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Sarah M Brown, PhD
almost 2 years ago
Academia can be lonely. I got that advice numerous times and heard people in other places compain about the solitary work and the challenges that follow from mthere. However at the beginning of grad school, I didn't understand. I was around people all the time, I didn't have space to be lonely. The grouop I was in did collaboratie science. Wihin just a few months, though, I was, in fact, lonely. I was around people, but completely isolated in other ways. I was generally the only american in the room, a lot. And defintiely the only us born woman. Never mind being underrepresented in the us on top of that and it was hard anand it was lonely and I don't think that i relaly learned to handle it well or to del with it.
Icant publish this, it's too rude. I think my lab mates are good people. Ilike many of them, but they often weren't very welcoming. Maybe I wasn't either. I just didn't like hangin out with them after awhile because i soculdnt get use to not being ablet o speak to wnyone. Ater a round of eers maybe on na good day we'd get through the secod round before english ceased to exit. one group spoke farsi, another spoke turkish, a third spanish or catalan and then there was me. I got sick of being in that envieornment and i just isolatedmyself off from mpeopl more nd more.
Over timem in gadute school, my friends form undergrad gradually moved away. I ahd no on, just my owrk and i was content for w awile i was productive and ig to used t manaingmy workload without a social life aat all and then when i scaled back my social life and work life in norder to finish i got omfotable i was happy and comfortable and productive in my realtionnship, but nothign else.
I had one person but no one else really deeply. I saw epople periodically and only randomly , occasionally. Not oftne at all. When i finsihed my phd i asumed i could pick up in nmy extra work, diversify and pick up a socail life too and then it all crashed. Over the firt six months of my post doc, I gradually crumbeld. I started with an illusiono of gettingn thigns donen and and of beingn a perrson. Iwa s takingn care of my self phycailly better than i had durig most of gkraduate school, but then exhauseted at night and on weekendes and anot doingn anything soca. I shad my relationship but evetuall even that was sufferingnw e wer suffocating won aothern. Now i hav hit what ihope is rock bottom. I have basically accomplished dnothing for the past two motnsh but i can get back on track tomorrow, I jsut need to get up and get at it and even if i dontn feel like the gym, i should get up and do some writingn in the morning, that will give me an early win. I eed to spend th emornign otuputting, not taking things in. I need to proceed more deeply and get back in to my booksin the mornignif i am goingn to take content in it needs to be depth contnent. I ned to separate from my phone overall. stickto boos for afew weeks. I think I should take deeper social media break and i should just read books and ishoulnd't een worry about news. It's ok to have nothing. No conenctionn to the outside workld and ujust go. I also kinda wnanna take some time and ge that deep thinking and taj. I jsut wan to get n a raina nd see how it goes maybe. to just experience and tr it and think about it andto ge tdeepingado what i cacn do and to think aouthow it can go.
Academia can belonely. In my post doc, i have somem collaboratie project sht aihave fallend behind on and no one notices and i hide in nmy office and don't know how to get that done at all. iahvet made any prgress on the thigns i talked to mike about in a month and i should jsut set that up and then taht owudl be the righ way to go. I dont ow what i have done iwth my time and i dont know if havingn he shrot deadlines wodl workd. i ham in a phase of storming i am breaking down and reformtin alog to bd habits all at oncec and my productivity has dropped, but i also dont ahve a good peer support network here. tomorrow i hope to work on the draft of what i think i would liek to submt to that owrkshop
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