Academic New Year’s Resolutions You Won’t Keep

by on 2013-01-03 in Duck- 10 Comments

smoking obamaSure we know we don’t stick to New Year resolutions (apparently only 8% of resolutions are fulfilled) but they’re fun to make, right?
In addition to the top 5 New Year’s resolutions that most people don’t keep (losing weight, quitting smoking, going on a diet, stopping a bad habit, and getting more exercise) some of us make professional resolutions. So what do you think are the top 5 Academic New Year’s resolutions you’re likely to break? Here are my guesses/my unrealistic resolutions- feel free to weigh in with yours:

1. Write Every Day
This is like the resolution that never quits. I don’t know a single academic that doesn’t try to commit to this resolution- yet we all fall off the wagon from time to time. Just like when the September issue of Vogue comes out inspiring us to wear uncomfortable shoes more often (no, not you?), the New Year makes me recommit to a new, and often unreasonable word-count quota.

2. Say no more often
I sort of always thought academics were being ego-maniacs or liars when they said they needed to say no to things more often (like when some people brag that they just get too skinny when they’re stressed- wow, still going with the Vogue references). However, the requests for journal/book/proposal reviews, supervision requests, reference letters etc all do add up. New rules: must be in my DIRECT line of expertise, I must remember the student’s face and they must have visited my office at least once, and- thanks to Dan’s recent encouraging post- no referring for journals that don’t report their final decision to you.

3. Use dragon dictate more…yeah right
This isn’t going to happen, but my fantasies of dictating a fantastic book while doing lunges or lounging on a sofa in my office hold strong.

4. Read more material that is inspiring; read less material that a. makes me write “???*** WTF, are you kidding!!” in the columns and b. makes me feel depressed about the state of academia or the world in general.
If I could just stop writing about the US military and having to read polemics about how the military would be a masculine machine/fun frat party without women….

5.Hang out/ interact more with people that are inspiring, healthy, and positive and avoid networks or individuals that aren’t.
Sounds easy enough…

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  • scooby509

    Not much reason to do dictation on the sofa, just get a bluetooth keyboard and hook it up to an iPad and type away.

    I tried dictating while driving, just by recording and then running the recorded file through the computer when I got home. You need a good quality wired headset and decent results are possible, but in my Civic, the background noise at highway speeds interfered in many cases. Also, dictation software tends to rely on a fixed vocabulary and a formalized style of speaking that’s not a great way to capture creative thought; I’d wind up with a block of poorly transcribed text and I’d be missing the one thing I was thinking about when I went over a noisy concrete bridge.

    If you have a luxury car, though, and a good quality headset, it’s worth a try.

  • D. B. Robinson

    May I suggest, “Learn grammar?” (“1. Write everyday” should be “Write every day.” “Everyday” is an adjective as in “These are my everyday shoes. My dress shoes are more suitable for a party.”)

  • Dan Nexon

    It seems like we’re getting in uptick in grammar and spelling trolling lately. Blogging for a site like this is an informal activity carried out by people with other jobs to do. We don’t have editors. Mistakes happen. What’s so difficult about a friendly comment pointing out a mistake?

  • bobrzik

    Since you brought it up, she should also learn the difference between “lose” and “loose.”

  • koblog

    I didn’t see anything in her post about shoes, everyday or not.

  • Megan H. MacKenzie

    Good eye. It’s a post I wrote off the cuff not my opus so I’m not too bothered. Please see resolution #5

  • Megan H. MacKenzie

    Thanks Scooby. I have neither so I may be stuck tapping out the next book the old fashioned way :)

  • David Govett

    How about not indoctrinating your students politically?

  • Elby Jay

    Please don’t think I’m just grammar trolling when I point out that the first word of line four should be “losing,” not “loosing.” Confession: I’m an English professor, and I’ve already broken the “write every day” resolution. Meanwhile, the novel in my head percolates along, ever roiling but never written.

  • Dan Nexon

    But that’s not trolling! Using the phrase “should learn the difference” is what makes your humble moderator think “this is trolling.”