week two – still a professor

I am wrapping up my second week as a professor at Innovation U. This week was easier, in that I knew some things I didn’t before, like the bus schedule and my way around campus and where my kitchen implements are. It was harder in some ways too: Pea is back in Hilly Quirky City, it snowed literally every day, and I’m not as new anymore, so people are not as prone to dropping by to chat.  Running errands was surprisingly difficult, as I don’t know where the stores are, and then don’t know the buses well enough yet to time it all well.

On balance, though, it was a good week. I interviewed two more students (5 now, for a grand total of 0 actual prospects*). I arranged to meet with my ideal site for sampling, after many futile emails (finding the right person was the ticket). I went for beer with a colleague, and lunches with two others. I started a grant application. I learned I am not yet eligible for several other grant applications (Labmonkey in 2017 is going to be cross with current me, when these all land back on her desk). I went to the yoga studio down the road from my house and was pleasantly surprised by the no-nonsense approach of the instructor. I’ve got weekend plans to see several good friends in the area, and will go to an open house or two as well.

I had high hopes for my solitude weeks, where I would get so much done, and also work out so often, and eat really well and become a better person. I don’t know why I thought this would happen, as I am consistently less of a functioning human when living alone. I’m also very tired at the end of each day still, so when faced with the chance to push through some work on a paper, or think about a grant, I’ve been watching TV with tea and candy instead. I am ok with this, balance is important and if my brain says it needs to be mush, then mush it shall be.

I’m also not sleeping well, and this does need to change. I don’t know if it’s a new bed, new house, absent Pea, or just stress, but I have had a sore jaw from clenching it at night the past three days, and wake up tired despite a solid seven or more hours. I had an elaborate airport dream last night, which culminated in me being on a shuttle driving down the runway testing the wind so the pilot could make adjustments, following which I got back to the gate to discover I had lost my boarding pass. Airport dreams are my go-to when deeply stressed, which I find telling because I genuinely do not feel that stressed. Off kilter, and there is a lot still unknown, and I want to do well, but until this dream I didn’t fully realize where my baseline mental state was. More yoga, more sleep, more acknowledgment of my worries, and things will just get better as time passes.


* why students insist on applying to work with me when they do not have the grade requirements for the program or course is baffling. Four times now, FOUR!, I’ve had to break out the “I’m not in a position at this time to make exceptions, or to fight the department on your behalf”. I’m new, first hires are important, and grad school is hard. If they don’t have the requirements in hand, grad school will be that much harder. The one applicant I really liked has decided to go elsewhere (probably sensibly, as they wanted to get started soon and I have a post-apocalyptic lab space right now).

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