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2007-02-13 - 12:07 p.m.

...Okay so there's a how the heck do I FIX it?.....

Ack. I just hit a button that inadvertently closed a window and deleted this ENTIRE entry. So let me repeat what I wrote.

For the second day in a row I've had to cancel class. Yesterday the guest speaker called at the last minute with a horrible flu. Today's speaker just forgot to show up (he's the one who canceled earlier in the semester as well). Apart from feeling like this makes the course look rather LAME, there's nothing I can do about it. So the course will resume next week.

I also just got a list of all 120 students who have applied to the program next year. Not one selected me as an adviser. Worrisome. And then I learned that the online forms were not updated, so my name was not even listed as a possibility. I wasn't an option. Nice. Certainly a great way to add to my sense of inclusion and integration at this place. (not.)

This past week, I'm the closest yet to just dropping this whole place. But I'm not going to go there. I'm not going to cry today. no no no no. Instead a brainstorm of steps in the positive direction. What am I doing to make things better?

1. I've just emailed one of my colleagues and invited her to lunch or a coffee. If the only way to make contact is through scheduled time, then I should try to schedule it.

2. I've emailed another faculty member to see if we can meet and discuss how SHE successfully engages students in class discussions.

3. I changed the topic of my next lecture to cover something more in line with the class's interests. I will spend the first hour introducing the topic, and we will spend the remaining hour discussing in small groups. I will meet with the TA to come up with some discussion questions. She has her proverbial finger on the pulse of the students, and so perhaps this will help out.

4. Yesterday I ran into the University Secretariat, who amazingly still remembers my name from our faculty orientation over six months ago. She asked how I was doing and whether or not I was getting support. (great week to ask either of these questions). She suggested that I email her about having lunch. I did that today.

5. I am going to run today. I need to clear my head.

6. I scheduled another appointment with my grant coordinator so that I can move forward with getting my startup money. (no I still don't have it).

7. I've got an appointment with security to see about making my laboratory more secure.

Interestingly, I was hired to be a scientist. You'll note a distinct lack of science on that list. Huh. Nope. Said I wasn't going to go there.

So, what is still missing from this list is someone that I can just talk to. I need to develop some social contacts amongst my colleagues. It doesn't help that the department has scheduled its only social even during my class.

My mother always says that people have to KNOW that things are not going well or nothing can get changed. But at the same time, she also says that you have to let people know without just whining to them. Right now I am just unhappy without a real sense of how to fix it. The way I normally get to the root of these kinds of problems is to just talk things out with people until I can put my finger on the problem, and then go about ways of fixing it. I just don't have anyone here who is friend enough to help me with that. I certainly don't know anyone well enough to BE a friend to anyone. How do you solve loneliness? How do you create a friend? How can you go to your department chair and say, "I'm unhappy because I don't have any friends."?? (whoa, that just sounded soooo pathetic...)

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