Monday, January 18, 2016

Conference Successes and Pre-Semester Thoughts

I got back from the conference last night. This trip has been on my calendar for several months, but as it approached I was getting more and more freaked out about the whole thing. I hate traveling—especially in winter (you guys remember my overnight airport fiasco last year?)—and I was nervous about my presentation, nervous about schmoozing with professors and having to be "on" all weekend, etc. etc. etc. But overall the weekend was a SUCCESS and I had way more fun than I expected.

Rocky start, though: my flight left at 5:20 a.m. on Thursday so my cab came at 4:00 (IT WAS AWFUL). I had tried to go to bed early the night before but couldn't sleep...probably got about 2 hours of shut-eye total, and was a complete wreck the whole day. My anxiety spiked to the worst it's been since I started taking Celexa a couple months ago. I was just freaking the fuck out about random stuff that had nothing to do with anything. Hard to say if it was the tiredness or just conference- and travel-related nerves, but I am becoming more and more aware that inadequate sleep is totally killer for my anxiety and overall mood stability.

I had a long layover in Big Southern City, and arrived at Conference City in early afternoon. After the initial freaking out the first day, I was basically okay. I jumped right in, going to a keynote speech and a couple other sessions that evening, then dinner out with a few people from my cohort. One of my best friends from my masters program was in from India, where she moved after graduation in May, so I got to spend lots of warm, fuzzy, friend time with her. We played hooky from the conference on Friday afternoon to explore the city and do some sightseeing, but totally wiped ourselves out and came back to my hotel to veg out and watch Dr. Phil. Lol. But I'm serious. That night there was a fancy schmancy reception where I drank a tad too much, ate a tad too little, and consequently felt a tad unsteady on my feet by the end. Luckily I rounded up some fellas who needed Fourth Meal to accompany me to get a burger at midnight. My presentation was Sunday morning, and it went well! I think. Felt very supported as several classmates from my cohort, as well as a few more senior students and even two professors came to hear me. Went straight from the conference venue to the airport where it promptly began to snow, sat on the runway for nearly an hour while they de-iced the plane, nearly missed my connection and had to SPRINT through Big Northern City Airport with all my bags in tow (and still wearing my fancy conference outfit), but luckily made it and was back in my apartment by dinnertime.

Today was spent unpacking, cleaning, organizing all my receipts from the weekend to submit for reimbursement (I LOVE WHEN THE SCHOOL PAYS FOR SHIT), and in the afternoon I went to see 13 Hours with The Guy <3. Now I'm home, fussing about what to eat for dinner, scratching my head over why I didn't start any of the reading due for my 9 a.m. class tomorrow, and slightly freaking out about my first TA position tomorrow afternoon. It's hard to believe the spring semester is starting up again already, and it might be somewhat of a doozy for me. Four classes, two seminars, two research assistantships, and one teaching assistantship. And I think I might be underestimating the time demands of the TA-ship. The students (and there are 25 of them....) will have lab homeworks every week that I have to grade, as well as final projects and a final exam. At least I don't actually have to take the class, I suppose.

So, the goal for this semester is to stay on top of school stuff and not lose my mind like I did last fall. Obviously I am in a better position than I was in August, what with being acclimated to the program and being on medication, but I still worry that the sleep and the anxiety will become problems again. I'll see how the first few weeks go, and check back in with the psychiatrist next month.

Happy MLK Day everyone, much love to you all.


  1. So much awesome news from your trip! I'm really glad that you got to catch up with an old friend and that you had a chance to get out in the city (fourth meal rocks). I bet you did a GREAT job with your presentation, congrats!

    You do have a lot on your plate this semester, but you've totally got this. You're right about sleep being a big priority -- I've noticed lack of sleep being an anxiety trigger more and more as I get older, not sure if that's a common pattern or not.

    Take care, ttys.

  2. Good job! And you got to go to California so I'm totally jealous. :)

    To piggyback on what Cammy said about sleep: it definitely does get harder to deal with a lack of sleep as you get older, says the old lady. ;) Even one bad night messes me up in so many ways the next day. You just can't get away with it.