The sabbatical is well and truly over, and the days of focusing on research are just a distant (but cherished) memory. I am now deep into the new semester, busy welcoming the new students (in my role as programme leader for the MSc Marketing), class preparation for the new semester, and dissertation supervision (for students reaching the end of their programmes). For this ‘day in the life’ post, I thought I would focus on last Tuesday (September 15th). It was the day we welcomed a new cohort of MSc Marketing students.
So, here we go.
The alarm goes off at 6h30m, which is quite ‘painful’ as I had a bad night’s sleep. These past few days, as my mobile phone is off to be repaired, I haven’t checked my e-mail, the news, or social media accounts until after breakfast. On this day, however, as there is so much going on, and because I am expecting messages from a couple of colleagues in other time zones, I decide to quickly check my laptop. I answer a couple of urgent queries, quickly read what my colleagues sent me and, then, get ready for the day. Espresso. Always.
I leave the house with the youngest before 8 am. The traffic is not to bad and I arrive on campus just past 8h30m. I even manage to find a parking spot on campus. It is a good start.
I head over to my office, and have a quick chat with another colleague, before settling at my desk. I go through my notes for the morning, and then have a conference call with a colleague to organise the details of a module that I am developing for our MBA students and which we will deliver together.
At about 9h30m, I leave my office and go to another building to set up the room where I will be this morning. I fire up the computer and projector, check that the Internet is working so that I could show students this YouTube video, and prepare the flipcharts and marker pens.
Our new students start arriving at around 10 o’clock. Some are very decisive, entering the room with straight shoulders. Others seem a bit unsure and nervous. For most of them, this is the first time that they leave their country on their own, of course, which is quite a tall order.
At a few minutes past 10, I kick off our induction session. After a brief introduction, I explain the purpose of the session, and ask students what questions they hope to have answered by the end of the session. Then, we have an icebreaker exercise, before we start covering topics such as the structure of the programme, assessment, expectations (ours and theirs), and advice to succeed on the programme ranging from the very pragmatic (time management and resources available) to the heartfelt (like this letter that I wrote to my students a couple of years ago, or this list of common regrets of University graduates).
At 12, I am joined by my colleagues, who have come to meet the new students and introduce themselves. The Dean comes round, too, and chats with the students during lunchtime. Afterwards, there is a session on academic integrity, and a visit to the library.
Sometime between 2h30m and 3 (I can’t recall exactly), I am back in my office for some administrative matters such as reshuffling workload now that we lost a member of staff, or planning my office hours for the semester. Once these tasks are cleared, I spend around one hour searching our electronic journal databases for literature for a project that I am working on, on the use of social media in the business to business context. Finally, I spend some time organising my bookshelf, as I still have things in boxes from when I moved offices over the summer.
I leave my office at around 4h40m to pick up the youngest from school. I misread the e-mail with the instructions of when to collect him. So, when I arrive, he is already waiting for me, whereas I thought that I was arriving early. Not good. We then wait around 45 minutes for the eldest child. Ah well, at least the sun has come out and there is a rainbow.
We head home, stopping at the shop to buy some milk, eggs and bread. The usual family tasks follow, such as preparing dinner and making sure that homework is done. I put the youngest to bed, and then do a bit more work on that MBA module.
I also deal with e-mails. I don’t like dealing with e-mails in the evening, but not having my phone with me during the day does mean that I can not catch up during dead times like waiting for the kettle to boil, and I am seriously behind on sending things that I promised, or replying to urgent queries (of which there are many at this time of the year). Anyway, I am too tired and, so, at 22h25m I call it a day. I read a bit, and spend way too much time playing 1010 (this game is seriously addicting!).
Looking back, I think that this day was all about new starts: new academic year, new modules, new projects. This makes me wonder: Are you starting something new? What do you have planned?
6 thoughts on “Day in the Life of an academic #3: welcoming new students”
It seemed like a truly packed day and yet you left the office at 4h40! It’s amazing how much you fit in when you set your mind to it 🙂
And then there’s the letter you wrote to your students… it moved me for its message and it moved me for the gesture. Thank you!
My ‘office’ day usually ends early (so that I can pick up the children from school). But my actual work day ends much later, as I usually squeeze in some admin work (e-mails, etc) before dinner time, and a couple more hours between the children’s bed time and mine. Hard… but I do appreciate flexibility 🙂
Really loved reading about your inspiring day. New beginnings. Yes. Well, as you are aware, I recently ventured into digital publishing. Apart from that, I’m about to join a startup as the CTO. So, exciting times 🙂
Exciting times ahead, Arjan. Start-ups are very taxing in terms of work-life balance, though, aren’t they?
They can be, but I believe I’ve found a role and startup, where this is actually not so much so. Obviously, it’s a lot of passion, work and effort, but it seems to me that there is a trend developing in startupland, in which the crazy hours are becoming less the norm. Most of what we hear and read, are also American examples and stories, or startups based on that culture. There’s a fundamental difference between the US and Europe (and maybe the rest of the world) when it comes to sacrificing everything for your job. The startup I’m joining is European, and not run by people in their 20s.
Obviously, it’s all early days, and we’ll have to see. There will be long days, but for now it looks like it will be manageable.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s so interesting reading about your day. I realize I now have similar day like yours as I’m now taking care of a Diploma programme plus a lot of other administrative tasks to do (probably less interesting and I have no kid to fetch yet). Generally I try not to check emails in the evening but sometimes I couldn’t help myself when the phone’s notification just popped out and in order to clear the annoying notification obviously I have to read the emails. Hehe! Oh, and coffee…that’s a must in the morning for me too.
LikeLiked by 1 person