Most powerful conversations happen to me seemingly at random. I spoke with a colleague and friend today to pick her brain about getting tips for teaching an upcoming class. We somehow got into a conversation about exercise and how academia will allow you to work yourself ragged if you let it.
I recalled seeing a video of her on facebook doing crossfit, jumping on boxes and being so inspired. She’s 20 years older than me.
She shared that that moment meant a lot to her as well, because it wasn’t until she started getting back in tune with nurturing herself physically, that she realized she was neglecting her body.
I’m trying really hard to not let that happen by swimming laps (but I think gyms are closing?) and I invested in a barbell set.
Anyhow, she said that she had worked and poured herself into academia to her own detriment and that she went above and beyond what she needed for tenure– warning me to not lose myself in the process like she did. It was so appreciated. She recommended:
- Having yourself set the bar for your work–no one else. Let someone have the mentality that your work is never good enough. Work to meet your own standards.
- Be the first to leave the class. Meaning, if a student wants to talk to you when your class ends at 8:30 pm and you have an hour drive home, offer to do a phone call to avoid exhaustion.
- Be stingy with your time, take your breaks, vacations, and keep boundaries.
- Have a life and if it affects your job, you’re smart enough and will find another if needed.
- Don’t succumb to the workaholic pressure, like working 10 hour days is a badge of honor as well as exhaustion– don’t drink that Kool Aid.
- Work smarter, not harder. Have students turn in shorter assignments or have more of an exam be multiple choice.
This was so helpful because I felt myself beginning to drown at the end of last semester. If I didn’t have mentors from all over I don’t know what I would do.
Much love from the new academic.