No, I don’t know if he’ll be in.

I am but a lowly non-tenure track instructor, and so I do not have the privilege of having my own office. I have moved up in the world though- instead of sharing an office with seven other graduate students, I share an office with one other non-tenure track instructor. And I am rather fortunate in that the instructor with whom I share this office prefers to work from home and is rarely in the office, so about 90% of the time I have an office to myself.

The running joke though is that even though I am in this office about six days a week, close to eight hours a day at least five of those days, I do not hold the power. When I moved into this office my male friends told me that I needed to urinate on everything to establish my dominance. I think they were only half kidding.

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A sense of dread

I have sent in over 50 applications for this job market cycle. I still have at least 20 more to go. But with every day that passes, there’s a little voice in the back of my head that grows a little louder.

There are no jobs. You won’t be getting any calls this year.

I was lucky last year, in that I got calls (even if they didn’t turn into offers). And maybe it’s an act of self-preservation that I keep telling myself there will be no calls this year. But I feel it, deep in my gut. Last year I was hopeful. I was anxious, but my whole life was ahead of me. This year I feel defeated and I don’t want to be reduced to begging.

The anxiety is making it impossible for me to get my day-to-day work done. Regardless of whether I get calls or not, I have two classes to teach twice a week. But I can’t sit still long enough, can’t focus long enough, to pull together slides or create an in-class assignment. So I have to stuff the anxiety deep down and keep going, though the quality of my work is in steady decline.

A watched pot never boils. And I suppose a watched phone never rings.

Post-dissertation stress disorder

When is the last time I blogged? I don’t know, a few weeks ago at least. And I could come up with excuses for why it hasn’t happen…

I have been really busy!

Turns out this teaching two classes a semester thing is hard. Continuing to adapt to teaching two classes a semester, rather than one.

And applying for jobs sucks. I’ll be working on one application and by the time I hit “submit” ¬†ads for three more jobs popped up (I know, this is furthest from a problem when you’re on the academic job market – I should be thankful there are any jobs! And I am, but going through each school’s application system takes more time than you’d think.)

I have an R&R and my co-authors want to get it turned around quickly. I’m essentially in charge of beefing up our theory section, so I’ve been diving back into the literature.

And the list goes on…

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Conference flashbacks

I’ve given a fair number of conference presentations during my time in graduate school. I have mixed feelings about conferences – if it’s a good location and your friends are going, why not go on a department-funded mini-vacation? – but the attendance at panels is often lacking (probably because everyone treats it as a department-funded mini-vacation) and therefore, the feedback can be pretty bad, or nonexistent. I hate networking at conferences, because I hate talking to people, but my advisors think it’s a good idea for me to be introducing myself to strangers. So, I go. Sometimes it’s pretty okay.

I’m pretty good at presenting. I may not be a people person, but I don’t have much anxiety when it comes to presenting in front of an audience. I know what I’m talking about, and I can talk about it with confidence. They (most likely) won’t know if you’re lying.

But I had a horrible experience at a small conference in May 2016, and it haunts me to this day. And by haunts, I mean, whenever I’m scrolling through Twitter and come across the people who tore my paper to shreds, I want to give up on academia, because I’m clearly not good enough. Continue reading

How do you teach a neo-Nazi?

Circulating around my corner of academic Twitter yesterday was a Southern Poverty Law Center guide for students on how to deal with the alt-right. It’s well done (shout out to SPLC – they are awesome and if they are hiring I’d drop everything to work for them!) and I’m glad it’s out there. But as someone who will be teaching full-time for the first time this fall, questions I never thought I would have to answer has been spinning around in my head for the past couple days:

What do you do with alt-right students in your classroom? How do you teach a neo-Nazi?

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On Saturday, while I was busy collecting my diploma, shit was going down in Charlottesville. When I met up with my partner after the ceremony, he asked me if I had seen any of the news alerts. Umm… no. I was graduating. Also, my phone died.

He told me someone had died.


I watched CNN that morning and they were talking about what might happen, but someone dying never crossed my mind. I guess violence never really crossed my mind. I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t expect violence because it was white people marching. I think violence around protest and I think of violence against black and brown bodies.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I really started to process what had happened. And while my thoughts on what happened are, I’m sure, not unique, I need to write them out.

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