Gnostic utterings for academics

For a period of years, my friend Gwen Knighton had entries in her blog she called gnostic utterings, which were comments about the world prompted by some-distance-removed events, and to which she appended the warning, “If you think this is about you, you are probably wrong.” Each entry was a collection of statements she did not utter to the people who deserved them. In a different way, Matt Reed is especially good at describing higher-ed issues at some remove, either by time or circumstance, and discussing the general principles at heart. I am far less efficient in time management, and so I will be stealing the privacy-preserving distance of both Knighton and Reed, and the aphorism-length quality of Knighton’s entries.

Warning: If you think your own actions motivated my writing an item, you are probably wrong. But these are still true.

  • Find a time to celebrate before you charge up the next mountain.
  • You are fretting about a process that inevitably invites fretting. You’re normal.
  • You are struggling with what requires struggling.
  • Give yourself a night or two to sleep on the problem. Then move ahead, because you can’t build the rest of your life on facial tissue.
  • Most of your students did not follow your path to the classroom. They probably need something different from what helped you thrive.
  • You are exceeding my 10:1 reality:buzzword limit. Inject more reality or delete buzzwords.
  • Making more foolish decisions will not get you out of your current hole. You are not a small country, and foolish decisions are not a currency.
  • Yes, yes, your enemies are conspiring against you. So what did you do to bring you to this moment?
  • An effective group is not the same thing as an echo chamber.
  • If you successfully put that target on your enemy’s back, no one else competent may want the position.