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11: On Tardiness

September 28, 2011

You know how you tell yourself that you’re going to write something every week and then it just kind of goes out the window? Yeah. Yeah, it’s been like that.

That’s why I’m awake at 2:30am, tired, cold, tired, fighting the same illness I think I’ve had since my first week here. Did I already say I was tired?

My internship is becoming more unwieldy than I could imagine. I love both my scholars, despite the hiccup I had with my second scholar being switched. I’m actually incredibly happy with Larry — my friend and fellow Wilsonite Alex now works with Sam Wells, who I was initially set up with, and I’m rather glad I’m not working with him.

Where I work

The outside of the Center on a particularly bright day.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Dr. Wells — he’s a brilliant and interesting scholar. However, I feel like Larry’s approach with interns is a lot more involved. I help him a lot on his personal work, editing articles, reading papers, doing background research, etc. I’m learning a lot, some of which I can’t talk about, but all of which I’m enjoying. He’s told our internship supervisor that he thinks I’m “real sharp.”

Kathleen gives me a lot more space. We meet once a week, and she’s given me a list of things to do. I’m writing brief biographies of Soviet Scientists, finding and translating Russian articles on biological weapons from old newspapers, and most recently, writing a timeline of events in the BW facility in Kazakhstan.

I forgot to mention that I also have a 5-7 page paper to write by Friday that I wanted to have done yesterday.

I’m sure you can guess, but I think I’m teetering on the edge of being overloaded, a little bit. I don’t know when or how to say “Stop, I have enough to do.” I feel like it’s a constant barrage of “get this done” and I can’t quite balance the obligations of both my scholars with my classwork. I think I’ll make that my October goal, as September comes to a close.

But in all honesty I think that instead of asking for less work I’ll stay up a little later, wake up a little earlier, drink a little less, and try a little harder to stay motivated. It’s not as though I’m spending every waking moment studying or researching.

Still, that’s the problem with the Woodrow Wilson Center. You have flexible hours, you can work from home (if you’re desperate or on the first day of your period like I was today), lunch hour is basically “go eat if you’re hungry, come back whenever.” But your work comes home with you, and if you’re like me, you can’t help but feel like you have to constantly work on it.

Fifteen minutes ago I tried to go to sleep, but when I realized I hadn’t updated this blog in weeks, I knew sleep would be a tug-of-war between the dreaded sense of obligation and tossing and turning as I tried to decide which was more important. It’s alright! Stop worrying, I did take a nap earlier tonight. Though now, admittedly, this is going to become an inner debate about what’s more important – sleep or writing my paper.

I’ll choose to be mysterious about what I decide.

On the metro back from Chinatown

Truly the best fortune.

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