We're a little crazy, about science!

A mental health day

Today the fatigue of the past few weeks has finally caught up to me. With the adrenaline rush that came to a head from the presentation I did yesterday wearing off, I feel exhausted. So today I am taking some time to recharge and rethink what the next few months will look like. This is me taking a mental health day, but let’s talk about the events leading up to today and what the plan is, at least for today.

First the not so pretty news. My presentation went, but that’s about as much as I can say. It didn’t go well, despite my Co-PI reassuring me that I did great, I think my main PI will have the same opinion I do, it was not a strong showing. I knew that going in, I felt it before I started, and I was reassured after it was all over. The reasons are inconsequential to my main PI. The fact of the matter is I did badly and the worst part was I was asked to self assess how I thought I did in an email to my PI BEFORE he told me his thoughts.

I should clarify that I like my main PI, he’s super knowledgeable, he has a lot of talent, he has a ton of connections, and he’s done a lot for me. I don’t want people to think I’m speaking poorly of him, instead I just want to vent my frustration about the situation and to make people aware about the downside to having a PI who is so well connected. Namely he’s super busy! I appreciate the hands off approach, but I would like to have more feedback. Which is what I get from my Co-PI who is also super knowledgeable, but has more time to spend teaching me. Just something to keep in mind if you’re looking into PhD programs of your own!

Which leads me to the title of today’s post. I’m taking time to relax. I’m also using that time to reevaluate where I am and what steps I need to take. I’m about to do (in theory anyway) my PhD proposal defense sometime in January, but maybe in February depending on availability. My main PI last time I discussed it with him was on board with the whole idea. I’m not sure if he still feels that way or what his opinion is of where I am. There may be a disconnect because I’m more focused on the spine and his work focuses on the brain so what I’m actually learning and what he thinks I should be learning may not be the same. For that reason, my email evaluation also included a request to meet with him to discuss my progress and what needs to happen next.

Yeah today sounds like work and in some ways it is, but I’ve found over the years that the best way to reduce stress (for me anyway) is to know where I am, where I want to go, and to have a plan on how to get there. Today is the first day in weeks that I can look up and around to see where I am now and to plan a course forward. It’s a special kind of mental health day, not one where I just do nothing, but one where I take the time to take care of myself. Something I haven’t been able to do for a little bit now.

But enough about us, what about you?

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