Academic Time Vampire

If any of you have been trying to connect with me this week you have probably failed.  There’s a good reason.  I’ve been kidnapped by this week’s Time Vampire:  Academic Conferences.

Now don’t get me wrong; I love academic conferences.  It’s like a vacation to nerd town.  What’s more, it’s your neighborhood of nerd town.  It’s a place where you can make a joke about an obscure theory and have people laugh at it.  It’s hours and hours of people talking about the things to which you’ve decided to dedicate your life.

The downside?

It’s hours and hours of people talking about the things to which you’ve decided to dedicate your life.

Which means you want to be in the thick of things all the time.  And that massive project due in one week you’ve barely started?  That stack of papers you’re supposed to be grading?  That medieval saint’s life you were supposed to read?  That blog you help run?

All fall by the wayside.  Which means you’ll be scrambling like mad next week to catch up.

In the midst of this you’re circulating and networking and trying to secure a career for yourself once you graduate.  And serving as a representative of the groups you’re already affiliated with.  Oh yeah, and you’re in a city you’ve never visited and may never visit again, trying to actually see something besides the interior of the overpriced hotel.

And this says nothing about the preparation.  Writing your presentation.  Packing.  Oh packing.  Trying to find the outfits that will best help you represent yourself to people you only see every year or so.  That may be hiring you in a year or so.  Dying your roots, because you’re about to see people you only see every year or so and don’t want them to know how much grey hair you have.

Oh yeah, and as much fun as it is, it’s also exhausting, so it will take you a couple weeks to physically recover.

Seriously.  I’m having an amazing time, but I also feel like this conference has stuck its pointy teeth (incidentally, in my field we actually have panels on vampires.  And colloquial expressions, like “time vampires”) into my life and is just slurping away the next month of it.