The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Posted by Seeking Solace |

Thanks to everyone who commented or emailed me about my previous post. You gave some great suggestions and things to think about regarding whether or not to apply for a adjunct job at Christan Law School. I really took your comments to heart. After careful deliberation, I made a decision.

Next job opportunity, please.

It came down to this: Could I do the job well? Yes. Would I have a positive impact on the students and help them become good lawyers? Yep! Could I handle the question about my being an atheist. Probably. But, even if this job opportunity was accepting of me and my lack of beliefs, would I feel comfortable just being who I am? I don't know. Not knowing is what sealed the deal for me.

I am not saying that people there would treat me differently or unfairly because I am an atheist. There probably many who would accept me for my abilities, rather than my beliefs. But, I also know that it could be a problem for some, maybe even a distraction. That was never my intent. But, in my quest to find a place where I fit in, Christan Law School may not be the place to test that theory.

All I have ever wanted in life is to find my place in the world. It's hard to do that when you are a mixed race female who has a disability and is also an atheist. I don't wear these roles on my sleeve, although a couple are pretty obvious. But, it does make it hard to feel comfort and acceptance in a world that is not so tolerant. All I want is to find a job where I can do my job well, inspire others to be the best they can be without distractions about who I am or drama that does not allow me to do what I do well.

Not much to ask for, right?

Monday, April 07, 2014


Posted by Seeking Solace |'s a question for the academic masses. Ready?

Would you apply for a job at an institution whose mission goes against your beliefs?  If yes, would you disclose those beliefs if asked or lie about them?

There is an adjunct teaching opportunity at a local law school. This law school's prides itself on being faithful to its Christan heritage and values. I would jump at this opportunity except...

I am an atheist.

Let me start off by saying that I do not care what someone believes or doesn't believe. One's views are personal to them. It's their truth. I am all for discussion of different views, but I draw the line at trying to indoctrinate someone into their belief system or chastise them for not believing in the way that they do. I do have strong views about the role of church and state which is tied more to constitutional legal theory.  I do not wear my atheism on my sleeve.

I have never disclosed my beliefs to my students. I don't think they should know where I stand on any particular issue. If asked, I tell my students that what I believe is irrelevant and a little scary (the scary part is my attempt at humor). My goal as a professor has always been that students need to figure out for themselves what their own truth is. They need to ask questions and view all sides of an issues. They also need to back up what they say with solid evidence. Even if I don't believe what they believe, they must be able to back up what they say.

So, the issue is that if I was to get an interview, my belief system is fair game. It is not an illegal question for an interview because it falls under the bona-fide occupational qualification BFOQ) exception.  I suppose I could lie and tell them that I am Catholic (I was a cradle Catholic), but that is ethically unacceptable. But, if I am truthful, it could be the reason to deny me. With the exception of not having a license to practice law in Elsewhere (I am still licensed in my former state), I am more than qualified to do the job.

There are other public law schools in the area, but they would be difficult for me, transportation-wise.This is a second re-posting, which makes me think they are having trouble finding qualified candidates. The  job would be an excellent opportunity to take my teaching to the next level and work with some advanced level students. Also, working with the students at this school would be helpful for one of my research interests and it would look nice on the CV.

OK...what would you do?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

New Suit

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I need to buy a interview suit.

No, I don't have an interview. But, I am thinking I should get one, just in case.  I did apply for the position at PhD U and I am still waiting to hear something from CC about an adjunct gig. So, there is the possibility of an interview at some point. I figured I would do it now, rather than waiting until the last minute and settling on something I don't like.

I do not have a lot of professional clothing left in my closet. All of my suits were purged in the big closet clean out, with the exception of my Supreme Court suit. There is no way I will ever part with that suit. But, it  needs to go to the tailor to be altered. It's a size 16 and I am now a size 4/6. With work and class, I haven't been able to get to the tailor. It is on my to-do list for after the semester is finished. As far as professional clothes, I have a pair of black dress pants, a black skirt, a couple of blouses and a few cardigans. I didn't see the need to buy a lot of professional stuff seeing as I teach online. I don't go to campus that much, and if I do, what I have in my professional wardrobe works. But, as far as an interview goes...not so much.

