So this is it–the final week of the semester. (Sorry those of you on quarters). I’ve got three more plagiarists. I wonder if this looks bad for me at my school, that every semester I bust at least three people plagiarizing their essays. Apparently though I have the freshman in my class scared shitless. Good. Some of them looked really nervous, so that means I’m going to have to spend time looking at some of essay 4 really closely which means I have my work cut out for me today.
I have to write an exam today, too for that class. And for the other one I suppose, but the sophomore class’s final won’t be that hard to write.
At the end of each semester I become like a crotchety old man always complaining about the damn kids in his yard except it’s plagiarism in my class. One kid just really fucked up. Of all the ones I’ve had so far, I think this kid was probably the least intentional in his actions; however, as I spend a lot of time on unintentional plagiarism and told them not even to risk it by looking at the internet, he went on-line to read about the story rather than read the actual story and discuss it in class.It sucks that he made a poor decision, but there are consequences, so I don’t feel that bad for him. The other two were straight up egregious cases of stealing from on-line. One is a major of mine, too. Two are athletes, so I made sure to let their coaches know. After submitting plagiarized work (I found it yesterday), my major had the nerve to ask me to do an independent study (prior to my finding the plagiarism but after knowingly submitting plagiarized work)! I’m pissed about that. Sadly, I’m not done grading these essays yet, so who knows how much more could actually be in the pile of 25 or so essays I have left. It is truly unbelievable.
Anyway, enough bitching about that.
I’m stressed. I’m exhausted. I know. We all are. But, I have to get in the car on Thursday morning and drive to the parents for my sister’s graduation this weekend. Like a 13.5 hour drive. Then we turn around on Tuesday and come home. then Wednesday morning I get up early and drive 2.5 hours or so for the faculty retreat. Drive home Thursday. Graduation Friday. Take care of odds and ends and a Sunday afternoon dinner that weekend, and then the J leaves Monday morning to begin the drive home to Home City. I have so much admin work to do between now and tomorrow night. I guess I have my work cut out for me the next two days. Not to mention when will I have time to even work on this damn faculty retreat presentation??
However, I do have some good news, or perhaps rather “productive” news. A thing I was working on yesterday forced to me to think about my research, or rather lack thereof, and I was forced to articulate a book project. That’s right folks, I have a book project. I have no proposal, and the research is very little, but since I never though of the diss as eventually being a book, I’m excited that I have an idea again big enough for a book. And a senior scholar in the field loves the idea (like seriously, I have a large paragraph describing the book–again, not even a proposal) and said it’s a book that “must be written,” that I “need to write” this book. I’m super excited!
I expect that in some ways, a book is a bigger undertaking than a dissertation, and in some ways I’m guessing it’s probably very similar. And I guess while one may choose ones diss topic, in order to graduate, one must write a dissertation to achieve that goal which adds a dimension to the diss that I won’t have, at least not right now, for the book. And perhaps this would be less thrilling if I *had* to have a book for my job for tenure purposes. But I don’t need to have one at all. While this isn’t a superfluous academic endeavor, and will certainly help my job security at Fancy Town College (which still isn’t a great pseudonym and not much more accurate than the previous one–2 years in and I gotta keep working on that), I think because I’m not under any pressure at this moment to have a book, I find this very liberating and exhilarating at the moment. I have a BIG IDEA!! A book kind of big idea!! I have a goal! A scholarly goal. Look, I know that the academic book market isn’t great right now, but I don’t care. I have an idea, an apparently important idea, and someone willing to help me get that idea out there, so yay! Finally, after almost three years post-dissertation, I have something to work toward! Something legit!
So that makes me feel good. While I might not be able to legitimately say that I’m working “on” a book right now, I can say that I’m working “toward” a book, and that makes me feel good. And I need that right now.