It’s safe to say that the semester is here. If my profs and my classmates aren’t lying to me (a thing I would never suspect them of), we’ve gone past the 1/3 mark and are rapidly approaching the halfway point. While this can be a cause for celebration, something along the lines of “yay! still alive! crushing this writing and school thing!” what it also means is that the semester has reached the point in which everything is happening all at once.
Let me give you a rundown of my life this week:
Monday Morning: Doing research for faculty members, Tony Trigilio and David Trinidad. Monday Afternoon: History of the Essay headed up by Jenny Boully. Monday evening: Prepping for teaching Tuesday morning, doing Victorian illustrated poetry homework that I failed to do over the weekend. Tuesday morning: Teach a 9am and somehow try to have some energy so my students aren’t totally bored and can (fingers crossed) learn something useful! (the secret is coffee. I know. Shocking!)
This week I’m teaching Flannery O’Connor’s, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and I’m so excited to see their reactions! After class, office hours. (which usually means a nap on the couch in the 624 grad lounge.) After office hours, Victorian Illustrated Poetry with Ken Daly. Tuesday evening: Going to an off campus reading to see my dear friends and cohort members Dirk Marple and Mica Woods give a stellar reading. (I can see into the future. I know these things.) Tuesday night: get ready for Thesis Prep on Wednesday. Wednesday is a bit of a luxury because I don’t have class until 6:30 p.m. I use the time to do more research for faculty. I catch up for class, read a little bit, sneak in writing all the poetry I can. And then I head into class with Tony, where I get to silently freak out about how talented my cohort is and how bomb their theses are going to be. After class, I prep for teaching in the morning. Thursday: another 9am teaching. We’ll be learning about the key concept, “Field”, and no, we won’t be taking a field trip to my hometown… After class, more office hours, hopefully a nap and then home! I’ve made it through my school week! For the rest of Thursday, I like to pretend that I’ll get right to work on the next week’s homework and planning, but usually what it amounts to is some quality time with a beer and my PS4. I live a wild, wild life. On Friday and Saturday, I work a job off campus hostessing at Osteria Langhe in Logan Square. I talk to people that aren’t poets, people who find it funny that there exists emails with the greeting “Dear Professor Kanter,” and have more faith in my poetry than I do, especially given that they’ve never read a word.
Now Sundays are where the real magic is at. Sundays are my day off. What do I do with them, you might ask? Well, dear reader, I’ll tell you. It’s a big secret so you’ll have to really lean in so word doesn’t get out. You ready?
My whole schedule can often feel a little intense. I juggle what amounts to four jobs and a full nine credit hours. You might be wondering, “social life, Bethany, where’s that?” I promise it exists. It’s in the in between. It’s in the conversations with people between class. It’s in the “that was a long class, let’s go get a beer”. Yesterday morning, it was storming and I was sitting on a friend’s couch, drinking coffee, grading papers, and petting his cats whenever they thought I was paying too much attention to the papers. It was deliciously Fall, and I was perfectly content.
And here’s the other part: every single class that I have is immensely invigorating. Is it hard to find time for things that aren’t school? Absolutely. But it’s so rare that I feel like I need something else. I get enough sleep, I have time and money to eat. And 7 days of the week I am immersed in a poetic experience. And it’s hard for me to burn out on that.