Saturday, April 9, 2011

Are you getting exhausted as an ASP'er?

This point in the semester is always difficult for me as an ASP'er. 

I have so many student appointments that my calendar looks like a major airport with circling planes waiting to land.  Not only do my regulars come in, but now is also the time for triage appointments.  It is when I do crash consultations in the hallways, at the coffee pot, and in the parking lot.  I regularly expand my slots by coming in early, eating lunch at my desk between appointments, and staying late. 

Group workshops are still on the schedule.  Hmmm, those handouts for next week need to be revised. 

There are three application and interview processes that I am involved with in some way for student positions for ASP.  It is great working with students who want to be Tutors, TAs, or Dean's Community Teaching Fellows - but the paperwork end is a drag.

Several major project deadlines are on the horizon.  It seems that after 5 p.m. and on weekends are the most ideal times for those to get done.  Ahhh, more administrative support would help - is anyone out there listening?

Of course, there is committee work.  It is crunch time for those duties as every committee tries to wind down for the academic year. 

And, I am teaching EU law: juggling student presentation appointments with finishing Power Points, writing my exam, grading assignments, and planning review sessions.  I really enjoy my seminar students, but often shake my head at the extra hours needed in my day.

It is the time of the semester when I have so many coughing, sneezing, flu-carrying students sitting in my office that I inevitably fall deathly ill at least once.  Ah, that puts me behind on an already crammed schedule!

There, I have that off my chest (literally and figuratively).  So, I manage this time of the semester by doing what I tell students to do:

  • Use windfall time during the day when a student shows up late for an appointment or the appointment ends earlier than I expected.
  • Match small tasks to small time slots.  Even 5 or 10 minutes can be useful for an e-mail or phone call or administrative task.
  • Evaluate five or six times a day what my priorities are and how to re-organize my time.
  • Work on major projects in small increments to get forward progress.
  • Let no one task consume my entire day so that I do not get hopelessly behind on all other tasks.
  • Negotiate deadlines to remain as realistic as possible in what can get done when.
  • Cut out the non-essentials: what is mere frills, what provides little payback, what can wait until the summer.

To all of you getting tired at this point of the semester, I understand your plight.  May your time and stress managment skills conquer!  (Amy Jarmon)  

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