(dis)organization

Willb/ July 5, 2019/ personal, research log/ 0 comments

on workflow and production in my limited research experience.

i’ve been thinking today (day two of a four day holiday weekend) about my process. since attending amherst i’ve struggled a lot with schoolwork; mental health being my largest hurdle. after 1½ go rounds doing summer research, interspersed with a part-time research job in the same lab during the school year, i’ve found labwork more fulfilling, engaging, and (i thought) less draining than schoolwork.

during the school year, i soak up my freetime like a sponge. every moment laying in my bed, numbing my brain with the soft lights of my switch console, reading for pleasure, or listening to podcasts was a moment of pure respite from the constant pressure of school, money, obligation, and future.

i started this summer off pretty strong; i woke up early, listening to my audiobook(s) as I would do light yoga, or visit the gym, before heading into work, leaving at 5:00, and sleeping soon after. recently though, i’ve slipped back into some old habits; staying up too late, scrolling rather than page turning, finding myself aimless and disinterested in nearly everything on my days off. part of it is just a slump, they happen. but in that slump i worry i’ve dragged some of my schoolwork mentality into my job, and writing this i’m attempting to parse out how to course correct.

within a capitalist context wage labor will always induce alienation. the purpose of this entry is renavigating that alienating factor of wage labor in order to lessen the crushing desultory emptiness i struggle with during the school year. what happened this week to prompt a relapse into that mode of labor, and what are some things i can do to structure my lab work away (however slightly) from that mode of labor. how can i work without sacrificing the all of the energy i need to want to read, or bead, etc in my off time?

set your goals seriously, but not literally. that is, make sure you set your goals with the intention of accomplishing them, but understand that the path you take, the outcome, the end product will look entirely different than the goal might have you believe.

go to bed earlier, have a book on hand. take notes during meetings, keep asking questions, and keep work at work. i think a big problem during the school year is that i do all my work in my room, which my brain has already contextualized as a comfort place.

taking electronic notes doesn’t work for you, keep using the pen and paper.

take a deep breath, turn off the noise when you need to relax, and let yourself return to existing at your own pace. there’s still a way to go, and disorganized is better than nothing at all.

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About willb

I'm Will, an undergraduate astronomer studying transition disks, direct imaging, and planet accretion and formation at the Follette Lab at Amherst College. I use they/them/theirs pronouns.

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