Friday, October 13, 2006

Things to Be Thankful For

Yesterday was the deadline to submit a request to the administration for my sad little Academic Unit. Despite the sadness and little-tude of said ACUN, I still had to complete the entire process, which involves locating, requesting, and interpreting a number of data sets that reside in various offices all over campus. My first reaction to all of this was one of bewilderment: people in my field don't even use the words "data set," let alone do anything with them. My next thought was: "why don't they ever teach us how to do this stuff? Where's the grad school class called GRA 579: Academic Admin Writing?" Oh right, I know, they don't offer this because if you ever thought you have to do use those skills, you'd drop out of your program and take up residency on a goat farm in New Mexico.

Despite my oscillation between disbelief, outrage and self-pity, I did in fact manage to turn this damn thing in. This was, of course, necessitated by two factors: 1) it was due, and 2) I had to finish it so that I could spend the day working on writing up my participation in a school-sponsored pilot project. And we wonder why I'm not pumping out the scholarly work?

But, as the title promised, there are two things for which I must be thankful. Three hours before the first document was due, I still hadn't located a key data set that I needed. I came back from a meeting, prepared to grovel to the appropriate office for it, and low and behold, it was in my email, courtesy of the dean. AND, as far as I can tell, it actually supported the argument I had been making.

The second thing? I tore my office apart last night looking for my notes on the pilot project, and couldn't find it. I came home determined to look through a stack of files located here--an exercise in despair, as I was sure the notes were gone into the black hole of disorganization. Lo and behold--on the top of my file stack--the notes! The notes!

So, thank you, universe, for providing the information I need to complete projects I care very little about. Now if you'd only provide me with an exit strategy from these projects altogether, I'd be ever-so grateful!

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