28 September 2016

Fifteen rounds

There are fifteen rounds in a heavyweight boxing match.

There are fifteen weeks in a semester.

Today, I feel like that isn’t a coincidence.

Sometimes, a semester can feel like a boxing match. You know when it starts, know when it ends, you get a few breaks in the middle, and you just know that there are going to be a lot of punches thrown at you in between.

You hope that you can dodge out of the way of some of those punches.

But you cannot dodge them all.

You’re going to get tired, you’re going to lose your quickness, as the rounds wear on.

The difference between the two is that in teaching, you can’t win early. You have to go the full fifteen rounds. You can only win by judge’s decision, never by knockout.

You just hope that you have trained well enough make it to the last round. You just don’t want to throw in the towel...

Or be the one who goes down in an early round.

And I think there’s a risk both fighters and academics take. They can start to lose their form after too many of these encounters. It takes its toll.

I can’t recall the last time I felt so drained so early in the semester. We’ve barely been at this a month, and I’m already looking forward to the last round.

External links

Losing Your Way as a Scientist: How Not to Suck

Round card photo by leyla.a on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

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