I just turned in my grades for a freaking crazy semester. Everything about this semester was crazy. And depressing. There have been highlights (mainly around the new family life) and lowlights (mainly around my department getting on every one of my nerves). My lab hasn’t ground to a halt, but the productivity has been slow enough where I’m going to miss a grant cycle. I’m not so upset about it because I wanted to slow down a little anyway, but this is maybe too much.
I collaborate with several physicians in my neighboring medical center. The same medical center that has been getting overwhelmed to a crazy degree with sick patients. A month ago they cut off all research there that doesn’t involve cells, animals, etc. We have animal models there, but our last one was sacrificed last month. Fixed tissue from the animal was saved there, which we can’t access now. Couple this with all kinds of special restrictions for who can be in the lab and the scheduling involved and I just decided this isn’t worth it. So I told all the students that if they want to come in, I will do all the scheduling, but otherwise I highly advised them to go home, stay home, avoid gatherings, and not to come back until the 11th. If they want to chat science (or anything else) with me, I’m always here for them, but I want to shut this stuff down and give everyone some time to catch up on hobbies, distance time with friends, and personal health.
I usually have a Christmas BBQ for the students that don’t go home and/or want some free food. I will miss that. Likewise, Christmas season usually has an air of happiness around it, and this season has been drab, to say the least. Taking time off might not bring back the pep in the Christmas season, but it at least gives some time to clear the mind. Like a lot of us, there’s been a lot on my mind, the schedule has been crazy with added teaching duties, and trying to navigate an ever-changing set of rules has been wearing a lot of us down. I hope everyone out there gets a chance to take a lot of time off to focus on the things that matter the most to them. I will be doing a little grant planning, taking the family out on drives to secluded hikes with my SO and the lil one, reading, catching up on hobbies, and sleeping as much as I’m allowed to. Have a great break, and to all a good night!