It’s the beginning of June, which is the single most difficult time for any North American at an institution on the quarter system. We’ve been going nearly non-stop since the end of December or beginning of January (because spring “break” is really just a chance to switch context between quarters), and we still have two more weeks left before it’s over. We’re tired. The weather is getting nicer. All of our friends at semester-based institutions have been done for weeks and are posting pictures of vacations on Facebook. We’re experiencing the academic equivalent of hitting the wall.
The techniques for dealing with it are the same as when you hit the wall while running: focus on putting on foot in front of the other and don’t think about anything else. So I’ll switch on the iPod this morning and power through grading. Then on Monday I’ll stand in front of 55 people who are also hitting the wall and try to coach them through HTML parsing and web crawling. Throughout the week I’ll work on writing up end-of-year assessment reports to be read by colleagues who are equally burned out. It’s a good thing I had all those years of running to help me build my mental stamina for the end of yet another academic sprint.