The semester has ground to a halt. I cannot believe how fast it has gone. At the same time, as I put my mind back to the beginning of this semester, it feels like it was an age away. So much has happened in this semester! I really wish the mind were sharper so it could hold on to all those memories, carefully. Part of the reason I maintain this little journal here is that at least, I can read my own archives (seriously, do you guys do that? Or am I the only idiot who does that?) and figure out some of it. I know, I know, that many times there are entire paragraphs in my posts that make no sense. And always, the title of my post has no particular relevance to the material inside it. But it fits in my head, most of the time, and therefore I soldier on, typing words fast as the brain can come up with them...
I taught an elective course this semester. I swore to myself that I would stick to my guns and do 'stuff' with the course. I usually have this crazy enthusiasm for my students and the class material, and even chalk and dusters, at the beginning of a semester. Half-way through, I lose it - feel deflated. Each semester, each class, the experience is slightly different, but also slightly the same. It starts with a week or so when I am busy with other obligations. A paper to submit, conference to attend, something at home, whatever. There is always something going on in the student's schedule at this exact time. A couple of 'loose' classes - unstructured - and I have lost them. Of course many a time, despite my continued involvement and tightening, I lose them. Its a look in the eye. A glaze, if you will. I get thoroughly pained when the glaze shows up. I can virtually feel myself slurring and also responding with my own glazed eye, when that happens. The mid-distance stares, the lack of coherent eye contact, it all goes downhill from there.
Of course I blame them. How can it be my fault? I mean, come on. I am all that and a bag of chips, aren't I? Well, I cannot seriously convince myself of this so I try to square my shoulders and kick it up a notch. If I am not super busy otherwise, I can get it all back under control, at times. At other times, it doesn't work, and then you have to just let the semester finish and bury the experience in the six-foot-deep hole of bad semesters past, and move on.
After a long time, this time, I managed to hold on till the end. I felt sprightly as I walked into class. There were a couple of days - I was sick one day, I had a crazy set of things going on early November, lot of shit did hit the fan at various points or time - but it was fine, manageable. We had a session at the end of the semester for some evaluation, and I was super surprised at how well that went. As was I at the exam performance (I had only 1 exam this whole course, which was probably a great idea, all things considered). I even managed to update the course blogpage the day before the final - I usually have lost enthu completely by that time, as have the kids, and the 'final summary' that I plod on and do for the sake of completeness, is a bunch of squiggles on the blackboard that I draw up based on notes I put together in the absolute late minute possible.
Maybe I revel in a situation where I am over-extended. When several funding proposals remains on my desk for minor edits, emails marked unread accumulate in my inbox, races have to be organised at the peak of Chennai monsoons, visits to hometown have to be managed in the middle of the semester, somehow, training for the races have to go on unabated, the monster has a billion things that I have to help her keep track of, vegetables have to be bought every other day, floor tiles for the new house have to be looked at innumerable times, oh forget it, the list is too long.
It was all fun while it lasted. As always, I have emerged just happy to have survived everything. I look forward to a few weeks of catching up on all those untouched proposals and reviews and stuff, and then the New Year! This 2012, I have resolved to make resolutions. So, watch out for that!