Random Bits of Spring

Is it just me, or is everyone’s spring semester more difficult than the fall?

Every so often, and for some reason the spring occurrences seem more memorable, I fall into this relentless work vortex. And it’s hard to tell what it is that I do that’s so much more ominous or voluminous than usual. Just… Work.

* This year, we are having multiple searches and I am on the search committee, so that was a ton of extra work and all the meetings with candidates have started and I can’t wait for them to stop. These are all great young people, but I think I am getting seriously peopled out. Between last year’s search and the current one, I am depleting all my reserves of good spirit as well as my container of small-talk magic dust.

* In the academic blogosphere, we often write about manuscript review: how frequently we review, for which journals, how we are as referees, society-level journals versus GlamourMagz, editorial practices… I review about a paper per week and I have, as of a couple of years ago, restricted myself to the journals where I am likely to submit my own work or have done it in the past. There are a few exceptions: I am an associate editor for a specialized journal, so I review submissions as editor as well as a referee, and I review when friends who are associate editors somewhere ask me, even if I would not normally submit to their journal.

But, at least in my field, there are other things to review, and they do add up to a considerable service load. For some reason, they are all in the spring. There are proposal reviews and panels. I will receive a nice small honorarium for some recent proposal reviews I did, which will cover my eldest offspring’s unexpectedly expensive glasses. But then there are many conferences happening in the summer, which means that abstracts are being reviewed pretty much today (in my field, the so-called extended abstract format, with one page text and one page figures, is the norm). This year I am on three program committees — one is the main conference for my specialty, so that one I would not miss; the other two are very close to my specialty and people who are friends are organizing them, so I kind of felt obligated to say yes. Half the time (or more?) I am the only woman on these committees; I wonder if they all search their mental hard drives until they think of one woman (me) and are relieved when I accept, or is it the less likely scenario where my sheer awesomeness brings me to the forefront of everyone’s mind regardless of my gender. Does everyone still seem to believe “0 women — bad, 1 woman — underrepresentation problem solved”?

(I dozed off in the middle of writing this post… So much for action-packed writing.)

* On Friday of last week, within a few hours of one another, I received a revise-and-resubmit on a paper, plus two new drafts (one from a student, another from a collaborator) that needed to be turned around quickly. My first impulse was to flee, go home early and just engage in something entirely mindless. Every freakin’ Teletubbies would have worked. (I am lying, they wouldn’t have. I hate them with a passion.) But sometimes you just get overwhelmed and sticking head in the sand starts looking really, really good.

* I need to plan some equipment purchase, and next year several grants are expiring, so I need to maximize chances to do good work now but also leave some rainy-day money in case grants don’t come in or are delayed… The what-if planning is causing me a lot of anxiety these days.

* Spouse and I started watching True Detective. It’s a really great show, highly recommended.

* Here are some new and not-so-new blogs to check out, go over and say hi:

Waving and Drowning in Academia — an academic physical scientist at a primarily undergrad institution, grumpy and funny

Funny Researcher — go say hi, he’s a brand new assistant prof in a life science field

Clarissa’s Blog — a professor of Spanish language and literature, writing about academia, feminism, politics

JaneB — a British academic and an academic blogosphere veteran

Academomia — one of my all time favorite mommy blogs. I only lurk there; Becca, the author, posts pics of her beautiful family and all the fun they have. They all look so relaxed and happy

Wandering Scientist — Cloud is a manager in biotech, and a working mom in a dual-career marriage

Gasstationwithoupumps — a UC engineering prof, blogs on different aspects of STEM education

Love, Joy, Feminism — Libby Ann grew up in an evangelical family, but characterizes herself now as “a feminist, a progressive, and a nonbeliever.” This is the about page

Good Math, Bad Math — MarkCC moved to a new place. Here’s a sample. He writes about technical stuff extremely well

Feel free to drop links to interesting blogs in the comments. See you when the snow melts/work vortex lets up/I catch up on sleep or dishes/we move clocks again. Whatever comes first… Or was it last?

One comment

  1. don’t know how you do so much work, but you are awesome, get some rest and fun time for yourself in a beach in Florida!!!

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