52 Weeks of Writing: Week 23—Marking zombie edition

52 Weeks of Writing: Week 23—Marking zombie edition
Photo by Josh Withers / Unsplash

Wow, what a week. I'm writing this a day late again because I had to recover from autistic burnout yesterday. I'll explain in the accomplishment section, but we're in the last days of marking season and I needed to get all my papers done for Friday. Well, all my papers done for one of the two faculties I'm marking for.

That's probably a very confusing sentence but I'm tired, so it'll have to do.

1. What was my biggest accomplishment over the past week?

Three big things for this week.

1. A whole ton of marking. I know, it's really boring, but these are the realities of academic life. I mixed it up with some editing but working late into the evening meant I had no energy left for anything else.

2. I ordered my robes! There was a drama around this. For some reason, the fancy place where we rent our robes didn't have the right degree qualification for me. I tried to get this resolved via email but no response came through. I had to PHONE THEM. I hate phoning. It's horrible. I get confused and fumble my words and I can't see the person so I can't pick up visual clues. But I did it. I ordered my robes!

3. I started a series I've been working on for a while about materiality in various books, films, and other things I especially like. The accomplishment was that I published the first one. For ages, I've put this off, telling myself it has to be perfect. It has to be The Most Academic Thing Ever. But actually, since I want to write this more for people who generally have an interest, my tone can be more relaxed. So I did it. I hit publish.

2. What lessons did I learn from things that didn’t go quite right?

I did not get a job I applied for. I do have money coming in, but not much once teaching evaporates for the summer. My lesson was that I really shouldn't apply for things like that while also marking ten plus essays a day. I couldn't give it the focus it required. I'm also coming to terms with not getting something I thought I was a good fit for. I have other options, but sometimes, it's just rough getting something like that.

3. What (quotes, affirmations, etc.) kept me inspired this week?

You know what kept me going this week? PhD robes. I'm not going to lie here, I'm not going to hold back. I could write a whole post about the materiality of academic clothing, couldn't I? I never went to the graduation for my first PhD. These kinds of rituals are important. The feeling of getting that sorted and knowing I get to wear the special robes was a big deal.

4. Did I complete any projects or tasks this week?

I completed exam scripts for one of the two faculties. I have ten papers from the other one, but the bigger of the two assignments is now done.

5. Any pending tasks?

Another job application. Also, I'm supposed to be doing this creative writing course and I've had no time to work on it. I've had no time for Amnar. It's still sitting there, waiting for me to have the emotional energy and strength to work on it.

6. Did I stick to my plan and stay focused?

Yeah, I did it this week. I didn't expect myself to do anything other than marking, and that worked. I lowered my expectations a whole lot.

7. What kind of progress did I make on my big monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals?

Right now, I'm in the setting-up process still. I'd very much like to make a book out of this PhD, but I need to speak to people about that. Once I have the marking out of the way.

I didn't get any work on Amnar done. No, wait, I did. I literally corrected a sentence or two. Then I realised I wasn't sure what to do next. What I need to do, once all this marking is out of the way, is to sit down and work out what I'm going to do for the next year.

8. What is the #1 thing I need to accomplish next week?

More marking! I'm also working on the next post in the materiality of the Mandalorian series, which will be out on Tuesday. I'm doing some research this weekend on helmets and possibly masks.

9. What can I do right now to make next week less stressful?

Not working in the evenings would be helpful. I'm going to set aside time to be quiet and recover. I've also bought myself some little badges that tell people whether I'm able to talk to them or not. Telling people, including my partner, when I can't cope with speech processing, will hopefully make things less stressful.

10. What am I most grateful for about this past week?

My therapist. I have the most amazing therapist. It's a delight to talk to her every week. We have a session every Friday, which is exactly when I need to speak to somebody about how my week has gone.

Also, thank you to Jenny—I will email you back when the marking is done!—to my new subscribers, and to everyone who's been talking with me about Mandalorian culture this week.