Friday, March 12, 2010


My dissertation project focuses on some aspects of stress, obviously. This is slightly ironic, because grad school, my project, fieldwork, and life in general all are quite good at showering me with stress.

I'm about two months away from my starting my fieldwork, and quite honestly, I'm starting to view it with dread. This is a shame, because I love the forest, I love my monkeys, and its been a couple years since I've been there (my field last field trip was two months in the summer of 2008). But, there's just some much to worry about before I can leave. Getting the financial stuff in order to take care of all that is necessary. Finishing up some unfinished projects, including the pilot project, that have been delayed by financial challenges, manuscript rejections, and some technical problems. About a month ago, my hard drive died. Luckily, my heroes at Microcenter were able to recover all my files, and put in a new hard drive, but because I have data, proposals, manuscripts, all sorts of stuff divided between the external harddrive, this new harddrive, and even my old laptop, I haven't been able to get things organized yet. And I still haven't re-installed SPSS, which means some data analysis I had been working on months ago isn't even accessible right now on this computer.

And if that weren't enough, I'm at the end of wrapping a quarter of teaching a new course. BUT, unfortunately, the flash drive I store ALL my teaching powerpoints, as well as other stuff, seems to have a mechanical failure. I've managed to deal with what's necessary to keep on top of my current class, (mostly), but what's sad is I've lost of teaching materials (including my lectures for Intro to Physical Anthropology, which after teaching six consecutive sections, have been refined to near-perfection). I still has some incomplete and older versions of some of that stuff, but not the most updated.

And then there's been some violent events on campus that have quite honestly shaken me a bit more than I thought they would. Two weeks ago, a girl was raped on campus at 8:45 on a Tuesday evening, right outside the building next to where the Anthro dept. is located. And to put that in perspective, I teach an evening class, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and less than an hour and half before that incident, I was standing just 50 m down from where the attack happened, waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up. And then just last Tuesday, there was a shooting on campus. It happened early in the morning (I think around 3 am?), and involved a maintenance worker who had received a poor work evaluation and was about to lose his job. He shot two colleagues, and then himself.

I know violent events happen all over--I've known that campuses are not always safe places, and I've taken two sessions of the RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) self-defense courses that are taught by campus police. And this weeks shooting is clearly not the first of university shootings. But this time, it's hit a bit close to home.

And finally, there's some odd drama with some people and situations involved with my field site. I'm not sure what's going on, and I don't know how serious it is, or if it's gonna affect my research, but it is worrying me.

So that's some of what's been affecting me lately. I've been increasingly up all night, unable to sleep, because I keep on stressing about things, or getting up in the middle of the night to work on stuff because I'm mentally running through it. But nonetheless, I've been feeling exhausted and worn out, and still feel like I'm not quite on top of everything.

At least all the reading I do about stress has made me aware of the importance of coping mechanisms, and right now I'm very greatful for the some of the social support I have from my boyfriend, friends, and pets. I think it's time to go cuddle with one of my kitties and see if some nice oxytocin rushes can calm my stress responses.


  1. I hope you can get some stress relief! Also, think of how happy you will be once you are out with the monkeys.

  2. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Grad school is very stressful, but it helps to be motivated by your study subjects--and you are! As to the financial stuff and ms. rejections, it hurts the first time (and the 2nd and 3rd time) but it happens to all of us, you get used to it. I recall being seriously bummed by not getting a grant, but all you can do is re, re, re reapply.

    Be safe both on campus and in the field. Good luck.

  3. Good luck in your field site. Sending much luck and love from NYC!