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Summer Is Still Impossible

barclay_barrios
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Summer isn’t just impossible for our classes and the students in them; it’s impossible for me, too. Theoretically, this is my research time—theoretically.  As the WPA for my school, I check email daily to put out countless little fires.  As a human being, I mostly want to sleep.  I envy colleagues who manage to juggle it all somehow: research, teaching, trips off to Europe.  I just can’t seem to make it all happen. Being on a 9-month contract makes it all more impossible.  I cobble together money for rent by teaching part of the summer (losing a chunk of research time) and doing administrative work for part of the summer too (losing more research time). Granted, I’ve never been good with unstructured time.  Give me a routine and watch me hum but give me time and my bed calls to me more loudly than anything.  I am working, slowly, on a research project but it’s a struggle and a fight. And my “summer” is half over—I’ll be teaching soon and back in the office. How do you do it?  Or do you? I’ll say this, there is comfort in tenure.  No, more than comfort: peace of mind.  I tell people I don’t get paid much money but I get paid a lot in time.  And in the end I treasure the quality of life that academia affords me.  Now, if only I could work more research into that life.
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.