The Importance of Play

BlogHer Original Post

In academia, it's too easy to allow your life to become completely dominated by your work responsibilities. Employment in the ivory tower rarely calls for standard eight-hour days. Instead, most of us take some kind of work home with us, completely blurring the line between our work and our other lives.

In fact, as academics we frequently do not have other lives: we witness everything through our particular disciplinary lens. It's important, therefore, that in our lives off campus we pursue our passions because our extracurricular activities tend to inspire our future research. In other words, we need to maintain a sense of play.

This desire to play, to escape the strictures of academic life and maintain a capacity for wonder, becomes apparent in an exploration of the academic blogosphere. When I attended a recent Creative Memories sales pitch, for example, I became fascinated by the intersection of scrapbooking and feminism. I'm not the only one with such compulsions. Here are some of my recent posts that also illustrate this phenomenon:

Jess at Bee Policy talks shop while relaxing at the bar and spends spare moments wondering if zombies really might exist.

Other academics record the quirky details of their everyday lives, details that reinforce the extent to which our lives as academics permeate every corner of our existence. Missscarlet shares an instant messaging exchange. An excerpt:

grimefan: hang on - also chatting with one of my students
grimefan: she asked me for my contact after class
missscarlet: ???
grimefan: she's really cool
missscarlet: don't be that guy
grimefan: good head on her shoulders
missscarlet: don't be that guy
grimefan: i can talk to her not like a student but a friend
missscarlet: dude!
grimefan: aw
missscarlet: back away from the student

Meanwhile, Kat at dotdotdot continues her Spy Pigeon saga.

Tara of Aetiology teaches microbiology to preschoolers.

Another Damned Medievalist at Blogenspiel summons William Shatner into the medieval classroom.

Angry Professor at A Gentleman's C provides a list of recent search engine queries that brought people to her blog, including the gem "how many ph.d.s are their?"

Finally, PowerProf of Just Tenured provides her own reflections on balancing work and play.

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