|Finally finished it!|
Ironically, the first thing I did in this endeavor was ignore my Doc Seminar prof's invitation to begin reading two weeks before the semester began. Granted, I strongly considered doing it. I ordered the first two books online, they came with plenty of time to spare, I cracked the bindings, and immediately felt my heart-rate begin to rise. In that moment, I decided I wasn't going to start another semester stressed out.
Of course, I owe part of that to now having a better idea what I want to study for my doctorate--using pop culture to teach English. Looking over the syllabi for my courses with this in mind has made them seem more manageable. And I've taken a number of small steps to feel more in control of the semester, from as basic as continuing Veronica's and my tradition of going to breakfast on the first day of school (which we skipped last semester) to as OCD as organizing my schoolbag with the "right" materials (as opposed to just throwing in whatever I could find while unpacking last fall).
To that end, I've also made the decision to be as "unplugged" from the internet as possible. Last semester I took my laptop everywhere, mostly because through it I could access anything and everything I might need for school-work. It ended up being more of a distraction than anything, though, and I probably spent 75% of my "free-time" on Facebook. So this semester I downgraded to a smaller (and without a computer, lighter) bag, which forces me to consider exactly what I'm going to work on while I'm away from my desk (which I also organized so that I can work on it). I even bought a planner for the first time in I don't know how many years so I don't have to get online to check my schedule. I also hope that continually filling my schedule will help me plan my time better.
Of course, as this post attests, I'm not even going to try to go cold turkey on social media (I've seen too many "I'm deleting/blocking my Facebook to focus!" to statuses to know how well that works). And while I still get up in the morning and drink my first cup of coffee in front of the computer, I'm enjoying the separation. As someone who doesn't understand the obsessive nature of being "connected" that smartphones have created, I'm a little shocked at how dependent I let myself get.
I've also resolved to take better care of myself this semester. That's not to say I let myself go last fall, but I definitely quit exercising as much as I was over the summer. I also got a cold sometime after Thanksgiving that didn't really go away until last week. To keep me accountable, my brother Gabe encouraged me to sign-up for a mud run with him in June, and we're planning on a zombie run for the fall (both of which I'm hoping will prepare us to tackle a portion of the Appalachian Trail in a year or so). The local Y's are also planning a lifeguard competition for the Spring (something I haven't done in almost 7 years), so there's that to train for too! I'm also trying to eat well, get enough rest, and I even got a flu shot this week for the first time since I was a teenager.
All this bodes well for a good semester/year. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. Usually, I make New School Year's resolutions in the Fall, but I kinda forgot to do that too. But if the key to making resolutions isn't to make sweeping changes (as Men's Health tell me) but adopt better practices, then I think I should have a great semester.
Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?