Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pause

Do you ever have a list of things to do and find while trying to accomplish the things on this list that everything is taking waaaaay longer than it's supposed to? That's my life right now. One, prolonged, painful, stagnant list. Pretty much every day since last Thursday I've wanted to scream and pull my hair out while evaluating what I have to do weighed against what has already been done.

Last week I had a mid term in my one last final last class I have to take before graduating. The midterm was online and you could take it up to three times, and your final grade would be the best score out of the three attempts. I took it once and it took me an hour. After seeing my first score I decided I wanted to take it again knowing exactly the series of questions I missed. You see, the test questions weren't just on the lecture slides, they were also on the tidbits that were mentioned out loud and since I was too lazy to take notes the first time around, I listened to the streaming audio files of all the lectures on Saturday. Luckily class only meets weekly. And then I retook the test. Twice. I finally settled for a 95 (being somewhat of perfectionist, I didn't settle for the 90 I got after round two).

So I was expecting to maybe retake the test once on Saturday morning, but between re-listening to the lectures and taking the test twice, it wasn't until late Saturday night that I was able to close the books on this midterm. That meant losing all the alone time I had set aside for reading and relaxing while Deano was out with his friends that night.

Sunday had been reserved for working on my poster presentation for the conference coming up that Dr. Hari wanted to see on Tuesday morning. I thought I'd work on it a few hours Sunday and most the day Monday. I spent most the day on Sunday putzing with background, graphics, font, et cetera and then realized I know absolutely nothing about what I need to present. The presentation is based on work I did for a collaborator so it has nothing to do with my dissertation work. I have great results, but putting them into context with pre-existing knowledge within the community is an undertaking which I'd neglected to build into my planning.

On top of that, the dull headache I had for three weeks that I assumed was due to stress and allergies turned into room-spinning dizziness and intense throbbing. Rather than spending most the day Monday working on my poster presentation, I spent half the day at the freak show that is the walk-in clinic. It's embarrassing when your allergies are so prevalent and unpredictable that you don't realize when they've indeed morphed into a disgusting, festering sinus infection. And then you have to sit in a waiting room watching "Murder, She Wrote" reruns until it's your turn to spend 30 seconds with a doctor. I brought some literature so I could read up on what I'm supposed to present in two weeks, but little of it got read between the TV, the screaming kids and the "outdoor volume" cell phone conversations that were going on in the waiting room.

Needless to say my poster wasn't ready in time. It still isn't ready as every paper I read leads to more questions than answers. I also have the gargantuan task of updating my resume for this conference where I'm presenting and maybe buying something suitable to wear in front of potential employers. Sorry to have neglected you, dear blog buddies (not to mention my sad, attention starved husband). There will be a natural or self-imposed lull in the action eventually.

7 comments:

Hot4Teacha said...

Oh, hang in there baby, I feel ya! I know you'll do just fine and get everything done that is important. So the little stuff gets pushed aside for now...se la vie. I know how hard you work - you can do it!!

dr sardonicus said...

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. After taking last week off from blogland, I'm still feeling like I'm never going to get caught up.

Keep plugging - things are sure to work out for you!

Minnesotablue said...

It'll be over soon and then you and dean can maybe take a vacation. Yes, you always have been a perfectionist but that's not always a bad thing. Look where it got you!

Jeni said...

Seems like EVERYONE -coast to coast -is catching some kind of sinus infection/cold thing. My two little grandkids, their mother and I have all had a go-round with this for the past 7 weeks now. The two little ones and I have had a royal run with a nasty lingering cough from it. Hope they gave you some decent meds to help get over this thing. The rest will wait till you can think properly.
By the way - inspiration for that piece I posted -"A Drum Roll" - was that it actually happened to my stepgrandaughter and me. Kids paintballing the front of my house and apparently when the paint hit, it caused a kids drum set in the sunporch to reverberate - or else, it maybe was really my Mom's ghost.

e.b. said...

Um yes, yes I do know how that feels - that is my everyday! So good luck, it will all get done.

fermicat said...

Grad school can be overwhelming at times. Don't let it get you down. Do what you can. Don't forget to take care of yourself. We'll be here for you when you can come back!

Beth said...

I was coming to check on you, doing my weekly rounds, and am glad to see I'm not the only one being ignored.

No, seriously, I hope the lull comes soon. Congrats on that 95!