11 November 2010


The past few days have been very busy. I am teaching, taking a class, and running experiments on two different locations. Usually, I just run experiments on one lab in one building, once a week (because there are undergraduate RAs that do it for us, and us grad students just fill the gaps), but this week and the last, I am running another experiment for another research project that I am a part of.

And because of this, I am interacting with an average of 5 different strangers every day, and that takes about 30 minutes per person. And being the introvert that I am, it just takes a lot of effort to interact with a totally new person for 30 minutes. Enough effort that at the end of the day, I feel so exhausted and my energy all sapped out, that I just want to cocoon myself from the rest of the world, either by plugging in my earphones and listening to music, or by reading a book in bed.

Unfortunately, I guess my exhaustive behavior doesn't go well with my other friends. I guess I may have been acting weird, in their point of view at least, acting like a moronic anti-social. This would potentially be problematic, because my friends cannot really delve into my head to know what really is happening, so they just misinterpret things and react malefactively.

See, the thing is, it is not the case that I do not enjoy what I am doing. I like running experiments. I like conducting these experiments on other people. I like every facet of it. From the initial part of explaining the informed consent process, to the debriefing session, I like those. If I were employed in a research lab and all I would do is recruit participants and conduct experiments on them, I would not mind that. However, in this case, I still have other responsibilities to attend to. I have to write a dissertation, I have to teach a class. I have to present a paper in a class I am taking. So there are plenty of things to do.

Not that I cannot manage my time well. Actually, I am good at it, if I may be permitted to brag. I have a lot of things going on, and yet I somehow manage to do them all, without pulling any all-nighters or something like that. In fact, in my 5 years of being a graduate student here, I have never pulled an all-nighter at all, not one bit. The only time I pulled an all-nighter was actually in undergrad, because my sister needed the computer too, and so we shared the night: she used it from evening until around 1 AM, and I used it after her until the wee hours of the morning.

Anyway, I am not saying that I don't like what I am doing right now. It's just that it can be tiring sometimes, and because of fatigue, one does things that are usually not done, and one acts in a way that is out of rhythm and sync. These are the times when all I would want is a secluded place where I can be just by myself, with a book. That would be perfect.

(In Between Rocks, from my Q'enqo Series)


  1. I was pretty introvert before I started teaching. It was so hard for me at first to discuss about nothing and everything with a strangers or worst, strangers!

    I got better at it and eventually was grateful or my teaching experience for that.

  2. Zhu,

    Ah yes. Teaching a class can be a little intimidating at times. I teach a class of 80 students, and it's actually easier that way because even though there's a lot of them, it's the same group of people for the next 15 weeks. But with experiments, it's a different set of people every day!