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Planning A Semester With Disruptions

Planning a semester with disruptions

Fall 2022 will be a different semester for me.

In one way, it will be more like the before times for me – as I will resume conference travel. I have three trips on the horizon for Fall 2022: one trip for a PhD defense, one trip for a conference, and one trip for a keynote lecture. I’m hoping convert that planned trip (nothing is booked yet) for the conference to virtual attendance instead.

I will also be teaching a 48-hour graduate course on Concrete Bridges. Not only will I need to set aside sufficient time to prepare for this class, teach, and address the emails of students about the course, I will also be working 6 days a week. As our MEng program is for professionals, we teach at night and during the weekend. I’ll be teaching on Saturday mornings (which has my preference over evenings, because of childcare issues and safety).

By all means, the time that I will have available for writing in Fall 2022 and for my research will be reduced. After more than two years with limited travel, it feels strange to adjust my time to the disruptions that come from a higher teaching load and more traveling. In fact, the last time I had a lot of trips was during Fall 2016. It’s been a while. I’m going to need to find my sealegs back.

I’m planning for this semester with disruptions by doing the following:

  • Make recovery lectures for when I am away from campus a priority and schedule these at the beginning of the semester (i.e., before students start to have other things on their calendars).
  • Reduce my service commitments. This may be a lofty goal for me, but I’ll be trying to put a few things on the backburner.
  • Clearly communicate with my graduate students about my upcoming absences, and plan with them so that we can still meet the deadlines of our research reports.
  • Sleep the time that I need to sleep. I’m always the first one to cut back on sleep when life gets busy, but I’ve learned that I need 8h45 of sleep per night (add in the time that I’m awake during the night, and I need to be in bed for about 9h30 per night). Especially after travel, I need to allow myself time to sleep and get over the jetlag.

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