially Monday and Wednesday evenings between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. There were a few sections that were being offered, which ran from 6:10 p.m. - 7:25 p.m., which would have been acceptable, but ultimately the section I was offered was cancelled due to low enrollment (the students who had enrolled my section were simply shuttled to the other section that was offered at the same time); and there was just not another section that could be offered me. I was not surprised: I wasn't willing to teach during the day because I wanted to keep my schedule free for subbing; I knew there were enrollment problems; long-time adjuncts were told that the same number of sections being offered - or they had sections that were also cancelled.

All is not lost, though; I was offered a teaching assistantship, which puts me back in the Writing Center for 5 hours a week. I still get tuition remission for my class, and I get a much reduced stipend (based on my being a part time student). LIU has paid for 9 of the 12 classes I've had to take for my degree because of teaching assistantships, research fellowships, and teaching fellowships, so I really can't complain about this last bit of bad news. I'm sad not to be teaching, but I had to prioritize, and it simply makes more sense for me to be subbing right now.