Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

The Nerd Who Likes to Play

| 1 Comment

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You may not know this, but I started this entire blog to write a particular post that I did not feel matched any of the places I was publishing my non-peer-reviewed work. A post entitled “We are nerds. So how do we reach our students?”

It keeps coming back again, this playful nerdiness thing that I’ve got going.

Right now I’m frustrating myself. I’m having a nerdy vacation. I don’t go to work unless there’ s an important meeting (it’s summer, don’t you know?) and I’m getting some research and teaching prep stuff done. I keep getting sidetracked by the cMOOCs and the twitter chats, and the more “fun” research and the more “fun” parts of teaching (I’m lucky that I find all the stuff I teach fun, especially this semester that I’m not doing any teacher education classes and just the educational game design one – I love them both, but have personal reasons for focusing on undergrads these days).

And I’ve got this thing I committed to right after I finished my PhD. This thing. It’s a big thing. I really want to see this thing come to fruition. But this thing? It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be. And every time I sit down planning to start working on it, I get distracted by these other things. The more fun things. Also, the things that give me a quick adrenaline rush. They’re still work-ish. You know, fun in a nerdy-ish way 🙂  Edutainment-ish I guess. Good for my career, sometimes, but definitely good for my mind and soul.

I’m thinking now that maybe one of the reasons these other things capture my attention is because they’re social (and yes, Rheingold is right about the “distraction” aspect). It’s not just because they’re on social media which sends me notifications to distract me (I need to actually look at my iPad to see the notifications. Which I do, but which I can also avoid doing, like while I’m charging it). But it’s also something else: I guess I am energized by the interaction with other people. So that sort of makes the stuff more interesting.

I’m strange this way, because I’m hyper-social in real life and online, but I actually also value my solitude big time. Having a child makes me miss my solitude a lot. That’s why I love it when she goes to bed. Not because of how exhausted I am or because I have stuff to do (though both are often true), but because I want to be by myself. What I love about social media is that these friends won’t ever impose on me. They won’t bang on my door demanding I respond immediately (I think I do that to them, sometimes, though, bang on their twitter or whatever). ANYWAY.

OK. But this other “thing” (which shall not be named) also involves other people. Just not ones I’m talking to on social media right now. But they exist, they’re there, I know some of them f2f even. It’s just a lot of work. Well, it shouldn’t be a lot of work, but it’s… not as much fun. Darn, I need to work my brain real hard for it. I’m passionate about it and I so so so want to do it. But I’m right here wasting time blogging about it instead of actually “doing it”.

I’m guessing most academics do this to themselves.(over) commit themselves to something they thought they really wanted only to discover it’s a bigger commitment than they want to handle right now, and it’s a burden on my shoulders that I know will keep getting heavier…

I’d better stop and go get some of it done, then. Thanks for tuning in.

One Comment

  1. Hi Maha, do not answer this comment:-)

    What could you do that would be fun and distracting and meaningful and release you from the self-obligation that doesn’t fit your life right now?

    Your interacting with other people make YOU more interesting:-) We all know that and bait you with things we know you can’t resist–like children? I think you should try being more boring and I go off and pester Clarissa.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: