Leavin’ to study

There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line.” – Closer To Fine, Indigo Girls

As of September 1st, I’m fortunate enough to be taking my first study leave (i.e. sabbatical, research leave). I’ll be gone for a full year. This is a benefit that librarians at Ryerson only had afforded to them a few contracts ago and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the support of my administration and colleagues to enjoy the greatest perk I could ever want – time.

I’ve got a few projects up my sleeve to keep me busy. I thrive on routine, so a year of unstructured time ahead of me is actually a little bit terrifying. Here’s a taste of what I’ll be up to:

1. Little Free Libraries and Why I Inherently Dislike Them

This will be my main squeeze. Ever since the LFL “movement” became a media darling a couple years ago, there’s been something that irritates the heck out of me about them. I’ve got a few hypotheses about why that is, and I’m going to explore them a bit more empirically. I’m going to learn how to map socio-economic data and see what’s what in the neighbourhoods where they are most prevalent. I’ll do a discourse analysis of the media coverage of them. And, like any good researcher, I’m going to get up close and personal to my subject and run one myself. I’ll be blogging that project, so if you’re interested, stay tuned! Hoping to get a publication out of this one as well.

2. I’m taking a course! A real live course!

I haven’t taken an actual course since I graduated and swore off formal education forever. Another amazing benefit of working at Ryerson is free tuition, so I shall also avail myself of that and am enrolling in the introductory course on Mad Studies. We’ve started working closely with the Disability Studies department with exploring Special Collections in this area, and I’d like to get more grounded in their approach to activism and research. Figured it was a good start (also, super interesting).

3. Self-guided study

I’m going to read. I’m going to listen to audiobooks. I’m going to tinker with technology. All of the theories and philosophers whose names get bandied about so casually by people I work with and admire – I’m going to get a base level of knowledge of what the heck they are talking about. Or, I’m going to try anyway.

4. I’m going to be a mom and a wife

Last, but not least, I’m going to turn my attention toward my family. I went pretty hard at this whole work thing when I got back after mat leave. I don’t regret a thing, but I am most certainly intent on dialling things back a bit now that my son is developing permanent memory. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a work trip planned. It feels good. I’m going to walk my boy to school everyday, and be there to pick him up. I’m going to do little things to make my husband’s days a bit easier, just as he’s done for me. As a family, we are goinjournalg to take it easy and live the good life for a while.

I bought this journal while I was in Portland. I’m hoping to fill it up with all of the thoughts I’ve got time to think, and with any luck, by the end of it, I’ll be a bit smarter, a lot more rested, and ready to tackle whatever the next chapter in my career might be when I get back to the grind … whatever that may entail.

2 thoughts on “Leavin’ to study

  1. Maryann Kempthorne (@maryakem)

    I am very excited for you for this leave. I see so many things I hope I can spy on from this shore. Do enjoy JS. DO remember there is no report card when you are done. Thank you for all you are prepared to share (and good luck with the secret missions and moments these 365 days will offer) You know I send the very best for your family.. and will add TOTALLY identify with the “so a year of unstructured time ahead of me is actually a little bit terrifying.”…. I’m going to put into my daily structure.. Listen to the Amelie Soundtrack and check on JS. Much admiration and many hopes for you and yours… From the woman who puts the “Bat” in SabBATical here on the West Coast. https://youtu.be/Ciqf8yMVzAk


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