I have been feeling a little blue. It was such a hard semester that I couldn't quite shift into productive summertime mode when it was over. I wasn't doing anything fun or restorative, just listlessly clicking about the internet while thinking of all the things I ought to be doing instead. That's a question I've been thinking about since Easter: what kinds of things are truly fun and restorative for me, and why can't I build them into my life more consistently?
Last weekend I did something that was immensely fun and restorative: I met up with some old friends and a new friend at St. Felix's Friary in Indiana. If you're in the Midwest looking for a retreat site, I recommend it highly. On Sunday morning we sat on the doorstep where Venerable Solanus Casey used to pray for people in need, and we prayed for each other. And there in the breezy sunshine I felt completely filled up and at peace. It was great.
I have been trying to hold onto that peace this week. On Wednesday I went to the office and read my spring semester evals. My undergrads, about whom I felt guilty all semester because I was so focused on my grad students, gave me good evals with reasonable suggestions. But OH, the grad evals. OH OH OH, you guys, they just reeked of nasty gossipy conversations in the grad lounge: they were oozing with howlingly unjust group-think. A couple of little providential moments there that I want to remember: I wrapped up a meeting with a colleague, saying that I was going to read my evals, and she shared with me that this group had savaged her at the end of the fall semester. It seemed so preposterous that they would say the things she was reporting they had said -- and it took away some of the sting when I discovered that they had said the same things about me. Coincidentally, I ran into my chair right as I was walking into the office, and when I mentioned that I was reading the evals she laid a hand on my shoulder. "The grad evals are going to be hard to read," she said. I talked to her about it afterward, and she's not worried. She was hugely reassuring, actually. This class always gets evaluated harshly, apparently, because there's a mismatch between the students' expectations and the requirements of the curriculum.
I still woke up at 2 the next morning and spent an hour writhing at some of the malicious comments. I feel a bit like a student coming in at the end of the semester and saying, "But I worked SO HARD and I SHOULD get an A!" But honestly, if my evals had reflected the effort I put into that course they would have been, like, levitating within the file cabinet.
So. I keep trying to shake that off, and I keep trying to shake off my triathlon anxiety, and I keep hoping that my swimmer's ear will resolve, and overall I'm feeling a little glum. But it's probably a good time for me to post some summer plans (I might finish David Copperfield tomorrow, and if not I'll finish it Monday -- my trip to St. Felix's got me off track and I've been distracted with L.M. Montgomery's Emily books), and it's definitely time for me to hop off the internet for the night. See you soon.