Another Visit to JYU

February is already over halfway done, and I have one more deadline to meet before I can take just a small breather for a few days. I sent in a revised version of a long-time-coming article at the beginning of the month and still have until the end of the month to tinker with this book chapter thing I’m writing. In between, me and some of my colleagues from Vaasa did another seminar trip to University of Jyväskylä (aka JYU) to meet up with our English Studies colleagues there.

I made this into an overnight trip because I also participated in a writing workshop the day before our English Studies seminar. The idea with the writing workshop was that everyone brings with them a piece of text that they’ve been working on and get feedback from the other participants. We had, of course, disseminated the texts between us before the actual workshop so that there was time to read them and make comments.

Overall, I though the workshop was a nice event. Very informal and relaxed yet the feedback was mostly very much to the point. I brought in a very short piece of text and didn’t perhaps get quite as much good feedback as some other participants but that was purely my own fault, and even that feedback was useful. We’re planning to have another workshop in June to coincide with our next seminar, so if I’m going again, I’ll bring another type of text, something a bit more ambitious.

In the English Studies seminar the following day, we discussed general matters and also did a workshop where everyone was supposed to bring with them a small sample of something that they’re working on and having some trouble with. I brought this duo of books below.

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My idea in bringing them was that, as I said in the last post, I’ve been thinking about participating in the EASLCE essay competition this spring, and my idea was that I could do a reading of Michelle Paver’s novel Into Thin Air, and use Hubert Zapf’s Literature as Cultural Ecology (see my review of it here), and especially Zapf’s “Triadic Functional Model of Literature,” as my theoretical and methodological starting point.

I have a clear(ish) idea in my head about what I could do with this pair of books, but there’s also a much more problematic issue of first deciding whether I actually have the time to participate in this competition or whether I should just stick to my original research plan. If I did participate, it could potentially delay my graduation, or, if it didn’t, then I might have to push back another article project that I’d actually like to get started with already.

I can’t really decide what I should do. On the one hand, this is a positive problem, but on the other hand, I feel strangely uneasy with the decision. Maybe just skip the comp and play it safe? Or, take a chance and risk delaying the dissertation and getting way stressed, in the hopes that it might be a good career move in the end? Or something in between, or something else that I haven’t considered yet? Or, maybe I’m just overthinking it, or…

Well anyway, the English Studies seminar was a good one, and I’m looking forward to the next meeting in June. I would assume that I’m going there once or twice before that, too, to keep in touch with my colleagues there, and to attend some of their interesting events. The people there are really nice,  so it’s always been fun going there.

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Got in an ice climbing day trip to Helvetinjärvi (Hell Lake in English) the same week as the trip to Jyväskylä.

I’m also doing some more macro level thinking on where my so-called career is going in the years to come. There are open announcements for positions to work as an English Teacher at University of Vaasa available now, but then I’m also thinking about possible postdoc things and whether I should pursue a full-time research career or focus more on teaching. It’s not a clear-cut case, really. On one level, it would be a dream-come-true if I landed a regular job as an English teacher. After all, that was the plan when I resigned from my previous job and got back into academia. Then again, if I even were lucky enough to land that job, would I still be able to develop as a researcher? And what would my career plan then be? If I then wanted to apply to a postdoc position abroad, would it be possible? Probably not? Then again, do I even want to apply for a postdoc? I do, after all, have a family here where I live, and even though I would of course try to arrange things so that I wouldn’t have to spend too much time away from them, it’s still a big (even though temporary) sacrifice to make.

I should probably just focus more on getting the damn dissertation done before I think ahead this far, but just wanted to share the current thought process in this pretty unfiltered form anyway.

Featured image: I got to do a couple of days of skiing on the Jyväskylä trip, and this compilation pic is taken from the, ahem, summit, of Laajavuori, the highest, ahem, mountain, in Jyväskylä. The night shot above shows the, ahem, metropolis of Jyväskylä, and the morning shot below shows the area in the opposite direction where there be dragons.

 

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