Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coming, Ever So Slowly, to a Close

It's been a while since I posted last, and there's a lot that's happened.

Let me start out by saying, I hate this time of the year. I love going home, and I love that I am going to be done soon with the first semester of my PhD. However, this is the worst time of the year for me emotionally, and the past week has been awful.

I'm no Scrooge, but I don't like Christmas. It arrives in October, I'm sick of it by November, it reminds me of my father's death, and I find that I become more and more bitter about how selfish and materialistic people are. It all comes to a head on Dec. 25th, and no one seems to recall why we even have this holiday in the first place. Here's a hint: the reason isn't to give snotty entitled brats (young and old alike!) gifts that they don't appreciate. Christmas is very much like Valentine's day, and I find it absurd that people need an official reason to be nice to each other. You can do that any old time of the year, and it would probably be a more sincere gesture.

I'm going to make an effort to get my mood in a better place before I go home. I'm just happy to be going home. That's all I really care about this year: seeing people.

The whole death thing reared it's ugly head again last week. I was shocked and saddened to find out that the father of my friend / lab mate / cohort member passed away suddenly last week. The whole thing sent me into an emotional trip down memory lane complete with sadness and guilt that plagues me during this time of the year. And what's worse is I want desperately to do something to help her, but I can't. Not yet anyway. She isn't coming back until the spring.

In other news...

Mom is in the hospital, again. She ate nuts, so now she's undergoing treatment and procedures for ileitus. She's been in there for several days now. I feel awful. I wish I could be there. Although, she doesn't like company when she isn't feeling well, and this is the worst bout yet. She'd just send me home. We've been talking on the phone pretty regularly, though. At least there is that. I hope that she'll lay off the nuts and take it easy for the rest of the year. This is a bad time for both of us, and I wish I was going home sooner.

All this hospital time is taking away from the time she planned on spending with me before Christmas. We were going to see the King Tut exhibit. It's going back to Egypt for the foreseeable future. Maybe she and I could go during a weekend, instead of during a week day like we originally planned. Hopefully she'll be getting released from the hospital soon. I just hate being so far away and having her be there. It makes me nervous. She's in no mortal danger, but I can't help it. We'll just have to make up for it during the evenings and weekends I'm home.

In other, other news...

My teaching duties are coming to a close, thank God. I spent the weekend trying to grade papers that didn't live up to my expectations. I finally concluded that I would grade them tough, and then the lab coordinator and I would figure out a curve. It is VERY difficult for me to ease off on my standards for grading and still grade consistently, so this was the best way to go.

I made a student cry. I hate this.

Monday was the final exam. I was very pleased with it. It took me an entire afternoon to craft, and I think it was a challenging but fair test. It was mostly multiple choice, and I have the talent of being able to write multiple choice tests that are actually difficult. Most students think that they will be a breeze: not mine. I got what looks like a pretty good distribution of grades. Not too many A's, not too many F's. The average is a tad lower than I would like, but I'm trying to get these students to work at the university level. They fought me on that all semester; I don't hand hold. It's mind boggling that some people expect to do almost no work but get a good grade. That's not how I operate.

The beauty of designing a good exam is that it is a cinch to grade. I think in all it took less than 3 hours to grade all three sections and get everything into my spreadsheet. Matt helped, too, which was awesome. I'm hopefully meeting with the lab coordinator tomorrow to discuss appropriate adjustments to the overall grades or for specific assignments. Tomorrow is also my last class of the semester. After that, I have a take home final that is due on Tuesday and I'm proctoring a test on Friday. In my down time I'm going to: register my car dammit!, get the oil changed in my car, and do the little bit of shopping and errands I have in preparation for the break.

And a whole lot of nothing. Much needed nothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment