>In graduate school, one of the senior TAs, who had this special TA position specifically designed to mentor the newer TAs (a good system, btw), told us to keep a “love file” in which we put copies of the kick ass teaching evaluations, cool professorial comments, and all other commendations that made us feel like we were doing this thing we do right. I never took that very good advice literally — never created that file — but now I have a blog. And here I can say “Yay for me!” to the whole wide world.
So, two little things made me feel good this week. First, one of my new graduate students, a mere two weeks into the program, wrote me an e-mail telling me how grateful he is for my mentorship as graduate adviser and as the instructor of the research methods class. I don’t *live* for such notes, but they sure do make my day!
And then, in the last day, I e-mailed the organizer of a panel at K’zoo and asked if there were still open spots, because I thought I might have something for it. Not only was there an open spot, but the organizer said she was familiar with my work and looked forward to getting a submission from me. Awesome! Someone’s reading my work!
I love the little things like that. They really matter and they really make my day. They let me know I’m doing things right, that what I do in my job matters at least to some people, and that therefore my existence matters beyond my circle of loved ones. (An aside: one of the cool benefits of being an academic is that people you’ve never met, in far flung places you don’t live or have connections, have read your work, know your name, and value what you do. Even if it’s only 5 of them it’s still cool.) These little things *especially* make my day when there are other, crappy, unbloggable things going on around me that I can’t do much about, that involve systemic problems a helluva lot bigger than me. I can play my little part in those things, too — make up for the inadequacy of others, perhaps — but those are the kinds of things that get me down, and have I to look to these other things I’ve done that somehow brought others pleasure or value of some kind. It’s all I can do.