1.6. WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO LIFE? 13 1.6 What Else Is There to Life? Well, more than you ever imagined. I have been a Professor now for thirty- four years, and my mother still thinks that all I do is teach. When I tell her that my teaching load is typically two courses per term, she wonders what I do with the rest of my time. I am tempted to say that I coach the football team. An academic mathematician is not a high school teacher. While teaching is a very important part of what you do, it is by no means the only thing. Measured by the number of hours you will put into it, teaching is well less than half of what you do. The rest of what you do is (i) research, (ii) exposition, (iii) departmen- tal administrative activities, (iv) University administrative activities, (v) service to the profession. In item (iii) I am including, of course, serving on committees and running programs, but also activities that relate to teaching, such as undergraduate advising. Which is important if you care about math majors and the program overall. In item (v) I include editing of journals, refereeing, service on national committees, attending national meetings such as the January joint meeting of the AMS/MAA. In item (iv) I include any- thing that the Dean or the Provost or even your Chair may ask you to do. In item (ii) I include survey articles, book reviews, textbook writing, and any of the other myriad writing activities that one may take on in this line of work. The life of an academic mathematician is rich and complex. You should read this entire book to get a palpable feeling for all its many dimensions. You must try to keep all the different components in perspective, and make some decisions about how to apportion your time. If you give all your time to teaching, then you will not be able to develop your research profile. If you give all your time to research, then your other activities will suffer. You want to be passionate about all the different aspects of your life, and you also want to give each its due.
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