It’s that time of the semester again. You’ve taught your Nth English Composition library instruction session/info lit class/freshman seminar. Everyone is sick–including you. That 3rd cup of coffee doesn’t quite pack the same punch. All of the deadlines for all of the writing projects that you were so excited about are all looming in the semi-immediate horizon. You’ve hit the Mid-Semester Slump, and it sucks.
It happens every year, and almost always hits hardest in the fall. Yet every fall I’m surprised when it happens. I can’t quite figure out why my energy is so low and I can’t quite shake what should have been a 3-day cold 2 weeks later. All hopes of a regular exercise schedule feel like a pipe dream, but I was just able to accomplish that a few weeks earlier. What is it about the midterm that makes life and work so difficult and dreary? Is it the repetition? The stress? Something else?
I’m trying to make my way out of the slump with excessive amounts of coffee and croissants, but they just aren’t quite doing the trick. I’m starting to attribute these feelings to the garbage fire that is the news in this country coupled with being a latina in it. That said, my work is still my work and my family still needs my best self. So what are your suggestions for getting through this slog? What’s worked for you in previous semesters? How do you take care of yourself and revitalize your feelings when the semester starts to the feel like a drag?
My bullet journal tells me I haven’t posted in a while. I wanted to write about teaching today, about a particular topic that I’ve been thinking about interesting ways to teach. Honestly, my heart is not in it. My heart feels broken.
McAllen, Texas is the biggest site of the horrific child and infant detention centers, which will soon be expanded to keep families together…in jail. It’s where thousands of kids lie on concrete floors unsure of when they’ll ever see their families again. It’s also the town adjacent to the one I grew up in (Pharr, TX). My family is there. I shop there. I eat there. I hang out there. My heart is there, and my heart hurts.
Readers of this blog know that my first son Connor was unexpectedly stillborn, and I bring that up not to elicit sympathy for myself, but to say that having experienced that pain of not being able to hold and keep safe the child you were meant to protect is shattering. Those mothers and fathers are having their hearts ripped out and their children are being terrorized by this administration. It’s cruel, inhumane, horrific, and I don’t know what else. There isn’t a word harsh enough to describe the world right now. In the faces of those children I see my sons, my nephew, myself and my sister, my cousins and my friends, all of whom have the privilege of being born brown on this side of the border. I 100% identify with those parents just trying to find a better life for their children, who they love more than anything in this world.
So, like many of you, I do what I can to help support children and families and encourage others to do the same. Donate to RAICES, KIND, and NETA. Help REFORMA help children. Buy books for my amazing colleague, Lisa Cruces’ book drive. Vote. Protest. Call all those assholes in office. Basically stay human in the face of inhumanity and fight against it.
Southern Maryland has been my home for almost 10 years. Although working at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s library wasn’t my first library job, it has been the job that turned me into the librarian I am today. My friends are in Maryland, parts of my heart are in the rivers and the bay, and pieces of me will come up every year with the daffodils that have naturalized in the front yard of my little blue house.
But as the title of this post indicates, new adventures are always around the corner.
I’ve shared my husband’s health struggles and triumphs on this blog and on Twitter, and one thing that became overwhelmingly obvious to us this fall was that we, as a family, needed to stay in Houston. What began as a temporary sabbatical move turned into a transformative year for all of us, my partner in particular, and is now the start of a new phase for all of us.
In one month I will begin a new job as the Instruction Coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries. It’s the place that gave me my start in academic libraries, and it’s the library that I’ll once again get to call my place of work. I am excited to join a wonderful team of teaching and liaison librarians and am so looking forward to the new challenge of being a librarian supervisor (!!!). I can’t wait to start working at this vibrant university.
Yes, this means an abrupt end to my sabbatical year, but 9 months isn’t too shabby. I will miss St. Mary’s and Maryland deeply. I’m a ball of excitement, nerves, sadness, and joy. Transitions are scary, but they bring the possibility of growth and renewal. Here’s hoping this next academic year will bring them both.
I’ll be at LOEX May 3-5 (conveniently located in Houston). If you’re attending, I’d love to see you, meet you, and learn more about you. In the meantime, I’ll be wrapping up projects, continuing my writing and research, and waiting for my new adventure to begin.