I received my diploma in the mail yesterday and this has prompted me to clear my throat, in a manner of speaking. Since November 2013, when I began my descent into the valley that would become my masters applied project and final semester of graduate school, my outward interactions and consumption of social media dropped to a faint heartbeat; then even that went out as I began two final courses over the summer to finish graduate school and complete my credential to teach at the local community college. All my attention narrowed to one, single activity: final project and graduation. My personal and professional obligations were as automated and on-hold as I could manage.
When the day came to defend my project and apply for graduation, my wife naturally wanted to affirm the great effort I’d made during the previous four years. She encouraged me to celebrate, host a party, to do something…anything. Instead, I placed a bookmark there. I felt, to celebrate this, would then prompt the “what’s next” activities and I wasn’t ready for that. After a month of simply resting in my own down time, vacationing with my children and my wife, working on long-delayed home projects, taking physical therapy to undo the effects of 15-hour days at the computer, and getting myself physically back into the gym and in better health, I could see I was a not a little burned out. In the last 1-2 months, it has been difficult to rally, return to the listservs, the journal articles, the course design and planning, the social media — in fact, hard to bring myself to sit down at the computer at all — and the other activities associated with transitioning into teaching, which is my answer to “what’s next.”
It is the week of Labor Day and the diploma has arrived. It’s as good a time as any to reboot that work that resides in the overlap of my professional work, my personal life, and my academic aspirations, yet doesn’t truly have a place of its own. I’m not so clear in my next steps that I am going to initiate a new blog for this and future posts, although my applied project did entail setting up a resource blog. I believe the space I’ve got here will be fine for now, as I reconcile my new work activities and the areas on which I am to focus. So, I’ll tweak the scope of this blog yet again and it will be a venue for my considered opinions and reflection on higher education as I conduct my work within it; as well as more personal-professional inquiries as I inhabit my sliver of the internet and the account I make of it; in addition to hosting new and continuing pet projects.