This semester is nearly almost over. Not quite almost over, but… nearly. I’m into my third year – halfway through my PhD if all goes well – and I’m feeling it, as are my cohort-mates. I’ve been teaching and taking a class, as well as working with two undergrads in lab. (Who I love!) But it’s been really busy, and research has taken a back seat. I expected as much and planned for it, but I’m definitely looking forward to next semester: four months unencumbered by classes, wide open for labwork and writing and a little sampling trip to New York.
With all this in mind, on this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my grad school friends who keep me sane, and who I can help keep sane as well. We remind each other that it’s important to step back and remember that grad school is just a job. We love what we do (most of us, on most days…) and so it’s easy to dive headfirst into 60-hour workweeks and put on blinders towards the rest of life. So spending a weekend at Lake Michigan with a dozen grad students, getting out of Ann Arbor and hunkering down in the snow for a couple days without work, was a welcome retreat and reminder of how important work-life balance is.
I’m sitting in a hotel in Pittsburgh looking out at the bridges and cold rivers, getting ready to spend two days with my family. I’m relaxed and with people I love, and that’s more important than any deadline.
PS. Is it weird that we still celebrate Thanksgiving? It’s basically the arrival of genocide and disease and imperialism… but… pie! Anyway.