23 March 2007

Coming up for air for a few seconds

It was not surprising that week kicked my butt. But even when you're expecting it, the soreness is never diminished much.

The week bit at me for three reasons. First, last week was the break, and suddenly there's all the catch-up that has to happen on things I couldn't do because... nobody was around.

Second, I'm spending a lot of time trying to get the new undergrad research program up and running. Meetings, recruiting, talking to interested students, updating the webpage, and just trying to think about all the things that still have to happen for everything to start on cue.

Third, and arguably the biggest, was that I had a writing deadline to meet yesterday. I was co-authoring a book review with my colleague Anita Davelos Baines for Behavioral and Brain Sciences (which was where I'd published one of my first articles as a grad student). Due to the combination of finally receiving word on the grant plus my general lack of willpower and concentration, the review was not as far along in the writing as I was hoping for on Thursday morning. I was going a little nuts inside my office on Thursday, trying to finish this short article -- and people kept knocking on my door! Gah!

It is said that no work of art is ever finished; merely abandoned. While I don't pretend the review was a work of art, I definitely felt it was abandoned rather than finished. I am satisfied with it, although I really wish that I had more time to think about some issues, discuss them with my colleagues, and polish the writing a bit.

It was pushing close to midnight when I emailed the final review. I felt like the stereotypical student, sliding the term paper under the professor's door before midnight. Some habits die hard. Others never die at all.

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