Wednesday, January 16, 2008

a little steamrollered...

I think Quarters have a tendency to behave like the bookends of March - either lamb-like and midquarter crunch sneaks up before you know it or lion-like. Or, as with this quarter, it's like staring down one of these:

Monday night I found out I can have time on the science machine at Caltech this weekend, which meant a dramatic overhaul of my week to be ready with four days worth of samples by Thursday night. Monday night I also read a piece called "Women in Science," which basically offers up an alternate reason for why there aren't so many women in science. But if you are also a grad student, don't read it before bed. I had trouble sleeping. Anyway, the collision of these two events (trying to rearrange my life for the week with the little nagging doubts of my current path in life brought to the front) made me feel, well, I felt a little sorry for myself. On the bright side, I did see an incredible shooting star that seemed brighter than Venus and took at least 30 seconds to cross the sky [gross exaggeration: it was really only 20] on the midnight ride home. That helped.

Thing is, it doesn't seem like it should feel so taxing, but I think the root is that, while I'm grateful for the time, I have to mentally gear up for these trips. I really don't look forward to 14-hour days in the lab with no human interaction. For four days. The hard part here is the lack of interaction as opposed to the long days. My phone takes a pretty heavy hit on these trips. I never realized how much I need some kind of human interaction in the course of a day until grad school.

Related to this, I want to make a shameless plug for a book I read over break called "The Female Brain." No, it isn't a cheezy pop-psychology book. It frames a lot of the different aspects of women's lives in the various chemical and hormonal concoctions going on in our brains. I was really surprised at how much I liked this book. Thanks Sarah! So, if you're a woman, you should read it. If you're not a woman, but like women, interact with women, can't hide from women, you should read it. I hear walking around with this book is a pretty good chick magnet too.....

2 comments:

Michaeleen said...

OK, that Women in Science article is depressing. I am not even pursuing a PhD and I want to scream out for all of my friends (of both genders, incidentally) who are!

kes said...

Yeah, my housemate Patrik and I had the same reaction; it made both of us feel sort of stupid for still being in this, and that started the late evening brain cranking on what else to do with my life, which made it hard to fall asleep. Whoops!