The school year usually starts with a flurry of activity and a burst of optimism. Then everybody gets in their groove and things chug along for a few weeks.
Now it’s mid-semester. Midterm exams are being given and graded. Faculty and students are beginning to feel the pressure of time — the semester is half over! A rising tide of anxiety pervades the campus.
Except, of course, for staffers like myself. I don’t teach. I work here year-round. So I don’t feel the seasonal time pressures the same way students and faculty do. But I work with faculty, so I’m aware of the general mood. And that mood right now is a sense of being swamped, of many tasks to be accomplished and a diminishing amount of time in which to accomplish them.
After midterms, there is a small release, and the mood eases up. Not too much, though. We gotta get things worked up to a fever pitch by the end of the semester. Even so, we’ll pace ourselves. We can’t have a complete nervous breakdown in December, because Christmas break is just too short to recover. After all, we have to do this whole thing over again next semester. The cycle will repeat itself, only the initial burst of optimism will be tempered by the memory of all the things that didn’t get done in the Fall. The midterm sensation of being swamped will be a little more pronounced. The ultimate nerve-frazzling freakout is reserved for the end of the Spring semester.