I've been AWOL from my blog and the blogosphere for several reasons--the primary one being how exhausting I find this semester's teaching schedule, which in no way accommodates the actual rhythms of my actual body.
What is this terrible, terrible schedule? Approximately 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., two days a week.
I know: you're crying me a river. But the past few weeks have also featured lots of morning meetings and job-candidate visits, which have meant that I'm getting up before 8 a.m. for multiple days in a row. Even without those meetings, it's never a great schedule: getting up early every morning sucks, but what sucks even more is whipsawing between getting up at 7.30 and getting up at 10; in the latter case my body never adjusts and I go to bed at 2 every night.
So okay: I'm a night owl, and have been more or less my entire life. But I wonder whether such tendencies don't get stronger to the degree that we let them get stronger. When I worked an office job, I got up at 7 or 8 every day except on the weekends, and though it wasn't my preference, I functioned just fine; even now, on those rare occasions when I'm up early on a day when I'm at home, I can get very good work done in the a.m. But I don't prefer to; I prefer to start working around 3 p.m., break for dinner, and keep working until midnight.
What academia allows me to do--at least as a childless woman who lives alone--is to indulge my circadian preferences, and I imagine that indulging them only makes them feel more stronger and more necessary.
Sometimes I wonder about the other ways academia has changed my habits in ways that amount to a change in personality. I'm convinced, for example, that it's made me more absent-minded: at some point in my second or third year of grad school, I was sitting on my bed, reading, when I became aware of a hissing noise getting louder and louder. I looked in alarm at my radiator: could that be it? That wasn't its normal sound! Then I lept up and went into the bathroom to see if something was wrong with the pipes--but it didn't seem to be coming from there, either. Finally I went into the kitchen, where I discovered that, right! I'd set the teakettle on the burner some 10 minutes earlier. . . and had promptly forgotten about it.
I'd also submit that academia has made me more casual about time. Those who knew me in college will remember that I was obsessively punctual and a fanatic for deadlines. At some point in grad school, though, I got frustrated with the fact that meetings never began on time and no one ever showed up as promised--and, perhaps more relevantly, I learned that my professors preferred a good paper that was two weeks overdue than a timely but uninspired one. These days I still start and end my classes exactly on time--but I make departmental meetings with only a minute or two to spare and I consider most deadlines not as the date by which I should actually have something done, but the time beyond which I should feel progressively more guilty for not having it done.
But hey: that's me. What has academia done to the rest of y'all?