Tired and stuff

I never wanted to be someone who just stays at home under the reasoning of ‘the kids’. I have friends that have done this, and it just never sat well with me. No judgment on them, it just doesn’t mesh with how I like to do things. I’ve been trying to get out and not miss out on much with my service or research (teaching is excused this semester), but I’m beginning to just be too tired to do it. At the same time, I hate being cooped up. Also, I’ve been told I shouldn’t drink coffee. So I was just powering through all the tiredness, and I’m certain I look worse for wear because of it. At a recent service outreach event, I was able to bring the energy for the hour, but when I was driving home I had to pull over because I was so tired. Now, a new doctor said it’s fine to drink coffee. I have had a fair amount of physiology training so I assumed it was okay, but then when I was told it wasn’t I just followed blindly. Now, a couple cups a day has made a world of difference. I’m still a little too emotionally exhausted to do a lot, but it’s making a big difference. So I haven’t become the ‘I can’t go out because of the kids’ person, but it’s incredibly tempting.

One of my better students is preparing to graduate. I just finished markups on their dissertation. It took a long time because of the tired. Also, it took a long time because I look at their body of work and just keep thinking, “how the heck am I going to replace this student?”. They are heavily responsible for some big grants I brought in. I go through this every time a strong student prepares to leave, and I don’t think I’ll ever get over this. In industry, when people left I never felt this way. I would wish them well, put out a job posting, then work would slow, but always recover. They were relatively interchangeable. I don’t know why this is different. I trained up both the industry employees and my students, spent just as much time with them, and I don’t see the difference other than my internal panic. I’ve gone through this before, and I’ve written about this before, I just don’t have the energy right now to train another student. The gas is running low.

3 thoughts on “Tired and stuff

  1. Ugh, yes, keeping the pipeline going in the midst of parental leave *is* draining. It takes time and energy to train up new students, and even if you enjoy it, sometimes you just don’t have the time and energy to spare when kids are so little and draining. I’m facing the same thing on the other end — I lost a bunch of good people over the last year, and now have basically all newbies. And since I don’t have PhD students, the cycle happens faster for me, but it’s more daunting coming back from parental leave (now with TWO kids who seem to be in cahoots to keep me from ever sleeping!). You can do it — and you will have good students again!

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    • If you weren’t doing it, I would believe it’s not humanly possible. The panic attacked every couple years plus the two that are obviously plotting against you would be the end of me. I process change okay, but the stochastic nature of kids in combination with ensuring you’re getting the maximum output from students would wreck me.

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      • I think the answer is that you don’t get the maximum output from students, unfortunately. Some students step up to the challenge, and those students ultimately learn some good skills from maximizing their time with me and becoming more independent when they’re not available. But then there are the other students…

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