Once, while talking to a colleague I worked with in the residential system at Penn, I lamented how busy I was as a graduate student, between teaching, my administrative responsibilities, and writing my dissertation. He scoffed at me. He thought he was busy as a graduate student, he said, but it wasn’t until he became a junior faculty that he really began to understand what busy is.
I’m beginning to understand where he was coming from. As of August 15th, I have exited the land of graduate students and entered that of the doctored. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been as a full-time faculty anywhere, though this is unsurprising as I withheld from the job market last year to give myself an additional year in Austin before moving on, if that needed to be the case. But within a week of graduating, I found myself employed with not one, but two, new jobs–coordinating the Online Writing Lab at St. Edwards University and serving as adjunct religion faculty at Austin Community College. I’m also still working for a private firm that contracts out online tutoring services to a number of educational institutions around the world.
More then anything else, this means that I am busy. I am busy in a highly scheduled way, and I begin to understand the lament of people in the profession that they don’t have time for their research. I was certainly ready for a break by the time I turned in my dissertation, but I’m already beginning to miss the writing. What little bits of time I have right now are dedicated to family, work in my own religious community, and job applications. The latter should level off by November, and I am looking forward to that time to take a break and to get some work done.
I am also, though, very happy to be teaching religious studies again. My experience teaching writing was certainly lovely, and I hope I have opportunities to teach writing courses in the future, but it is a different experience of teaching when you are really helping students understand religious worlds. I feel more rusty then I expected, especially since I have been teaching writing classes focused on religious studies over the last few years, but that may be more my own perfectionist neurosis with my teaching then reality. I keep checking in with my students who come to office hours, and they report that they like the class. I am glad to see that a lot of the collaborative techniques I developed for teaching writing classes are translating well into an introductory comparative religions classroom. I think I particularly have my colleague to thank, who included the