The Eternal Balancing Act

I cant stand whining

Tomorrow begins my third year as a doctoral student. I will be heading to campus tomorrow afternoon to sign my contract, stating that UNLV gets 20 hours a week of my time. Fortunately for me that means teaching a couple of classes, which is something I love to do. But it also means I’ll most likely spend more than 20 hours a week because I am excited about the topics and want to provide the best learning experience I can for my students.

During the summer I decided to take classes that will allow me to have two areas of emphases in Curriculum and Instruction; educational technology and science education. This was not a decision I made lightly as it means extending my graduation date, plus of course taking four more classes. But after having seen several tenure track postings in both areas I realize it will increase my chances of finding a position once I am ready to make my way in the world of academia. Besides, I am equally interested in both of those areas, so why not? So I will be taking three courses this semester rather than the two I’d planned on; goodbye comps for fall 2013, I’ll see you in the spring.

I am also involved with a couple of organizations and a committee that may prove a little time consuming. Once again though, they deal either with educational technology, science education, or hackerspaces so it will be time both enjoyed and well spent.

Ah, but there’s my health to consider as well, something that is not as fun, at least not to me. Not that I don’t like eating healthy food and hiking/golfing/bike riding and generally hanging out in the great outdoors. But I begin to resent the time it takes to prepare healthy meals and move my body. I’ve read the research concerning what happend when one sits on one’s bum for an extended period of time but I’ll bet those researchers never considered Csíkszentmihályi’s “flow”. After all, I am one of those oddities who actually enjoys writing! How can someone expect me to leave my keyboard when I am completely in thrall of finding that perfect phrasing? Or investigating wonderful new resources for my classes or considering new viewpoints with my students? Then there are all the wonderful collaborative Twitter chats; #edchat, #profchat, #ntchat, #edtechchat, etc. etc. etc. How does one gain the strength to leave one’s desk?

But I know in the long run good health will help me continue in all these endeavors. That becoming unhealthy and getting sick will take even more time away than exercising or cooking. And that, most importantly, I will have more energy and mental clarity. So I will use little reminders, timers, gadgets to remind me to move my body. And I will devote some time during the week to prepare meals that will allow my body and mind to function at their best.

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About Cynthia Clark

I hold a doctorate in curriculum & instruction, with an emphasis in educational technology and science education. I work for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as the Evaluation and Assessment Specialist for the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment. My current research interests include qualitative responses to course evaluations, both the development of open-ended items and their subsequent analysis.
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