I was going to post this when I got the text message, but I was Overwhelmed.
(To be honest, I’m still Overwhelmed but it’s break time. Those are necessary.)
My “day” job (freelance, which means it’s a day and night and when’s-that-deadline? job) is copy editing and proofreading. This fall, I started as an adjunct professor teaching developmental writing (grammar and basic essay writing skills to college students who aren’t quite ready for Comp I). I was hired right before classes started, plus I had a copy editing job on my plate that had come in late and had a rush deadline, resulting in very little time to prepare. Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe how I felt the first weeks. There was a lot of material to cover, a syllabus that didn’t always explain everything, and two classes of 24 students each who expected me to know what the heck I was doing.
Here’s what got me from overwhelmed to excited:
1. Loud music in the car on the way to class, and I’m talking the loudest, pump-it-up, sing-along music you can find (my choices: Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” most of the Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1, and very cornball songs from the 80s that I love because teen years). Extra points if the music is cheesy and fun, because feeling slightly ridiculous is just the first step toward laughing at oneself, which is very, very necessary to go through the overwhelmed times.
2. My students. Student apathy is real (dear lord I had no idea how real) but it’s not a blanket epidemic, and in both classes I have plenty of students who want to connect, to learn, to write, and to get the most out of their college experience. I’m excited with them and for them, and that means I have to bring my A-game (in terms of energy and preparation) to the table, because when they respond and learn, that turns overwhelmed into excited, too.
3. Planning, scheduling, and not being afraid to say no. I need to know what’s coming and plan for it, because planning soothes my inner anxiety demon. I need to say no so I can keep the schedule manageable. And I don’t procrastinate because then the panic I feel at procrastinating just feeds my sense of being overwhelmed. Making lists, though, and having boxes to tick off: that excites me. I’m weird.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, breaktime’s over and I need to pound through a couple of chapters of proofreading…