Friday, January 7, 2011

Graduate School Didn't Prepare Me for This!

Yesterday was one of those grueling days of revising/creating charts for the final departmental assessment report and doing some final proofreading, plus creating the introduction and conclusion. Eight hours of that.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I didn't even notice that my spouse had put away the Christmas decorations until I went to plug in the Christmas tree, and it wasn't there.

The only pleasant part of the work day yesterday was interviewing our new Psychology adjunct. At one point, we talked about all the facets of our daily work lives which grad school had never prepared us for, and I thought of all the assessment work we've been doing.

I also thought of the picture I posted yesterday, the one where I was talking to my favorite undergraduate English professor. I was a double major, English and Sociology. I went to graduate school to study English in part because I had such trouble with my Statistics class. There have been moments this week when I've thought, well ha ha ha, the joke is on me. I've spent much of the week doing rudimentary statistics and wishing I could remember more of what I learned in Stats class 25 years ago.

In the coming year, I'll be turning more of these duties over to faculty. We have some people in our department who are very good at statistics and that kind of analysis. This year, I didn't realize that I needed them until it was too late. Christmas break had already started when I was told that the stats we had created weren't quite enough, and I had to go back to create two charts that were more specific. Grrr.

Well, the deadline is upon me (today) and the document is mostly done. Until the next group of people reads it and decides that the document needs more of this, less of that.

Actually, grad school did prepare me for that process with the dissertation committee and that experience of trying to produce one document that would satisfy the requirements (often contradictory) of various readers. I just didn't foresee that I would use these skills in quite this way.

But I'm happy to have a job in which to use them. I do wish I had paid closer attention in my Math classes and in my Statistics classes. It's like I always tell students who complain about classes they have to take, classes which they assume will be useless to them in the future. You just never know, which is why we (and the state of Florida) require a good selection of Liberal Arts classes.


Karen J. Weyant said...

Oh, yes. Assessment. JCC has put a day aside dedicated to assessment activities. That day would be Wednesday -- I'm not looking forward to that!

Kathleen said...

I've talked to more than one math teacher (high school and college level) who says to take Statistics (if you have a math requirement to fulfill) because it will serve you well in life!

I'm glad you have found help and can delegate!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Sending you and Karen, both, my sympathies.

Kristin said...

In grad school, I always said I wanted a life of words and the intellect--I didn't visualize it turning out quite like this! (but of course, I'm happy to have found a place in academia--so many folks don't).