Wednesday, 18 January 2012

And, suddenly it all seems worth while...

As you know, I'm up against it for the next couple of months, juggling thesis and teaching, with little chance of life creeping in.  The start of this period of time started badly.

It was my birthday last Friday, and I hadn't told many people, because I didn't want a fuss.  But, I had promised myself a precious day off.  I planned to drive round the coast, to take a walk along the cliffs, or even to get the train into London for the day and walk down the South Bank.  I don't know why I like that walk down the South Bank so much - I just do.  The weather was set to be fine, and the day seemed like a jewel that I could grasp - I could almost feel it in my hands.

And then, at 2.00 in the morning I woke up, buried my head in a bucket and spent the next six hours throwing up.  'Triffic.  Over the next 48 hours, I slept - I had no energy to do anything other than lurch from my bed to the sofa and back to the bed again.

As soon as I felt better, term started, and it's back on the merry-go-round again.  I have new students for the extra module that I teach this term, and I had to mark the essays for my existing Critical Intro students.  I'd done most of the marking over the vacation period, but I had a couple of essays that I needed to deal with - one that 'felt wrong' (but proved to be utterly benign, if not very good), and one from my brightest student who had an extension due to bad health.

I've just marked that essay.  It was wonderful - beautifully researched, beautifully presented, fantastic structure, thoughtful, totally answered the question, and the prose wasn't bad either.  I could never have written this essay that well - not as a first year, and I doubt if I could now.  This particular student is, I feel, destined to be an academic of some greatness.  How wonderful that I should be involved in their academic journey.

What a privilege.

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