Thursday, May 10, 2007

Countdown to fieldwork

I am sick, but there is only two weeks left before I leave for a full summer of field activities so no time to wallow in self-pity and staying at home, but have to keep going at fast pace. There is so much to do before leaving and none of it are the kind of activities that will ever go on a CV. Sometimes I wish I was in a less field-oriented kind of science with some time, ever, to think and read and finish all those pesky manuscripts and conference presentations and half-baked ideas I have lying around. I have research ideas I want time to develop, especially one that already exists in a semi-finished manuscript, but needs serious refining and rethinking. I want time to think through how to present certain ideas in a light that will attract potential industry sponsors when I meet these at an upcoming conference. I want time to think about where my own career/ work situation is heading and how to get there (I've been spending so much time on doing annual reviews with everybody else, but haven't had the chance to talk to anyone about my own performance and goals). I need time to prep for teaching later this summer/ early fall and I want to do it well. I think teaching is seriously neglected in my field and often done in a boring and disengaging way. I want to make an effort to improve that pattern, and honestly to leave a good track record at the university that invites me to teach. I could come up with a million things I could do with my time that would make me feel like I was moving forward, being productive and using my postdoc time wisely, but in reality I will be packing mosquito repellent, sampling equipment and camping gear, making hotel reservations, reporting department finances, meeting with a group of journalists, writing up minutes from a meeting where I have taken responsibility for big institutional development thing.

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