The summer has only just begun for my son (who starts 5th grade next fall), but I feel like my summer ‘vacation’ is already over.
Summers are hard when you’re an academic in a science that involves field work. Summer vacations – family time – are often lost to the necessity of travel to distant places that aren’t accessible at other times of the year. Then, as soon as you get back, it’s time to buckle down and prepare for the fall semester. No vacation for me.
This year has been just a little more stressful than usual in that regard. In a week and a half, I’ll be leaving for a month-long tour of Wyoming and Utah, including planned visits to three different fossil localities as part of three totally different research projects.
Add to that the fact that the last month I have been buckled down working on yet another project that’s involved some pretty taxing lab work, including working with hydrofluoric acid.
— Penny Higgins (@paleololigo) July 1, 2014
And then there’s that grant proposal that I’ve been working on. (Thankfully, in just the last 24 hours that got postponed.)
I haven’t been able to take many days off to let my mind decompress.
Now, it’s a matter of getting all my field gear together, learning a few new skills prior to departure, and tying up loose research and laboratory ends so I can disappear for a month. A week and a half. Crap. That’s not very long. I hope I can do it. I hope my truck is back on the road in time…
Once in the field, it should be pretty relaxing… only that I’ll be in charge of three undergraduate field assistants, and then there’s that time when there will be ten of us in the field and, gee, I’m the leader of that brigade.
I know the stress has been getting to me. I didn’t realize just how much until last night I dreamed about just wanting a break and hiding out in my bedroom so that people would just leave me alone.
I’ve gotten out of the swing of blogging daily, which makes me sad. This month, I’m going to come back to it. Much of what I post will be about my research and preparations for the field. Then, once in the field, I’ll be blogging daily about the day’s adventures.
I hope you all enjoy what I’ll be writing. Maybe pass on some encouragement along the way. And questions. Questions, too. I like answering questions.