 I am sort of ambivalent about shopping for a suit, which is really weird because I love fashion and shopping. Also, I should be excited to shop in my new size. I think what is bothering me is the thought of going through the whole interview dance. Having to put on the charm to show someone that I am the greatest thing since sliced white bread. I know all the buzzword, all the ins and outs of the interview process.  I know how to dazzle people with brilliance and baffle them with bullshit.

I know how to play the game.

It's kind of nauseating.

I suppose I should just channel some positive energy and really take my time to find something that is going to be flattering. Something that makes me look confident and fierce. Something that tells the world "You would be a fool not to hire me."

Who knows...this could be the start of a new professional wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Want vs. Need

Posted by Seeking Solace |

It's been about nine months since I left my job at Tech College to work part-time and work on the PhD part time. For the most part, it has been nice. My health is great; I only had one flare up that required steroids. I work from home, teaching one online class, which has allowed me to concentrate on my PhD. My house has never been cleaner, as I adopted a house cleaning routine that frees up time, especially on the weekends. And, Junior loves having his mom home. I am relaxed and relatively steers free.

So, I should be happy...right?

Well, sort of.

I miss teaching on site. Online teaching is OK, but I think I am better in a face-to-face environment. There are not many opportunities out there right now, although I am still waiting to hear about a adjunct teaching position for the fall at another institution. HBCU does not have anything available on campus, but they did offer me the online class to teach in the fall.

Being at home is also hard when you can't drive. Because of my visual disability, I can't get a driver's license.  People have no idea how much independence is lost when you cannot drive. Public transport is horrible in Elsewhere, otherwise, I would be all over it. So, getting out to be among the people is kind of tough.

I miss having more discretionary income. It's not that we need my salary. Husband makes enough money that anything that I make is extra. When I was working full-time, we used my income to build a nice emergency account, build up both of our retirement accounts and do some nice things like update some things in our house or have more vacation time. But, my salary was also my own to manage and use for what I waned. Now, don't think that Husband is one of those guys who is selfish with money. There really isn't a "his" or "her" money. It's ours. But, as a woman and having seen what can happen to women when their spouse leaves or dies, it is important for me to have something of my own. What I earn right now is quite dismal, which is just another example of the plight of the adjunct. I'll save that rant for another day. And, it's not like I have to "have" certain things or can't control my own spending. I am quite fiscally responsible and savvy. I just miss having that little extra.

All of these feelings bubbled up because I found a posting at PhD university for a full time job. It's not teaching, it's another demonstrative position that I am about 95% qualified. I would be able to combine my legal and education backgrounds. It's a straight 8-5 job, with some flexibility. But, as I started working on the cover letter, I started thinking about what would happen if I was offered the job. Am I going back to the land of insanity, like at Tech College? What would happen to my work out schedule that has helped me get back to remission? What about my PhD? I even started thinking if my house would be as neat and tidy then as it is now and how poor Junior will miss out on our walks.


It's crazy because I do this all the time. I get excited about some opportunity and then start playing the "what if" game to the point that I become paralyzed with fear of even applying.

It's also crazy because I have a hard time being happy with where I am. Living in the moment, if you will. People constantly tell me that I should embrace this time because not too many people get such an opportunity. Don't get me wrong. I am enjoying my time. But, I just wish there was something more.

I guess the Rolling Stones said it best. "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you will find, you get what you need."

Friday, March 28, 2014


Posted by Seeking Solace |

It's been almost two months since I reached my goal weight of 138 pounds. I maintained this weight with only minor fluctuations. I've fallen to 137 or gone up to 138.5, but nothing lower or higher than that. I still enter my food into Lose-It and keep track of portion sizes.

Maintenance has been a little tricky. I am still not eating all of my calories. According to Lose-It, I should take in 1847 calories per day to maintain my weight. Most days, I am lucky if I can reach 1500 calories. I am just not as hungry, so I don't want to force feed myself just to get to 1847. I am substituting full fat versions for the low fat items that I've been eating, but it has not made much of a difference. So, I am just going with the flow for now.

