At its best, conferencing is both draining and stressful. It’s also wonderful, horizon-broadening, and fun; but we cannot forget the fact that it involves many particulars which can be disruptive to the life of an average graduate student.
I love to travel and flying is a special treat. It’s probably good that I chose a profession which allows me to do so on a regular basis (since I’ve been in the PhD I’ve averaged about 2.5 trips a year for various things). That said, it always takes me a night to adjust to sleeping in a bed that’s not my own in a city that’s not my own away from my schedule, desk, library books, and on the whole away from my life.
It can be very unsettling to attend a conference when your life is bustling and the things
you’re flying away from to spend a few days in an actual manifestation of the ivory tower are large and stressful.
Which is probably why I’m having such a hard time this week. I’ve so far managed to recover from every little blunder (forgetting my iPad at home, nearly missing meetings, making minor scheduling errors which could have huge rippling effects on certain committees I’m chairing, etc.) The worst part? It’s only Tuesday. I have plenty of time to make all kinds of crazy mistakes which could impact my future as I know it.
I’m trying to be methodical to head off any chance of large error; my paper is already printed, I’ve done the majority of my packing, my packing list is composed, I’m creating my usual conference redundancies (kits to deal with paper loss, bad breathe, bleeding, spills, etc.). Despite this, I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m going to forget something and that something is going to be vital to my future as an academic.
I leave for Baltimore tomorrow. If you’re at the Comparative Drama Conference, feel free to say hi and ask me if I’ve remembered my pants. At this rate, there’s the very real possibility that I might be living that particular anxiety dream.