September panic attack (I’m okay, really)

by kattiewampus

Teaser: I’m currently working on a post about three females in literary fiction who inspire me. I originally wanted to make it a “Top 10” list, but after coming up with the first three, I’m having trouble coming up with seven more that are on par with them, so I might just cap it at three and talk more in-depth about each of them. I’m pretty excited about it. Extra teaser: all three are from children’s books. Hehe!

Things that I’m stressing out about right now:

1) I take the GRE the day after tomorrow

Here are the things that I’m actually worried about:

  • Waking up in time
  • Finding the place
  • The parking situation

That’s in addition to the math section, of course. The other night, I took another practice test, and my brain had completely unraveled by the time I got to the final math section. There was a question that completely stumped me that I just knew I should be able to solve but I could not for the life of me figure out where to start.  I’ll tell you what it was, because it seriously should not have train-wrecked me the way that it did.

As best as I can remember it:

“3x + 5000 = 6x + 10000. Solve for x (write the answer as a fraction).”

You’ve already solved it, right?

Yeah, not me. I was mystified. I stared and stared at the screen, feeling my IQ dropping by the second. This should not be that hard. I know how to do this. Why am I stuck on this?

In the end, after the test was over, I had to use this to figure out the answer.

I can crank out essays on topics about which I know absolutely nothing and I can consistently get an almost perfect score on the verbal reasoning sections, but math has been and always will be my kryptonite. There is some neural pathway in my brain that never fully developed with regard to math, so when the math problem-solving neurons try to fire, they just short-circuit my brain wiring instead and everything shuts down.

So, we’ll see how things go on Saturday…

2) Next week through February 2015

My friend is going on maternity leave starting Monday. She also happens to be my co-worker. Our office recently underwent some structural changes, including taking on the support work for additional programs in the law school as well as two co-workers leaving for jobs elsewhere.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • In July, we were a team of four, all of whom had been here anywhere between 2 – 5+ years.
  • We were in the process of hiring a fifth person for our team to replace a co-worker who had left back in the spring.
  • Immediately after we extended a job offer to the would-be fifth person, two of my co-workers gave their two weeks’ notice.
  • We were able to offer a job to our runner-up as well, without having to start the entire process from scratch.
  • In August, we were a team of four: myself, my 8-months-pregnant co-worker, and two new-hires.
  • The original plan was to hire a temp while my co-worker went on leave. Then we decided that it would be easier if I just covered for her while she was out.
  • So, now it’s September. Starting next week, we will be a team of three: myself and two new-hires.

This is what my support load looked like a year ago: 12 professors + 1 law school program.

This is what my support load looked like in August when we started supporting more law school programs: 12 professors + 1 law school program + 2 law school centers + 3 law school clinics

This is what my support load looks like now (well, starting Monday): 30 professors + 1 law school program + 2 law school centers + 3 law school clinics.

Now, I will qualify that by saying that 5 of those professors are not heavily involved with teaching this semester. Furthermore, of the 25 remaining professors, not every single one requires an extensive amount of support.

Also, I was the one who suggested that I cover for my co-worker in lieu of hiring a temp.

But still. It’s going to be an interesting semester! 😀

But wait, there’s more!

Our office historically has been in charge of facilitating and administering the law school exams at the end of every semester. Now, we are partnering with the Law Student Services department for this process. Think of the exam process as a three-part process: preparing the exams for administration, administering the exams, and processing the finished exams. Our office is now responsible for the first and third parts of the process.

The fun part is that for this upcoming exam season, between the Faculty Support Office and Law Student Services, I will be the only person on the team who has recently been involved with the entire process.

To further underscore my (lack of) experience, let me add this perspective: I formerly had two primary roles in the exam process – to make door signs with exam information for each day and to be the “floater.” Being the floater meant assisting the exam proctors with starting exams, filling in as a proctor whenever needed, and assisting my co-workers with their parts of the exam process when needed (counting exams, stapling print-outs, replenishing exam boxes, pulling exams, etc.)

My roles in the process now include preparing all of the exam boxes (we create a physical box for each exam being administered. In addition to the actual exams, these also include instructions for the proctors, attendance slips and course rosters for taking role, as well as ear plugs, extra pencils, extra scratch paper, extra blue books for the students, etc.); preparing the identifying labels that go on each box; pulling all exams for reschedules, accommodated students, and LLM students; transporting completed, exam-filled boxes from one building to the other for administration; making the door signs; and running completed scantrons through the scantron machine.

Oh, and pretending like I know the answers to all and any questions that my new co-workers (and Law Student Services) will inevitably have about the entire process.