A bunch of astrophysicists and me

I’m in California very rarely (only a few days every 6 weeks or so) yet I still managed to be in town for a housewarming party for a couple my husband knows from work.  So, instead of spending a quiet evening at home with my husband, I was at a party with lots of astrophysicists.

I hate going to things like that.

I am not so good at meeting new people.  Especially people that I have nothing obvious in common with.  I am shy, I don’t know what to say, and inevitably whatever conversation I start sort of dies off after awhile and I’m left sort of staring at my conversation partner with nothing left to say.

But beyond that, I’ve turned into a terribly one-sided person.  I go to lab and do work.  That’s it.  I don’t watch movies.  I don’t watch TV except for Stargate Atlantis (actually, that might not have been a bad conversation starter in that crowd, but I didn’t think of it).  I barely read any books and what books I do read are trashy vampire romance novels because that’s all that I have the brain power to read these days.  I knit a little bit.  That’s it.  My life is boring.

I used to not be this way.  I used to be like a normal person.  I went to movies and watched TV and even went to plays and musicals every so often.  I read tons of books and not just trashy ones, either.  I had lots of hobbies to talk about.

And then, I went to grad school.

One by one, the extra things I did–the things that made me fit in with normal people–fell away until I was left with nothing but lab.  This is one of the things I really mourn about my time in grad school.  I used to be a multi-dimensional person.  Now I have one dimension and that is lab.  I can barely even talk to my family for cryin’ out loud because the conversation inevitably goes something like this:

Them:  So what have you been up to?
Me:  Lab
Them:  How’s that going?
Me:  Well, my experiments seem to be working okay right now, so I’m making some progress.
Them:  Well, that’s good.
Me:  Yeah.
Them:  What else have you been doing?
Me:  I don’t have time for anything else.

And that’s pretty much the end of what I can contribute to the conversation.

See, that’s what I hate about the long hours.  It’s not the work, per se, because I don’t mind work.  It’s the fact that there’s no time left for anything else.  Even if I lived with my husband, we wouldn’t get to spend all that much time together that wasn’t sleeping.

I am so tired of grad school and the fact that my entire life seems to be the lab.  I’m tired of living it, I’m tired of complaining about it.  I just want it to be over.

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3 thoughts on “A bunch of astrophysicists and me

  1. At least you are getting work done. Me? I cann’t even get my head free enough to work a lot in the long hours I am in the lab. Oh and for extra nerdpoints you can talk about blogging 😉

    nerds from the nerdpole unite!

  2. I’m sorry you are having a hard time 😦 but to give you some hope for when its over, I was kind of like that in grad school, I wasn’t happy with it and didn’t have the energy to do much else. But now I’m working a job I like (doing something totallyy different), and despite the fact that its kind of a an insane job where i work typically 60-75 hrs per week, I still have the motivation to do much more outside of work with the precious time I have.
    So hang in there!

  3. Were there other grad students there? I am a grad student in astrophysics, and I am in the same boat as you. I used to do more than listen to TV while working on my laptop and spend nights dreaming of the proposal, code, or paper I am working on, but I can’t remember what those things were.

    I’m also surprised the astrophysicists didn’t lack social skills more than a hard-working grad student. I’ve been to some parties where we just sit around staring at our feet. 🙂

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