Junior and I have been walking and slow jogging about four days a week, weather permitting. On the days that we can't go, I use the treadmill in our home gym. I do intervals, mainly to not put too much impact on my joints and to challenge my body a little. When I jog, it is very slow, almost like a trot. But, it works for me and that's what counts. Junior and I are up to 1.5 miles through our neighborhood and about 3/4 of it is jogging. The joints have not been complaining, so I am happy. I have my six month checkup with my RA doc in a couple of weeks, so I will see how she feels about it. She has supported my jogging, so long as I don't go crazy.

The exercise has helped in the stress department. Since leaving full time work for part time work and part time PhD, I am a little more relaxed. Yes, I do have those times that I get anxious or stressed out, but I am definitely coping better. It's amazing what the exercise will do.

So, I am maintaining....and that's a good thing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Remembering Why

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Today, I went to campus to meet with a student who reached out to me because she has been struggling with the project I assigned. We talked about the project and I assured her that she was going about it the right way. We also talked about her difficulties managing her classes (She's a freshman) and being an out of state student. At the end, she began to cry, because she was so grateful for the help and the reassurance.

It's days like this that make me happy to do what I do. I sometimes forget about the good that I do in changing lives and helping students learn and grow. I often forget my 20-60-20 Rule:

20% of students are the "Dream Students". These are the students that do more than what is asked of them. They love to learn and will soak up everything you give them. If you could clone them, you would. You don't want to forget about the Dream Student because they can easily slip. Encouragement and praise are their currency. You have to continue to nurture their desire to learn.

The other 20% are the "Knuckle-Heads". These are the students that no amount of motivation will ever get them to do what needs to be done. Despite all your best efforts, you just can't reach them. It may be that there are issues that are beyond what you can do. The only thing you can do is to let them go. Yes, that sounds harsh. But, you cannot force someone to learn. You can, however, be there to support them when they are ready to assume that role as learner.

The remaining 60% can end up on either end of the continuum. If left to their own devices, they will become one of the Knuckle-Heads. They have to work harder, but with structure, a little tough love and a great deal of encouragement, they will join the Dream Students. It's those students that we, myself included,  have to work with the most to inspire them and give them the tools they need to be successful.

Too often, I get wrapped up in the Knuckle-Heads. Maybe it's because I hate seeing someone take education for granted. I often tell the students the same thing that my mother would tell me, "Education is something that no one can ever take from you. The knowledge you gain is yours. Use it to build yourself up and share that knowledge with the world.".  So often, I see so many students who don't realize how powerful knowledge and education is. It can take you places that you could only image. It can open doors that are often closed.  So, when I have Knuckle-Heads like my two entitled-mentality students, I get angry.

But, then I see the young lady that I met today. She is in that 60% group. Learning does not come easy for her, but she tries very hard and wants so badly to do well. She initiated the meeting with me, because she is on the boarder of passing and failing my class. With some hard work, she will most likely pass. She just needed that extra encouragement from me to show her hat she knows more than she gives herself credit. If she puts her mind to it, she will make it.

That's why I do what I do. I really need to remember today, and all those other students like the young lady I worked with today when the Knuckle-Heads of the world get me down. There is a reason why I do what I do.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Have To"?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I have another student who is failing and wants to make up the work, despite not hearing a peep until now. Stu says that there was a death in the family that impacted Stu greatly. Stu says that failure is not an option because he is taking the class for a second time. plus the reason why he failed the first time was because the class was moved to online. So, I have to let him make up the missed work.

I "have to" let him make up the work? "Have to"?


OK, setting the online vs. onsite part aside, because I do agree that the course I teach is not suited for online learning, how is it that the student gets to dictate what I "have to" and don't "have to" do? I mean, who is in control of how he or she performs in the class?

In the past, I've let someone in this situation make up the work, with a grade penalty. But, what ends up happening is the student doesn't do the work. Then, they come crying to me again, begging for a third chance or asking for extra credit (something I NEVER give). It just ends up being a hassle that I try to avoid by setting up the course in the manner that I do.

It's also not fair to those students who have followed the syllabus and turned in the work on time, or followed my instructions for asking for an extension. What does that say to them? That I don't stand by what I say?

So, I "have to" let him make up the work because he doesn't want to fail. Did he "have to" do the work in the first place? Where is his ownership of the situation?  Again, it's all about consequences for not doing what you are supposed to do.

No, I don't "have to" do anything.