Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Choices We Make

It's been a relatively quiet week after the flurry of excitement that was a week ago. I had a bit of a panicked weekend, as happens every now and again, when I became really anxious about getting things done. The latest stressor is the publishable chapter I have to write for a class this semester. My adviser is teaching a class on "Artifact Analysis," the whole point of which is to finish the chapter on the weaving implements from the same site my beads were from. But because too many people signed up for the class to work on just the weaving implements, we divided into "squads" and I am essentially in charge of the weaving implements team. The trouble is, trying to find a time when four busy people with incredibly different lifestyles can meet to even begin to decide how to do this project is impossible. And I'm concerned that the rest of my group isn't taking this as seriously as I am, considering this to be the same as a project or paper they'd write for any other class. I, however, take the responsibility of this much more seriously. Not only will our names be attached to this thing for all time, but people's impressions of the site and of this body of material will be strongly colored by the interpretation we give to it this semester. It took me almost a year to finish the beads chapter. Becoming familiar with the extant scholarship and the assemblage of finds, not to mention organizing and writing it all up, takes a significant amount of time. How we will accomplish that in a mere 2 1/2 months is beyond me, especially when we can barely find a time to meet. And because I am the graduate student in the group, as well as being the person that I am, I'm afraid all that responsibility will fall to me. It will require major effort on my part anyway to trust other people and not totally control the project.

Anyway, all that responsibility came down on my head Friday afternoon, and I spent just about all weekend finishing up the beads paper before I submitted it this morning. Only about a quarter of that time was on my part - the rest was dealing with an extant manuscript about the stone beads that had incomplete citations, notes instead of sentences, and incorrect information. Fun times.

It was unfortunate that this work compunction came about in the midst of a weekend with a lot of other activities. I missed several events because I was working. And while this isn't totally unusual or unprecedented, excepting major events for which I plan ahead to take the entire day "off", it seemed harder and more isolating this time around. Maybe it's because I thought this semester would be lighter. Maybe it's because now that I'm into a PhD program, I'm less focused and motivated. Maybe, just maybe, it's because deep down inside somewhere, I prefer my work to my social life, but refusing 3-4 invitations in succession because "I have to work" starts to seem like hiding after awhile.

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