We’re back from what I like to think of as our mid-season break (six seasons and a movie, eh, Atif?) and since I’ve learned not to ask how the holidays were in order to avoid the despairingly cynical answer “what holidays?” I’ll just say welcome back.
What I will do is invoke another convention, which is to speak of New Year’s resolutions. When I was a child, I used to rail against the notion of participating in the conventional or traditional, but I was rather a rebel without a cause; I was never made to take piano lessons, or go to church, or even sit down for family dinners, or give in to any other of those supposed childhood buzzkills. I protested any semblance of an obligation to do the done thing because, somehow, I was always aware of the weight of unquestioned history bearing down and deforming the finer features of justice. And I prejudicially despised the choice to rely on convention, thinking it inseparable from the laziness I saw in mass media and culture. I have a multifaceted view now of these forms of repetition. I realize that tradition is often the best precondition for shared meaning and that good art doesn’t depend on inventing new themes or, to put a finer point on it, on inventing new emotions. And I recognize for myself the value of practice—regular, ongoing practice that stitches the days together and returns a cumulative value, the kind for which there’s no one-step substitute.
Over the break I re-adopted a daily fiction reading practice (Lolita, finished; Watchmen, about a third left to go) and as someone who’s going to be on the job market by the end of next year, I’ve I’m going to complement that with a daily professional development practice:
- I’m bookmarking Hook and Eye, an excellent blog by Canadian women about working in the academy. It supplies the kind of career-focused thinking to keep you in touch with the wider politics and culture of universities from beyond a student perspective.
- I’m enrolled in SGS 901: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. I’m looking forward to beginning on Wednesday and engaging in a sustained, guided reflection on how I can operationalize my belief in the value of academic research.
- And, of course, I’ll be attending my program’s Speakers and Professional Development Series, “Cultural Studies Speaks.” (CS Speaks is open to everyone, so do join us if you can!) I sit on the committee that’s responsible for booking the Winter term’s slate of events, and I’ve used this as an opportunity to answer some of my own questions that come to mind when I ask myself: how can I transition from a “student” to a “professional” mindset?
And, to borrow from a resolution mentioned in a recent Hook and Eye post, I plan to make it all hyggeligt—a brilliant Danish concept that describes creating a shared mood of coziness, contentment, and being in all these pursuits together.