The holiday season is always in interesting time for academics. On the one hand, we have a break from classes for a few weeks — this year is longer than most due to shortened COVID semesters — and we need it for working on syllabi for the next semester and dealing with all the fall-out of the previous one. We also enjoy having a little time with family. This year, it’s a little different, too, as we (along with many others) are staying home for Christmas and not doing our usual holiday travel, though we’ll all gather on Zoom at some point.
For me, the holidays always mean a change in jobs, as I transition from academic to publisher and warehouse manager. My college office transforms into a shipping department (of one) for sending out copies of the two magazines published by our MFA program, Poetry South and Ponder Review.
This means downloading all the contributors and subscriptions for each magazine from Submittable and creating a spreadsheet with their addresses, so I can mail merge them to labels, indicate the number of copies, and then start stuffing hundreds of envelopes. These get sorted, addressed, and taken to the post office. International shipments take the extra step of customs forms. In a few days, all are taken to the post office, and I can clean up the mess in my office — the one step I haven’t gotten to.
It’s a fun change of pace, and it’s nice to send people the product of our labors. Now I can turn back to reading submissions, contacting students to make sure they’ve signed up for classes, reviewing enrollments, and working on my syllabi. And there’ll be time for eggnog, presents, and all the other holiday fun, even if some of it will be different this year.